For this lifelong Methodist, the following announcement cheered me for reasons I can't really identify yet.
The United Methodist Church and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will ask its members to approve “full communion” between the two bodies starting this spring.Like the UMC, the ELCA is struggling with vexing questions of faith and practice which many seem to feel need to resolved right this minute by binding edict, but I would prefer to allow the evolution (yeah - I know it's a code word) of opinion and the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal solutions at the pace people can tolerate, if not enthusiastically embrace.
Church leaders agreed to take another step toward unity between the two major church denominations during their last round of dialogue in December.
Full communion essentially means “acknowledging one another’s ministries as valid,” and wanting to be involved in mutual decision-making, explained the Rev. W. Douglas Mills, an executive with the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, according to the United Methodist News Service.
Although full communion is a clear step towards full unity, Mills added, “We don’t know what full unity is or can look like.”
Members of both denominations have overwhelmingly responded positively to the close partnership between the two churches.
“What we got back was, by and large, very positive,” Mills said about responses to a 2005 statement distributed to members for feedback. [More]
Besides, if we eventually unite I'll bet we'll have choirs better than the Baptists.