Urging deeper ecumenical collaboration in the fight against deadly poverty and disease around the world, Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold and Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) released a joint pastoral letter September 14, calling on members of both churches to "play a key role building [the] will and holding governments accountable" for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The pastoral letter, titled "That All May Be One," will be celebrated with a joint Holy Eucharist and renewal of Baptismal vows in the Chapel of Christ the Lord at the Episcopal Church Center in New York City at 12:10 p.m. on Friday, September 15. Hanson will be the celebrant and Griswold the preacher at the service. All are invited to attend the service. The Episcopal Church Center is located at 815 Second Avenue, between 43rd and 44th Streets, in midtown Manhattan.
The letter is accompanied by four one-page reflections on various dimensions of the Church's witness against global poverty, each intended to provide models for local communities seeking to engage in learning and witness around the MDGs. The reflections, along with the letter itself, urge particular engagement through ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History, a movement of 2.3 million Americans working to end deadly poverty in the world. During the past year, both the Episcopal Church and the ELCA have entered into partnerships with the ONE Campaign called "ONE Episcopalian" and "ONE Lutheran," according to Alex Baumgarten, international policy analyst for the Episcopal Church's Office of Government Relations.
The 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church, meeting in Columbus, Ohio, in June 2006, adopted the MDGs a mission priority for the Church over the next triennium.
Noting that "in God's kingdom, death and sorrow always give way to resurrection and life," the two presiding bishops wrote that, "a world that has achieved the MDGs will be a world that more greatly reflects Christ's prayer that all be one as He and the Father are one."
Read the full text of the pastoral letter and reflections
A video stream of the worship service celebrating the release of the letter will be available on the Episcopal News Service next week.
ONE Episcopalian resources are available at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/ONE