In 2017, Lutheran and Catholic Christians will commemorate together the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation. Lutherans and Catholics today enjoy a growth in mutual understanding, cooperation, and respect. They have come to acknowledge that more unites than divides them: above all, common faith in the Triune God and the revelation in Jesus Christ, as well as recognition of the basic truths of the doctrine of justification.
In response to the joint statement of the World Lutheran Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, Catholics and Lutherans in Lees Summit are gathering to discuss common beliefs and practices. The statement, "From Conflict to Communion," was made in anticipation of the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and reflects 50 years of joint dialogue.
The meetings at Our Lady of the Presentation Parish, 130 NW Murray Road, began in April and continue to October. The next scheduled meeting is August 30 at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium. Additional meetings were held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 1800 SW State Route 150, and Martin Luther Lutheran Church, 1200 SW Blue Pkwy.
More than 100 Catholics and Lutherans are using a self-published study guide prepared by Father Michael Clary, pastor at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, and Pastor Hans Koschmann (Martin Luther Lutheran Church, ECLA) entitled Common Ground as the basis for the dialogue.
Plans are underway for a joint prayer service in Lees Summit that will follow the prayer service formulated and approved by the Lutheran Federation and the Pontifical Council. The service will be at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, October 29 at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Our Lady of the Presentation Catholic Church, St. Margaret of Scotland Catholic Church and Martin Luther Lutheran (ECLA) Church will participate along with Holy Spirit.
Planners have consulted with Father Paul Turner, head of the diocesan ecumenical and interreligious commission. “This is precisely the kind of local involvement that the commission hopes will happen this year,” he said.
The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph will host a joint commemoration of the 500th anniversary at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Kansas City on September on Friday, September 29, at 7 pm. Bishop James Johnston of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, and Bishop James Gustafson of the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America will all participate.