"Mind of the House Resolution"
House of Bishops Meeting (Lake
April 3, 2000
Resolved that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church specifically
acknowledges and declares that the following understandings shall govern our
interpretation and acceptance of the document "Called to Common Mission: A
Lutheran Proposal for a Revision of the Concordat of Agreement" within The
- The Episcopal Church agrees that each of the two churches has the right to
interpret the same document according to its own standards, as the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America has already done for itself and referenced in CCM
para. 3, so long as neither church contradicts the text or spirit of the
document. In full communion, "churches become interdependent while remaining
autonomous" (para. 2).
- In common with all churches of the Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church
continues to maintain, as the Preface to the Ordination Rites makes clear (Book
of Common Prayer, 510), that "three distinct orders of ordained ministers",
namely, bishops, priests, and deacons, are "characteristic of Christ's holy
catholic church," and that "it has been, and is, the intention and purpose of
this Church to maintain and continue these three orders."
- The Episcopal Church's recognition of the full authenticity of the ministers
ordained in the ELCA or its predecessor bodies (CCM para. 15) is made in view of
the voted intention of that church to enter the ministry of the historic
episcopate (para. 18). According to catholic tradition of which The Episcopal
Church is a part, the order of the historic episcopate properly includes within
itself all three of these orders.
- In view of the firmly voted intention of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in
America that "a bishop shall regularly preside and participate in the
laying-on-of-hands at the ordination of all clergy" (para.20), it is necessary
to state that according to the standard of The Episcopal Church and of the
Anglican Communion and of catholic Christianity it is the rule (regula) that no
exception to episcopal ordination can be allowed. Therefore if any ordination
within the ELCA were to be carried out after full communion begins without an
ELCA bishop presiding and participating in the laying-on-of-hands, it would not
be acceptable for interchangeability and reciprocity in The Episcopal Church
under para. 16 of the CCM. In this regard The Episcopal Church welcomes the
ELCA's explanation of para. 20 recorded in the minutes of its 1999 Denver
Churchwide Assembly that "The use of 'regularly' establishes the ELCA's intent
to adhere to the same standard of ordination by a bishop as practiced by The
Episcopal Church in the USA" and the word "regularly" does not imply the
possibility of planned exceptions."
- Although the ELCA may continue to receive onto its roster of ordained
ministers, without reordination, pastors from other traditions, some of whom
will not have been ordained by a bishop in the historic episcopate, only pastors
ordained in the ELCA or its predecessor bodies will be considered for
interchangeability with The Episcopal Church (para. 16, 22). Pastors not
ordained by a bishop in historic succession who transfer into the ELCA from
other traditions after passage of CCM will not be regarded as interchangeable.
Rostered ELCA pastors who were not ordained in the ELCA or its predecessor
bodies will not be interchangeable under the provisions of CCM.
- Although lay persons in the ELCA may continue to be licensed by its
synodical bishops in unusual circumstances on rare occasions to preside at
celebrations of the sacrament of Holy Communion for specified periods of time
and only in a given location, it is well known that The Episcopal Church follows
the consensus of catholic Christianity in not allowing or recognizing this
practice, nor is it accepted or even mentioned in the text of the CCM (cf.para.