Bishop to discuss Lutheran-Catholic unity: Event marks 500th anniversary of the Reformation

In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s launch of the Protestant Reformation with a call for change in the Catholic Church, a Lutheran bishop will discuss the many topics on which the churches now agree.

Guy Erwin, bishop of the Southwest California Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), will present “Towards Greater Unity: Lutherans, Catholics and the ‘Declaration on the Way’” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, in Ullman Commons 100/101 at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.

Drawing on 50 years of national and international dialogue, Lutherans and Catholics have written “Declaration on the Way: Church, Ministry and Eucharist,” a unique ecumenical document that marks a pathway toward greater unity. “The Declaration on the Way” is both an expression of the consensus achieved by Lutherans and Catholics on the central topics of church, ministry and Eucharist and an indication of differences remaining to be resolved. Erwin will explore the declaration and its meaning for this time and place.

While overcoming differences and being drawn together through joint service to neighbors, many have learned that what unites these two churches is greater than what divides them.

“Five hundred years ago, wars were fought over the very issues about which Lutherans and Roman Catholics have now achieved consensus,” said ELCA Presiding Bishop Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton. “The declaration is so exciting because it shows us 32 important points where already we can say there are not church-dividing issues between us, and it gives us both hope and direction for the future.”

Erwin was the Gerhard and Olga Belgum Professor of Lutheran Confessional Theology

at Cal Lutheran prior to his election as bishop in 2013. The Woodland Hills resident now presides over more than 120 congregations in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Kern counties. He earned a doctorate in the history of Christianity and two master’s degrees at Yale University and a bachelor’s degree in history at Harvard University. He engaged in seminary studies at Yale Divinity School and the universities of Tubingen and Leipzig in Germany.

Ullman Commons is located at 101 Memorial Parkway.

Livestream and on-demand video recording will be available at CalLutheran.edu/live.

Cal Lutheran’s Division of Mission and Identity is sponsoring the free event. For more information, contact Melissa Maxwell-Doherty at 805-493-3589 or [email protected].

Bishop R. Guy: . Photo credit: Brian Stethem/Cal Lutheran

Bishop R. Guy: . Photo credit: Brian Stethem/Cal Lutheran


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