Despite unrest in the nation and around the world, the Lutherans and Catholics in Minong, Gordon, and Solon Springs area met at a historical “From Conflict to Communion” ecumenical service that advocated unity and mutual forgiveness.
The Aug. 27 event was held at Calvary Lutheran Church, Minong. More than 110 participants joined five leaders of both faiths to commit to growing in communion through five imperatives:
* Catholics and Lutherans should always begin from the perspective of unity and not from the point of view of division in order to strengthen what is held in common, even though differences are more easily seen and experienced;
* Lutherans and Catholics must let themselves continuously be transformed by the encounter with each other and by the mutual witness of faith;
* Catholics and Lutherans should commit themselves to seek visible unity, to elaborate together what this means in concrete steps, and to strive repeatedly toward this goal;
* Lutherans and Catholics should jointly rediscover the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for our time; and
* Catholics and Lutherans should witness together to the mercy of God in proclamation and service to the world.
A candle was lit after each commitment was read.
Local leaders from both faiths were represented. Catholic and Lutheran official representatives were Fr. James Tobolski, vicar general of the Diocese of Superior, and the Rev. Laurie Skow-Anderson, assistant to the bishop of the Northwest Synod of Wisconsin.
Presiding pastors were the Rev. Jason Clifton, of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Solon Springs; Fr. James Kinney, of St. Mary’s, St. Anthony, and St. Pius X Catholic Churches, based in Solon Springs; and the Rev. Carl Heidel, of Calvary Lutheran Church in Minong.
Subdeacon Victor Hushcha, from St. Katherine Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Arden Hills, Minnesota, carried the processional candle, which was originally lit at the Church of Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel, last fall by Archbishop Daniel of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the United States of America.
The subdeacon provided a history of the candle and said, “I bring this candle today to offer greater unity to my brothers and sisters in Christ. It has always been the Orthodox wish for unity in the Body of Christ, and it is an honor to share a part of my faith with you all.”
Lutherans and Catholics participated in the ceremony as readers, choir members, and in the fellowship meal after the service.