What brought the two congregations together?
Aren’t there differences in the Lutheran and Episcopal Churches?
The two denominations have different histories. Additionally, their governance structures differ at the church level and at the diocese-synod level. For example, the Vestry serves as the Episcopal church governing body, while the Congregation Council serves that function for a Lutheran congregation. Episcopalians consider various actions – such as confirmation – as rites reserved for a bishop while a pastor can lead these services in the Lutheran church.
Most importantly, both denominations recognize Jesus the Christ as Lord and Savior. They both worship the Trinity of God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit. Both believe that Salvation cannot be earned by acts, but is achieved as a gift of God through His Grace. In sharing these fundamental beliefs, any other differences between the two denominations can be overcome.
Frequently Asked Questions About Federation
For more information, please contact us. These answers were prepared initially in October 2018 before deciding to federate.
What was proposed?
Since November 1, 2015, the congregations of The Church of the Nativity, Cedarcroft and The Lutheran Church of the Holy Comforter have worshipped together under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding negotiated by the Vestry and Congregational Council and approved by our respective bishops. In the plan, we sought to formalize our interdenominational partnership through a process known as federation. We wanted to proceed from what has been an extended “engagement” to enter into formal “marriage.”
Why was federation necessary?
What changes under a federation?
Previously, we worshipped and served the world as one congregation, but we legally operated under two separate corporate charters. Under the federation, we dissolved Holy Comforter’s corporate charter. Nativity remains as the surviving corporate entity because Nativity holds the title to the buildings. Nativity changed its name to become The Church of the Nativity and Holy Comforter. This enabled the church to retain certain grandfathered regulatory provisions that saves us money and a lot of government hassle. Upon federation, the finances of both congregations became one, including the existing endowments. Member contributions, bequests and other income go into a common account and Holy Comforter no longer pays a separate voluntary monthly “rental” fee to Nativity.
The existing “Vestry” and “Congregational Council” became a single nine-member “Church Council.” The “Rector” is now known as “Pastor.” The “Senior Warden” is now known as “Vice President,” the “Junior Warden” is now known as “Property Manager,” and the “Registrar” is now the “Secretary.” Certain decisions that the Vestry previously could make on its own now require the Congregation’s approval.
Did you use a model in developing the new Agreement?
Buy Our Book
Walking the Path is a story whose time has arrived. Surrick has drawn a picture of a world in which the memories of a beloved church are eloquently and beautifully described. The details of life centered around a sanctuary (and church kitchen) are perfect. The losses, heartbreaking. Her insistence that we look for bigger answers is powerful, and her perspective is important in these times of change. This book is a must read for clergy, leaders, and congregations who are ready to begin again.
If you have questions, please contact Carolyn Surrick directly at 410-433-4811 or email@example.com.
Baltimore Sun Story November 1, 2015
WBAL-TV Story November 12, 2015
WYPR-FM Interview with Clergy November 30, 2015
Episcopal News Service Story December 13, 2016
Discovering Common Mission: Lutherans and Episcopalians Together. 2003 Don S. Armentrout & Robert Boak Slocum
Lutherans and Episcopalians Together: A Guide to Understanding. 2001 G. Scott Cady & Christopher L. Webber
A Lutheran Looks at Episcopalians. 2008 James F. Pope & Robert J. Koester
Toward Full Communion and Concordat of Agreement: Lutheran-Episcopal Dialogue, Series III. 2001 William A. Norgren
Daring to Share. 2018 Sandra Beardsall, Mitzi J Budde, & William P McDonald
Ending with Hope. 2002 Beth Ann Gaede
Pilgrim Souls Grace and St. Paul’s Episcopal Churches and Their Merger 2008 Kay W. Bigglestone
Vital Merger: A New Church Start Approach That Joins Church Families Together. 2013 Dirk Elliott
Church Mergers: A Guidebook for Missional Change. 2016 Thomas G. Bandy & Page M. Brooks
Better Together: Making Church Mergers. 2012 Jim Tomberlin, Warren Bird & Craig Groseschel