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Called to Common Mission

Called to Common Mission is an agreement between The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), establishing full communion between them. Under the agreement, they recognize the validity of each other's baptisms and ordinations. The agreement provided that ELCA would accept the historic episcopate, something which became controversial in ELCA. Conservatives within ELCA argued that requiring historic episcopate would contradict the traditional Lutheran doctrine that the church exists wherever the Word is preached and Sacraments are practiced. In response, the 2001 ELCA Churchwide Assembly adopted a bylaw permitting installations of bishops to be performed by a pastor with permission of a bishop, in "unusual circumstances". This would appear to contradict the agreement reached with the Episcopal Church, but that may depend on whether the bylaw is used in practice. The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church expressed his disappointment at the Assembly's decision.

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