Catholics, Lutherans eye ecumenical unity

Lae News, Normal

TWO major Christian churches in Papua New Guinea are working towards giving reciprocal recognition to marriage and baptism blessings.
The Evangelical Lutheran church of PNG and Catholic church will soon sign an agreement to formalise this arrangement.
Theologians from both churches had been working together to ensure that inter-marriages between Catholics and Lutherans are blessed in either church and that both grant reciprocal recognition for the marriages.
The agreement would also cover baptisms in the two churches.
A report on this arrangement has been presented as part of ELCPNG Report to its 27th Synod now underway in Lae.
Once the final details are agreed on by the theologians, the hierarchy of both churches would study the final prints and give their blessings for the signing.
The move was seen as a major breakthrough in the ecumenical relationship between Catholics and Lutherans.
It was Martin Luther the founder of the Lutheran church who broke away from the Catholic church to form his own church which started initially in Germany.
The first Lutheran missionary Johannes Flier first arrived at Simbang
in Finschhafen, 123 years ago to start the Lutheran church in New Guinea.
The move by the two churches will strengthen the conviction of the late Bishop Dr Wesley Kigasung, the former head bishop of the ELCPNG, who always preached about ecumenical unity and the need for the Evangelical Lutheran church of PNG to work closely with other church denominations in PNG as partners in spreading the Good News and the work of God.
Catholic Bishop Christian Blouin of Lae  diocese  attended the  27th Synod, told the delegates that it was the wish of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference that the synod would be a blessing to the members of the ELCPNG and the country as a whole.