The largest Lutheran denomination in the US has approved a declaration recognising “there are no longer church-dividing issues” on many points with the Church, reports the Religion News Service.
The Declaration on the Way was approved 931-9 by the 2016 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly held last week in New Orleans.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton called the declaration “historic” in a statement released by the denomination following the vote on August 10.
“Though we have not yet arrived, we have claimed that we are, in fact, on the way to unity.
"This declaration helps us to realise more fully our unity in Christ with our Catholic partners, but it also serves to embolden our commitment to unity with all Christians,” Bishop Eaton said.
The declaration comes as the Lutheran and Catholic churches prepare to kick off a year of celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
Martin Luther touched off the Reformation on October 31, 1517, when he nailed the 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. That document included 95 statements he wanted to debate within the Church.