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Mennonite reconciliation

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Remembering the persecutions of Anabaptists in the 16th Century, Lutherans tell today's Mennonites that they repent of the persecutions and executions endorsed by Lutherans, and pledge close cooperation in mission and service today.

The declaration

Michael Slusser:
That is a very moving document, Charles. Thank you for sharing it. I hope that the individual churches of the LWF will confirm it in their own names, and that Lutheran churches not part of the LWF will find inspiration in it.

My church has some 'fessing up to do as well.


Thank you, Father Slusser. It seems especially important for us since condemning words about Anabaptists found their way into some of our key documents.
A special edition of Lutheran World Information - which I do not think is online yet - will carry more information and examples of where we are already forming closer ties with Mennonites around the world.
For their part, the Mennonites confess that they have at times elevated their "victim" status in ways that do not serve well.
All around, it was a moving experience.

Several times we have included AC XVI in our service on Veterans' Day. I'm in a theological group that includes several ELCA pastors as well as a Mennonite, and one time the ELCA (or some group therein) did some manner of reconcilation with the Mennonites soon after Veterans' Day. One of the ELCA guys half jokingly said to the Mennonite, "Well, we formally apologized for killing your ancestors. Hope you feel better." I added, "We re-condemned you last Sunday. Just so you know." Just a little ELCA-LCMS humor. 

For Europeans and the Mennonites around the world whose ancestors were driven from their homelands, imprisoned and executed with the declared approval of Lutheran luminaries; it is no joke. We do not understand that for many Mennonites, the memory of these persecutions and murders is "fresh" and a painful part of their faith story.
It is only in some parts of the U.S. that American have much contact with Mennonites, so I suppose our moderator can be excused at not grasping the import.


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