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Lutherans move from St. Francis Catholic Church to St. David's Episcopal Church
Members of the Lutheran Church in the San Juans processed on Feb. 14 from St. Francis Catholic Church a few blocks to St. David's Episcopal Church, which will be their new worship home.
The Rev. Raymond Heffernan and members of St. Francis Church wished them farewell as the Lutherans processed to St. David's, where they were welcomed by the Rev. Doug Simonsen and members of St. David's.
“For our 35 years here in the San Juans, our congregation has never felt it necessary to have a building of our own, and have had the joy of sharing both the buildings and partnerships we have found with other congregations,” Lutheran Pastor John Lindsay said.
On Lopez Island, Lutherans and Catholics both worship at Center Church. On Orcas Island, the Lutherans worship at Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
The Lutherans worshipped at St. Francis for 28 years. The two congregations have also shared Lenten mid-week services, as they are again this year.
“There has been great symbolism in worshipping at St. Francis because of the history of tension ever since Lutherans were separated from the Roman Catholic Church almost 500 years ago," Lindsay said. "We have come a long way since then. Eleven years ago, Lutherans and Catholics at an international level signed the 'Joint Declaration on Justification by Faith' which declared shared agreement on the central issue that led to separation long ago. Being together at St. Francis embodied that oneness in Christ.”
Lutherans and Episcopalians have even closer ties on many levels. “Called to Common Mission” was adopted internationally by Episcopalians and Lutherans in 1999. This document recognized the mutual understandings of faith held by the two denominations and pledged to work closely in mission and service to the world.
Locally, as the Lutherans move to St. David's, there is the hope to do more than just share space, but to also work together in areas like education and community service.
Lutheran worship at St. David's will begin on Sundays at 9:15 a.m. St. David's has changed the time of its second service from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. to accommodate the Lutherans.