An ecumenical prayer service in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, United States, marked the opening of a four-day consultation of five Christian World Communions discussing the historic importance of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) and its impact on the search for full, visible unity of the church.

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Roman Catholic Church signed the JDDJ on 31 October 1999 in Augsburg, Germany. It has since been joined or substantially affirmed by the World Methodist Council (WMC), the Anglican Communion and the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).

The March 26-28 consultation marks the first time that all five JDDJ partners have come together to see how the historic agreement can help move the churches closer toward their goal of Christian unity.

“This is a remarkable gathering, from around the world and from each of the 5 communions in the JDDJ family.  On the first day we heard the distinct perspectives which each brings to this new moment in Christian unity and in witness to the good news of God’s abounding grace,” said Kathryn Johnson, ELCA director for ecumenical and inter-religious relations

Attending the service as guests of honor were leaders of the five Christian World Communions who have signed and affirmed the JDDJ. They were WMC President JC Park; LWF General Secretary Martin Junge; Kurt Cardinal Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (Roman Catholic Church); Sarah Rowland Jones, dean of St Davids Cathedral in Wales (Anglican Communion); and WCRC General Secretary Chris Ferguson.

Full story and photos are available on the LWF website.

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