This last week, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) gathered in convention in order to vote on resolutions for the benefit of the Church. Among other things, the LCMS voted to acknowledge altar and pulpit fellowship with five different church bodies:
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan (ELCSS/S)
- Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of Finland (ELMDF)
- Lutheran Church Uganda (LCU)
- Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ukraine (ELCU)
- Ceylon Evangelical Lutheran Church (CELC) in Sri Lanka
However, the LCMS also voted in convention to acknowledge that the Japan Lutheran Church has broken fellowship with the LCMS by adopting and tolerating the ordination of women and the practice of open communion. This is only the second time in the history of the LCMS that it has recognized broken fellowship. The last time this occurred was in 1981, when the LCMS formally broke fellowship with what was then called the American Lutheran Church (ALC), which merged with another church body to form what is now known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). To this day, the LCMS and the ELCA are not in fellowship with one another.
Note: The LCMS currently has fellowship with the American Association of Lutheran Churches (AALC), not to be confused with the old American Lutheran Church (ALC).
For more information on the LCMS’s practice of closed communion and altar and pulpit fellowship, see the LCMS website.