It's the dawning of a new age.
That's the way Lutherans and Roman Catholics in the Minong and Solon Springs churches are describing an ecumenical worship service planned for 3 p.m. Aug. 27 at Calvary Lutheran Church, Minong.
The worship celebrates the healing of five centuries of conflict between Lutherans and Roman Catholics that began with the start of the Protestant Reformation in 1517.
Five area congregations will participate in "From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Commemoration of the Reformation" — Calvary Lutheran with Pastor Carl Heidel, Our Savior Lutheran in Solon Springs with Pastor Jason Clifton, and the Roman Catholic tri-parish of Solon Springs, Gordon and Minong with Rev. James Kinney.
This ecumenical service is one result of more than 50 years of effort by the leadership of both denominations to build peace and unity between their two groups. Those efforts led to an ecumenical prayer service in Lund, Sweden in 2016 in which both Pope Francis and leaders of the Lutheran World Federation participated.
In his homily at this worship, Pope Francis said, "As Catholics and Lutherans, we have undertaken a common journey of reconciliation."
After that worship, the Rev. Martin Junge, general secretary of the LWF, said: "The time is ... ripe to move 'from conflict to communion.'"
The sentiments of these leaders were echoed later by Cardinal Kurt Koch, head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity who spoke to reassure Catholics who might question commemorating the event of the Reformation.
Koch mentioned three aspects of the common — commemoration of gratitude for the 50 years of progress in building ecumenical relations; the common witness of this commemoration as a sign of hope for the future; and an opportunity for Lutherans and Catholics to repent for the religious conflicts that transformed Europe into a "sea of blood" in the 16th and 17th centuries. All of these are good reasons for both Catholics and Lutherans to come together in this worship, according to the Cardinal.
Calvary Lutheran Church is located at 675 Shell Creek Road in Minong. Those who are leading the worship and persons with disabilities will be able to park in the church parking lot. In the event of an overflow, others may park at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 506 Main St., Minong, and a shuttle will provide transportation to calvary. A time of fellowship and refreshments follows the worship.
The entire community is invited to join in this celebration of the "dawning of a new age."