Healing Memories: Lutherans/Mennonites

Examining the relationship between Anabaptists and Lutherans

October 28, 2010 | Web First - Opinion
By Byron Rempel-Burkholder | Mennonite World Conference Editor
Strasbourg, France

The document that helped lay the foundation for the historic reconciliation in July 2010 between Lutherans and Mennonites is now available as a downloadable document.

The 120-page Healing Memories: Reconciling in Christ offers churches and individuals historical background on the early condemnations of Anabaptists by Lutherans, new perspectives on what that history means today, and next steps towards a future as reconciled communities of faith.

As the product of four years of work by the Lutheran-Mennonite International Study Commission, the report was presented at the LWF eleventh assembly in Stuttgart Germany in connection with the July 22 “Mennonite Action” of repentance and forgiveness. The book is available in English, German, French and Spanish.

“Perhaps the biggest value of the book is to help break down false perceptions and stereotypes that Lutherans and Mennonites have had of each other—and especially of the 16th century relationship—up to the present,” said Mennonite World Conference General Secretary Larry Miller, who participated in the Study Commission. The book also calls for further work on continued theological differences, particularly over baptism and the relationship of the church and the state.

Already, several forums have taken place or are planned in Canada, Germany, Austria, India, the USA, and Argentina, in which Lutheran and Mennonite theologians, church leaders, and other church members meet to celebrate a new day in relationships. Healing Memories: Reconciling in Christ is a key resource for such activities and will be available at the events.

The book and the July 22 reconciliation event in Stuttgart, Germany, come as both communions prepare for their 500th anniversaries. The Lutherans date their beginnings to 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenburg Door, challenging the Catholic Church on practices he considered unbiblical. Anabaptist-related churches trace their history back to 1525, with the first Anabaptist baptisms in Zurich, Switzerland.

See also “Healing memories, reconciling in Christ.” The English version of the book can be downloaded as a PDF from CommonWord. 

—Updated Nov. 5, 2016

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To whom it may concern,

We are a group of about 10 people, men and women of a writers group called Niagara Christian Writers Club. A mix of Lutheran and Mennonites.

The question we put to you is; Would it be feezable to try and organize a join meeting of both congregations somewhere in the Niagara region, asking all who are interested to join us for an informmal meeting in case there are still some people who have questions and concerns?

One of our participants is a lay person in her lutheran congregation and her church asked her to look into this and asked the rest of us for help.

All of us have accepted each other as how we serve our God. We are deverse in our genres of writing and our togetherness is due to the fact we love Our Lord
God with all our heart and soul first and foremost.
Believing that Love and Forgiveness are the most important words to live by for all peoples.

Your response would be very much appriaciated and any advise will also be welcomed.

In Christ,

A servant of the Lord - Sue Fast

Sue, in 2010-2011, Mennonite Church Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Canada put out an excellent resource for facilitating the kind of exchange you're wondering about. It's entitled:
Healing Memories, Reconciling in Christ:
A Lutheran-Mennonite Study Guide for Congregations
and can be found at: http://resources.mennonitechurch.ca/ResourceView/2/12978

I also encourage you to look up the joint report of the committee that worked toward the Mennonite-Lutheran reconciliation event in 2010. The title is similar: Healing Memories: Reconciling in Christ:
Report of the Lutheran-Mennonite International Study Commission. To buy it, go to:

Sue, see my fuller answer below. And for more on the Lutheran-Mennonite event in 2010 go to the Mennonite World Conference website at www.mwc-cmm.org or write to me at ByronRempelBurkholder@mwc-comm.org

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