Bishop Edgar da Cunha, Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River presided at the service and Bishop James Hazelwood of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of New England preached the sermon. As we mark this significant anniversary of this pivotal moment in the history of Western Christianity, we will also be making history as this 5th century observance is taking place in the context of 50 years of ecumenical dialogue and cooperation. Protestants and Catholics can now gather in prayer together not only to remember the origins of their divisions but most especially to celebrate their ongoing progress along the path toward greater unity over the past five decades. All Christians throughout Southeastern Massachusetts, Protestant and Catholic, and their clergy, were welcomed to participate in this special service which was be both historic and healing.
The true unity of the church can only exist as unity in the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The fact that the struggle for this truth in the sixteenth century led to the loss of unity in Western Christendom belongs to the dark pages of the church history. In 2017, we must confess openly that we have been guilty before Christ of damaging the unity of the church. This commemorative year provides us to challenges: the purification and healing of memories, and the restoration of Christian unity in accordance with the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Eph 4:4-6).”
-From Conflict to Communion
Sermon by Bishop James Hazelwood
of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of New England
To view photos from the service click Reformation 500
An Expression of Gratitude:
To: Bishop da Cunha and Bishop Hazelwood for prayerfully leading us and encouraging us in word and by example to move forward together in unity.
To: Very Rev. Richard Wilson, Cathedral Rector, and Mrs. Mary Camara for their hospitality and assistance with the arrangements, the service, and the collation.
To: Mrs. Madeleine Grace and the Cathedral Cantors who led the choirs and congregation in song.
To: John Kearns of the Office of Communications, Diocese of Fall River for his assistance with publicity.
To: Judy Warren who created the publicity posters and the Worship Aid for this Service.
To: Rev. Sheila Singleton-Charron for designing and creating the wall and cross and Chet Charron for his technical assistance and Mr. Jay Asiaf of W.B. Mason for supplying materials for the wall.
To: Clergy and Christian faithful, Protestant and Catholic, from near and far who participated whether in the sanctuary, from the pews or in the choir.
To: The Planning Committee: Rev. Paul Wheeler, Pastor-Trinity Lutheran Church, Fairhaven; Rev. John Oliveira, Pastor-Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, New Bedford; Rev. David Buehler, Retired Pastor-ELCA, New England Synod; Rev. Elizabeth Watson, Retired Assistant Minister, First Baptist Church, Fall River. Mrs. Madeleine Grace, Director of Music- Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption; Rev. Sheila Singlton -Charron, American Baptist Churches, USA, -Interim Pastor, Hospice Chaplain; Rev. Pamela Cole, President -MA. /RI Church Women United. Rev. Peter Hebert, Pastor-First Lutheran Church, West Barnstable, Rev. Christian G. Holleck, Co-Pastor, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Harwich; Rev. Edward J. Healey, Ecumenical Officer, Diocese of Fall River.