Under the terms of 2001’s full communion agreement, pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada do not need re-ordination to serve as clergy in the Anglican Church of Canada-and vice versa. Clergy of either church can minister in the other.
But the Very Rev. Christian Schreiner, an ordained pastor in the Lutheran Church of Bavaria and the dean of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec City, was in fact re-ordained as an Anglican priest in June 2008 and made rector of the parish of Quebec. That’s because the Lutheran Church of Bavaria was not a signatory of the Parvoo Agreement of 1992, which brought eight of the Nordic-Baltic Lutheran churches in Europe into full communion with the Church of England.
In Canada, Schreiner had been temporarily rostered with the ELCIC when he was borrowed to assist at Holy Trinity during 2005 and 2006. He had first arrived at the cathedral as an ecumenical intern in 2004. Since the process for becoming permanently rostered with the ELCIC would take considerable time, the most expedient solution to his joining the clergy in Canada was to ordain him an Anglican priest. And so, in a historic move, he was ordained in June 2008-as an extension to his Lutheran ordination.
For him, joining the Anglican church was a painless transition. “It was like coming home. It was effectively what I had been looking for without knowing it,” says Schreiner. “Martin Luther never changed the mass, so the liturgies are really not that different.”
He does concede, though, that Anglican liturgical apparel is more colourful. “As a Lutheran pastor, you usually wear black,” he says. “I only wore an alb for Easter Sunday, and even then I had to borrow one from my Catholic colleague.”
Schreiner’s re-ordination required no formal training, just a little preparation with his bishop. “But I had done two years of internship at the cathedral, and there was not much I didn’t know,” he says.
As a delegate to Joint Assembly 2013, Schreiner sees the combined Anglican-Lutheran sessions as “an important opportunity for the two churches’ to live up to their historic 2001 commitment to full communion.”