About 500 people gathered at Central Moravian Feb. 10 to celebrate the full communion of the Episcopal Church and the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Moravian Church. The Episcopal Church approved the full-communion agreement at General Convention in 2009, and the two Moravian provinces approved it in 2010. The churches had practiced interim eucharistic sharing since 2003.
This historic occasion featured a prelude with music by the Central Moravian Brass Ensemble, and opened with a procession of nearly a dozen Episcopal and Moravian bishops. For this event, the Central Moravian choir merged with those of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity and Trinity Church, Bethlehem.
Yet for all its importance, the service was less than two hours long, including the singing of 11 hymns. The service honored both churches’ traditions on the elements of Communion, offering worshipers a choice between wine or grape juice. Recitations were short but heartfelt, stressing fellowship and unity.