How a Lutheran and a United church ended up sharing Sunday service

·2 min read
Lorraine Samis, left, and Kathleen Jensen, right, might come from different churches, but they’re sharing a Sunday morning service.  (Supplied by Kathleen Jensen - image credit)
Lorraine Samis, left, and Kathleen Jensen, right, might come from different churches, but they’re sharing a Sunday morning service. (Supplied by Kathleen Jensen - image credit)

One does communion with grape juice, and the other with wine, but for denominations in Brooks, Alta., sharing a Sunday morning service comes down to the things they have in common.

It started with the United Church and Spirit of Grace Lutheran churches in Brooks, Alta., about 186 km southeast of Calgary, when the United minister went on maternity leave and a replacement was hard to find.

That's when Kathleen Jensen, chairperson of the congregation for Spirit of Grace Lutheran Church, reached out and suggested the two churches share a service.

Now they sing songs from multiple hymn books, and incorporate each other's traditions for an hour every week.

"There's slight differences, but there's so many more things that we have in common," Lorraine Samis, chair of the ministerial and pastoral care committee at Brooks United Church told the Calgary Eyeopener.

Since then, the Anglican church in the community has joined in — their church closed last year — and the group goes out once a month to a small country church, Bethany Lutheran.

"So there's actually four congregations that are working together," said Jensen.

Supplied by Kathleen Jensen
Supplied by Kathleen Jensen

"There are so many denominations that work apart. And if you're able to [work together] and you have the space and you have the resources, it's the right thing to do."

The women say what makes the system work is "honouring" each other's missions and using resources from each of the churches.

"It's a sense of community. We always have coffee together after church," Samis said.

Being accommodating is also encouraging more people back into the pews after being closed for months due to COVID, she said.  "Being able to be flexible to different ways of worship helps to maybe bring youth back in."

And as for which denomination has a better choir: "it's much better when we're combined."

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