After 32 years of talks, Presbyterians and Lutherans have approved a pact to more closely align their denominations, an ecumenical agreement that could allow them to share the Communion table and the pulpit.
The historic agreement was recognized Wednesday by Presbyterians attending their 210th annual General Assembly in Charlotte.Also on Wednesday, the top governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), meeting in the nation's top tobacco-producing state, voted to support Congress' first bill to curb teen smoking. The measure died in the Senate, however.
The denominations' accord could bring about routine changes, including Presbyterians and Lutherans taking Communion at each others' churches. Presbyterian congregations could hire Lutherans to be their pastors - or vice versa.
The new status, called "full communion," does not mean a merger of the 2.6 million-member Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the 5.2 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The denominations still have some doctrinal sticking points.