The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) and three Protestant denominations have formalized a relationship of full communion, cementing a 30-year effort to bring American Lutherans and other Protestants, particularly those of the Reformed tradition, closer together.

A formal service is planned Oct. 4 in Chicago to mark the new relationship between the ELCA, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the Reformed Church of America (RCA). Those scheduled to attend include Konrad Raiser, general secretary of the World Council of Churches.An announcement of "full communion" was made on June 17 during a meeting of the Presbyterian Church (USA) general assembly in Charlotte, N.C.

Approval by the Presbyterian Church's presbyteries was the last step in a process by which the Presbyterian Church, the UCC and the RCA will share full communion with the ELCA. The ELCA, the UCC and the RCA have already given their backing to the agreement.