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Protestants Closer To Unity

Move over, Martin Luther. Step aside, John Calvin.

The American descendants of the two feuding giants of the Reformation are one step away from passage of a historic agreement to enter into “full communion” with one another.

The 5.2 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is scheduled to vote at its biennial Churchwide Assembly today on a church unity pact that would allow members to share the Communion table and the pulpit with three major Reformed churches.

The 2.7 million-member Presbyterian Church and the 400,000-member Reformed Church in America approved the agreements in June, and in July only about 10 of the 700 delegates to the 1.5 million-member United Church of Christ meeting voted against the agreement.

Church observers on Sunday predicted the Lutheran-Reformed agreement would be approved, but were less certain a separate Lutheran-Episcopal proposal for full communion would receive the necessary two-thirds vote from the 1,040 delegates.