Protestant, Catholic Church Leaders Unite for Special Service

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SAN JUAN – Five hundred years ago a man named Martin Luther published a controversial criticism of the Catholic Church. It led to a major split in the church and the formation of Protestant churches. It was called the Reformation.

But that is all in the past. And to show unity among the religions, Protestant and Catholic leaders united for a special service.

It was Pastor Sylvia de La Garza with the St. John Lutheran Church who spearheaded the ecumenical prayer service.

The Reformation was a dark time for religion. Families were divided, people were tortured and sent to prison. Their beliefs were suddenly pitted against each other.

“On the anniversary of the Reformation, it will be the time for us to talk about our common faith and our common hopes to move forward to give common witness,” Bishop Daniel Flores with the Catholic Diocese said.

There have been other ecumenical services before, but they all agree this one is different.

“Last year, Pope Francis had one of these services in Sweden. Where Sweden is 100 percent Lutheran and it commemorated the 500,” de La Garza said.

“It’s beyond words. We have longed for unity. Greater unity in the church,” Dr. Javier Alanis, the director of Lutheran Seminary Austin, said.

Also in attendance were ministers from different churches, including Methodists, Pentecostal and others.

“I’m really excited about it. I think it’s been a long time coming and I hope for years to come we continue to flourish in our unity,” Pastor Sue Briner, with Bishop’s Office Lutheran Church, said.

“It’s kind of a public way of showing everybody that the gospel is the most important thing and it brings us together,” Pastor Robert Slate from the Love of Christ Lutheran said.

“Obviously, we don’t get these opportunity every day. So, it’s pretty special and looking forward to this service. Hope it won’t be the last,” Lutheran Church Pastor Steve Kerzberg said.

All are welcome, putting aside the Reformation, services like the one held recently are continuing all over the world. 

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