Commemoration of 500th anniversary of reformation during the unity week

January 24, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Andhra Pradesh, January 24, 2017: The Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC), a fellowship of Bishops and Church-Heads of major Christian Denominations in the Telugu States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, organised an Ecumenical Worship Service for Christian unity on the Ecumenism Sunday Jan. 22, 2017, at the Lutheran Church, in Hyderabad. The intention of the Worship Service was to observe the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity as well as to commemorate 500th Anniversary of Reformation.

The theme of the Worship Service was: “Reconciliation – The Love of Christ Compels Us” (cf. 2 Cor 5:14-20). Most Rev. Dr. Thumma Bala, Archbishop of Hyderabad and President of FTC, led Worship Service. Fr. Dr. Anthoniraj Thumma, Executive Secretary of FTC and TCBC Commission for Ecumenism, gave the introduction recalling the visit of Pope Francis last October to the headquarters of Lutheran World Federation (LWF) at Lund, Sweden, to jointly inaugurate the commemoration of 500th Anniversary of Reformation with the President of LWF.

Rev. Yesu Ratnam Devarapalli, Parish Pastor of local Lutheran Church, welcomed the gathering consisting of members from various Denominations, Pastors, Fathers, Sisters, and staff and students of St. John’s Regional Seminary and Andhra Christian Theological College (ACTC). The Worship Service jointly prepared and published by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (RCC) and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches (WCC) was followed translated into Telugu, using the symbol of building a stone wall of sins of division and breaking it to make a Cross, and the symbol of passing on of the lighted candles to all.

Sermon was delivered by Rt. Rev. Dr. P. Surya Prakash, CSI Bishop Emeritus of Karimnagar and Former General Secretary of FTC. Recalling the milestones in the Ecumenical Movement and some agreements reached, he concluded stressing “only the love of Christ can unite us”. Rt. Rev. Dr. Ernest Komanapalli, Bishop of Rock Church and Senior Member of FTC, gave vote of thanks making a mention of his meeting with Pope Francis and the ecumenical festival organised by him at Hyderabad some years ago.  On behalf of Andhra Evangelical Lutheran Church (AELC), Rt. Rev. Dr. Ch. Elia, Bishop of Central Guntur Synod, thanked the Bishops, Pastors and all the participants. He assured to organise a large ecumenical event in Guntur, which is the headquarters of AELC, to commemorate of 500th Anniversary of Reformation and foster the unity of the Churches.

– fr. dr. anthoniraj thumma, executive secretary of FTC and TCBC commission for ecumenism.

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