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Presbyterian and Lutheran Congregations Share Faith and Space

Two local congregations, from different denominations, now have one address in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Church and Living Water Lutheran Church have begun a partnership that allows the Lutheran congregation to use space in and operate from the Presbyterian facility.

The Lutheran congregation is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Because of the two denominations’ similar theology and practices, since 1997 the ELCA and the PC(USA) have been in “full communion.” This allows them to worship together and exchange clergy.

About two years ago, the cost of maintaining their large building prompted the Lutherans to begin exploring other options. About that time, the Rev. Jim Moseley, then the new pastor at Campbell, recognized that there was considerable unused space at his church.

“Ecumenical interactions can be richly rewarding,” Moseley said. “And this could be a ‘win-win’ situation for these two churches.”

After consultation with congregational leaders at Campbell, who agreed with the idea, he invited Living Water to consider renting space in Weems.

Living Water’s leaders found that Campbell “checked nearly all the boxes” for their needs.

“From the beginning, in so many ways, I have felt that the Holy Spirit is at work in this partnering,” stated the Rev. Bruce Burslie, lead pastor at Living Water.

“The agreement allows Living Water and Campbell to continue being unique, independent congregations, while at the same time we look into possibilities in shared activities in Christian education, mission, and service,” commented the Rev. Judy Thomson, a PC(USA)-ordained minister serving as co-pastor at Living Water.

Living Water had its first worship service at Campbell on September 26.

The Presbyterians offer a contemporary worship service in the fellowship hall at 9:00 a.m. and a traditional service in the sanctuary at 11:00. They also livestream on Facebook and YouTube. The Lutherans hold their worship service in the sanctuary at 9:30.

Contributed by Rev. Judy Thomson, co-pastor at Living Water Lutheran Church.

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