Called to Common Confirmation

Lamb of God, a Lutheran and Episcopal congregation in Ft. Myers, Florida, held a two-bishop confirmation service Dec. 13. The Rev. Robert G. Schaefer, Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, preached.

Bishop Schaefer and the Rt. Rev. Barry R. Howe, one of two assisting bishops in the Diocese of Southwest Florida, sat beside each other during the Confirmation rite and alternated its questions and prayers.

Lamb of God describes itself as a “boldly inclusive, intentionally challenging, and joyfully Christian” congregation. A page on the congregation’s history describes Lamb of God’s common mission:

We grew from the marriage of two congregations founded around 25 years ago, Lamb of God Lutheran (ELCA) Church, and St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church. In 2000, the two congregations began the process of merging, becoming a fully federated congregation in 2004. We proudly embrace our call to common mission and have grown into a congregation 494 members strong, going from storefront locations to a beautiful two-building campus. As one of the nation’s first federated ELCA/Episcopal congregations, we have built upon our unique identity to create a vibrant church community with energy for the future.

In his sermon, Schaefer mentioned that Howe was among the bishops serving at his consecration to the episcopate.

“I get to serve at the altar this morning with my brother in Christ, Bishop Howe. You might know that one of the ingredients that it takes to mix up a new bishop is the presence of three other bishops. So Bishop Howe was one of the three principal co-consecrators when I was installed as Bishop of the Florida-Bahamas Synod just over two years ago,” Bishop Schaefer said.

He added with a smile and a soft laugh: “I have to tell you that I owe at least one-third of my mystical bishop’s powers to Bishop Howe.”

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