How a Lutheran Church and a United Church Ended Up Sharing Sunday Service

One makes communion with grape juice and the other with wine, but for the denominations in Brooks, Alberta, sharing a Sunday morning service comes down to what they have in common.

It started with the United Church and Spirit of Grace Lutheran Churches in Brooks, Alberta, about 186 km southeast of Calgary, when the United Minister went on maternity leave and a replacement was hard to find.

It was then that Kathleen Jensen, congregational president of the Spirit of Grace Lutheran Church, reached out and suggested that the two churches share a service.

Now they sing songs from several hymnals and incorporate each other’s traditions for an hour each week.

“There are slight differences, but we have so much more in common,” said Lorraine Samis, chair of the pastoral and pastoral committee at Brooks United Church. Calgary Eye Opener.

The community’s Anglican Church has since joined – their church closed last year – and the group visits a small country church, Bethany Lutheran, once a month.

“So there are actually four congregations working together,” Jensen said.

The interior of Brooks United Church, where shared services are held on Sundays. (Provided by Kathleen Jensen)

“There are so many denominations that operate separately. And if you are able to [work together] and you have the space and you have the resources, it’s the right thing to do.”

The women say what makes the system work is to “honor” each other’s missions and use the resources of each of the churches.

“It’s a sense of community. We always have coffee together after church,” Samis said.

Being accommodating also encourages more people to return to the benches after being closed for months due to COVID, she said. “Being able to adapt to different ways of worship maybe helps bring the young back.”

And as to which denomination has the best choir: “It’s much better when we’re together.”

Jerry B. Hatch