Between the Montana Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
and the Montana Association of Jewish Communities
Signed June 1995, Reaffirmed May 2000
Montana as every part of the world is affected by religious and cultural diversity.
Different communities of faith may passively tolerate this diversity, or they can actively
welcome it as an opportunity to understand different faith traditions, and cooperate in the
humane goals of civil life. This opportunity is being engaged enthusiastically by the
Montana Association of Jewish Communities and Montana Synod Lutherans of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America.
Lutherans and Jews alike find the basis of this engagement in our shared heritage and
belief in one God who as Creator calls all persons to live together in justice and peace,
with respect for humane and national rights. Our shared heritage dating to Abraham, bearing
witness to God"s liberating and blessing actions in history, does not diminish our
theological differences – such as beliefs about redemption, the Messiah, the doctrine of
God or sacred land – but we experience a new day when condemnations, brutalities and
stereotypes can themselves be denounced. We are beginning to talk and walk as equals, with
interactions tainted much less by ignorance and claims of religious superiority. Christians
are beginning to hear Judaism be defined by Jews, and Jews are beginning to hear
Christianity be defined by Christians. We must continue to explore and deepen our
appreciation of each other"s traditions and cultures.
In addition, since we live as neighbors in Montana, we have common civil challenges and
duties for which Jews and Lutherans can make common cause. We need not share a common creed
to share common deeds that enhance human welfare and strengthen the moral fabric of society.
Together we affirm that:
- We build on a common heritage of the Hebrew Bible for Jews and the Old Testament for
- The one God calls us to live together in dignity and with selfless respect for the
sanctity of ethnicity and religious traditions.
- Our histories, though marred by ethnic and religious animosity and misunderstanding,
should and are moving toward mutual concord and cooperation.
- The Jewish and Lutheran people of Montana have been blessed by God with a rich
diversity of gifts for sharing and service with each other and all their neighbors.
- Within the territory of Montana Jewish and Christian communities can be enriched by
religious and moral cooperation.
Therefore we pledge that we will:
- In prayer seek God"s guidance for mutual understanding, and for the unity of the whole
- Encourage the congregations of Montana Synod Lutherans and the congregations of the
Montana Jewish community to participate in this Agreement with each other.
- Share, study and discuss declarations, reports and resources made available by our
religious bodies that promote reconciliation and appreciation toward each other; in
particular, issues regarding theology, Martin Luther, the Holocaust, and the Holy Land.
- Try to learn more of historical and theological developments in Judaism and
Christianity since Bible times.
- Work together for the common good and for peace and justice as our authentic response
to the will of God.
- Invite each other to be present at worship in each tradition, observing official
guidelines for such events.
- Agree to review this Agreement periodically, and renew it at a joint service.