An Inter-Connected Church

The ministry and witness of the ELCA is lived out through three interconnected expressions: Congregations, Synods, and Churchwide Organization. In addition, our synod ministries embody God's love beyond the congregational walls.  Synods also work together as regions. 
How we work together


Church Together Partnerships

In addition to collaboration between expressions,  the mission and witness of the Church is strengthened through ecumenical partnerships and partner organizations.

Ecumenical Partners

We find fullness in relationship with other churches even as we partner with other religions 
and communities for the sake of the world. Partnerships include other church bodies and ecumenical organizations.

Full Communion Partners

Full communion is when two denominations develop a relationship based on a common confessing of the Christian faith and a mutual recognition of Baptism and sharing of the Lord’s Supper. This does not mean the two denominations merge; rather, in reaching agreements, denominations also respect differences. These denominations worship together, may exchange clergy and also share a commitment to evangelism, witness and service in the world.

The ELCA is in full-communion partnership with 6 Christian Denominations.

Presbyterian Church (USA)          
Full Communion partner since 1997. To read a brief history of this full communion partnership, click here.     

Reformed Church in America
Full Communion partner since 1997.  To read a brief history of this full communion partnership, click here.                                              

United Church of Christ                    
Full Communion partner since 1997. To read a brief history of this full communion partnership, click here.  

The Episcopal Church 
Full Communion partner since 1999. To read a brief history of this full communion partnership, click here

The Moravian Church                     
Full Communion partner since 1999. To read a brief history of this full communion partnership, click here.    

The United Methodist Church
Full Communion partner since 2009.  To read a brief history of this full communion partnership, click here.

Bilateral Conversations

A "bilateral dialogue" involves two parties coming together in order to seek awareness, heal wounds and deepen a relationship. Contemporary bilateral dialogues between churches in the world received new enthusiasm from the entry of the Roman Catholic Church into the ecumenical movement in 1965, an event marked and ratified by the Second Vatican Council. Since then, many of these dialogues have allowed churches to establish relationships that permit greater sharing of pastors, witness, mission and ministries. More information can be found here.    

African Methodist Episcopal (AME)       
African Methodist Episcopal Zion
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)   
Mennonite Church USA
The Orthodox Church                                 
Roman Catholic Church


Ministry Partners

Ministry Partners are organizations that operate and are governed outside of the Rocky Mountain Synod, but are affiliated with the synod and are considered ministries of the synod. Ministry Partners include colleges, universities, seminaries, health ministries, service organizations, and outdoor ministries.