The United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America will ask their members over the next two years to approve "full communion" between the two denominations.
The United Methodist News Service reported this week that dialogue teams for the two Protestant groups, which have been meeting since the 1970s, held their final session in December during which they approved an interim agreement for full communion.
United Methodists will vote on the proposal at their quadrennial conference in Fort Worth, Texas, April 23-May 2. Lutherans are scheduled to vote at their August, 2009, assembly in Minneapolis.
The Rev. W. Douglas Mills of the United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns said full communion means "acknowledging one another's ministries as valid," as well as wanting to be involved in mutual decision-making.
At the same time, Mr. Mills said, "We don't know what full unity is or can look like."