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Lutheran, Episcopal and Roman Catholic bishops in Virginia have entered into a covenant billed as one of the closest such working partnerships in the country.

The agreement was signed by bishops and 160 other representatives at the close of the state's annual LARC (Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic) Conference.

Bishops of the three denominations committed themselves to various programs and actions to strengthen unity, ranging from praying for each other to developing cooperation in institutions, chaplaincies and campus ministries to working together in evangelism and for social justice.

In a related move in Minnesota, a Lutheran-Catholic covenant was signed between Catholic Archbishop John R. Roach of St. Paul-Minneapolis and bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in those two cities.

This was believed to be the second Lutheran-Catholic covenant, an earlier one being signed in Chicago. Catholics and Lutherans are reported working toward such accords in North Carolina and New England.

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