Thursday, February 15, 2007

Christian Churches Together

Our friends at Sojourners tell us that, since 2001, a conversation has been quietly taking place among American church leaders about what it would take to come together in common fellowship, common unity, and common voice on the most important issues of our time. While there has been cross-fertilization on projects, campaigns, and issues, there has been no genuinely "ecumenical" or "inter-denominational" organization in the United States that crossed all of our dividing lines – until now. This one includes the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A consensus on the importance of evangelism and the need to eliminate domestic poverty marked the official formation of Christian Churches Together (CCT) meeting here February 6-9.

The CCT is composed of 36 churches and national organizations from virtually all U.S. Christian groups who have been seeking to come together for fellowship, worship and opportunities to share in important ministries.
. . .
Christian Churches Together (CCT) began in 2001 out of a deeply felt need to broaden and expand fellowship, unity, and witness among the diverse expressions of Christian faith today. Over the past five years, with a focus on praying together and building relationships, CCT has become the broadest most inclusive fellowship of Christian churches and traditions in the USA, including Evangelical/Pentecostal, Orthodox, Catholic, historic Protestant and Racial/Ethnic churches among its participants.

A Celebration and Commitment Service Wednesday highlighted the gathering that included over 150 participants and observers and a group of seminary students and young leaders. The 36 founding members includes the most recent groups to become official participants in CCT: the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America were warmly welcomed. Other groups are currently investigating membership, said the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson of the Reformed Church in America, chair of the CCT steering committee.

. . . In a statement on poverty, the leaders said, "Our faith in Christ who is the truth compels us to confront the ignorance of and indifference to the scandal of widespread, persistent poverty in this rich nation. We must call this situation by its real names: moral failure, unacceptable injustice." The leaders of CCT declared, "We believe that a renewed commitment to overcome poverty is central to the mission of the church and essential to our unity in Christ."

You can read more here. Also, Catholic News Service has a story here.