Ecumenical group moves toward better cooperation
3/17/2003 News media contact: Linda Bloom · (646) 369-3759 · New York
By United Methodist News ServiceFollowing
a "watershed" meeting in Chicago, the ecumenical movement called
Churches Uniting in Christ is progressing toward its goal of better
cooperation and working relations among the nine member denominations,
according to United Methodist Bishop Melvin Talbert.
is president of CUIC's coordinating council, which met March 7-8 at the
Chicago offices of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The
council has one voting member from each denomination, with ecumenical
officers attending as observers.
Talbert told United Methodist
News Service that the three task forces that form the "lifeblood" of
CUIC all made recommendations to the council. The racial justice task
force, for example, is organizing a one-day event, "Eradicating Racism,
Liberating Tomorrow's Children," Sept. 15 in Chicago. Using a "think
tank" approach, he added, an invited group of people will help the
churches look at the issue of racism and work on practical models for
congregations to use in overcoming racism in society.
racism is the top moral agenda item for Churches Uniting in Christ,
which was formed in January 2002 as a successor to the Consultation on
The local and regional task force plans to promote
grassroots implementation of the organization's goals through new
communications resources, including a video, study pamphlet and
brochure. Communications staff members from the various denominations
will be called upon to help with that effort, Talbert said.
members, he said, "spent considerable time" deciding upon a response to
the ministry task force, which wanted to know whether its deadline for
2007 involved achieving reconciliation of ministries among member
communications or having the "foundational directions" for the
reconciliation set in place. Topics to be reconciled include the role of
bishops and the order of ordained ministry.
Noting the need to
be intentional but cautious, council members instructed the task force
that the deadline was for setting the foundational directions. The
council believed that if the goal to actually accomplish reconciliation
of ministries was set for 2007, "many of our churches will say it's
impossible and give up," Talbert explained.
During the meeting, Brother Jeff Gros was welcomed as an official observer from the Roman Catholic Church.
the United Methodist Church, other Churches Uniting in Christ members
are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal
Zion Church, Christian Methodist Church, Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ), Episcopal Church, International Council of Community Churches,
Presbyterian Church and United Church of Christ. The Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America and Moravian Church (Northern Province) are
considered "partners in mission and dialogue."
of CUIC is the Rev. Bertrice Wood, a United Church of Christ pastor
based in Cleveland. The coordinating council's next meeting will be in
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