Christian Churches Together postpones launch
June 10, 2005
A UMNS Report
By Linda Bloom*
The launch of a new ecumenical group, Christian Churches Together, has been postponed.
decision was made during the June 1-3 meeting of 67 Christian leaders
at the Jesuit Conference Center in Palo Alto, Calif., which was to be
the inauguration of the group. An inaugural worship service had been
planned at Washington Cathedral in September.
far, 31 churches and national Christian organizations have formally
decided to join Christian Churches Together and 20 additional church
leaders from denominations considering membership attended the meeting
as observers. Participants include mainline Protestants, Orthodox,
Catholics, Pentecostals and evangelicals.
to a statement from the meeting, "the decision was made to delay a
formal launch this fall in order to continue the productive and positive
conversation with churches and organizations actively considering
enthusiastically reaffirmed their commitment to 'grow closer together
in Christ in order to strengthen our Christian witness in the world,'"
the statement said.
Rev. Larry Pickens, chief executive of the United Methodist Commission
on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, said the decision to
delay was reached after participants addressed the fact that no
African-American churches "are presently represented at the table as
participants" and questioned whether the new entity could be inaugurated
without their presence.
was in some ways a difficult and painful decision, but in my mind, it
was the right decision," Pickens told United Methodist News Service.
noted that the United Methodist Council of Bishops had voted in May for
the denomination to enter Christian Churches Together as a provisional
member, partly because of this concern, and that the Commission on
Christian Unity had raised the issue as well.
the commission supported provisional membership, it did lament, in an
April statement, the historic divisions in the church over race and
wanted to know how Christian Churches Together "will strive to be
racially and ethnically inclusive."
said he thinks the organization is strong and has "a new level of
legitimacy" because of the decision to delay an inauguration.
next meeting of Christian Churches Together will "continue common
activities of prayer, biblical reflection, worship and relationship
building as well as wrestle in depth with the issue of poverty in the
United States," the group's statement said.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.
News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or firstname.lastname@example.org.