Christian Churches Together’ hosts its fifth and largest ecumenical gathering

Leaders of five traditions of the Christian Church — including Evangelical and Pentecostal churches, historical Protestant churches (including the United Church of Christ), historic racial and ethnic churches, the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church — met at the Los Altos’ Jesuit Conference Center to pray and dialogue at CCT’s largest gathering to date.

Since its inception in 2001, CCT’s vision has been to form a fellowship of the broadest spectrum of Christian churches and traditions in the U.S., said the Rev. Lydia Veliko, the UCC’s ecumenical officer. “The gathering at Los Altos brought together a wider, more diverse circle of Christian church leaders than at any of the previous four meetings.”
Already, 31 churches and national Christian organizations have decided formally to participate in CCT. The UCC became a participant in 2002.
Veliko, along with the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC’s general minister and president, represented the 1.3-million-member UCC. In addition to formally declared members, 20 additional Christian leaders attended as observers from denominations that are actively considering joining.
“Through two and a half days of sharing, prayer and worship, participants wrestled with difficult and complex issues in a spirit of love and good will,” Veliko said. “Relationships with the historic black churches were deepened through intensive dialogue and sharing with an emphasis on the work that must be done to overcome the divisions caused by racism both within and outside of the church.”
Participants also received a report about the Global Christian Forum, a similar initiative to bring together the wide diversity of Christian traditions throughout the globe into fellowship and cooperation, Veliko said.
“We agreed that the next meeting would continue common activities of prayer, biblical reflection, worship and relationship building and will focus in depth on issues of poverty in the United States,” Veliko said.
The Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson was reelected as moderator and will lead CCT’s expanded steering committee.
Veliko said a decision was made to delay CCT’s formal launch — once planned for this fall — in order to continue the productive and positive conversation with churches and organizations actively considering joining. She said participants enthusiastically reaffirmed their commitment to “grow closer together in Christ in order to strengthen our Christian witness in the world.”
“I believe it is vital for leaders to find places to listen to and learn from each other, both in prayer and in dialogue, particularly at this time when the divisions among Christians in the United States receive so much attention,” Veliko said. “It is a part of our ecumenical vocation to seek those opportunities.”
Categories: United Church of Christ News

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