UCC to host consultation on multiple religious belonging
The United Church of Christ, in conjunction with the World Council of Churches, will host clergy and theologians from across North America for one of the first global discussions on multiple religious belonging at the denomination’s national offices Monday, April 20, through Thursday, April 23.
The consultation, bringing together more than 30 people from U.S. and Canadian denominations and religious organizations, will closely examine the pastoral and theological challenges that multiple religious belonging poses to Christian churches in the 21st century. The gathering will also explore possible responses to the topic that would be theologically appropriate, pastorally sensitive and inter-religiously accountable.
Multiple religious belonging—also known as double belonging, dual religious belonging, or religious pluralism—is a growing, but not a new, movement in which a person or families are living into multi-faith traditions.
“There is still a lot of learning going on around the topic, which is why we are having this consultation,” said the Rev. Karen Georgia A. Thompson, UCC ecumenical and interfaith officer, and one of the consultation’s lead organizers. “My vision is this conversation will continue to grow, and that it will help provide clergy with support as they deal with the topic and welcome ministry to people in need of community.”
In many ways, the upcoming consultation follows up a previous consultation that took place in October 2014 at the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute in Chennai, India. That gathering explored multiple religious belonging in the Asian context and had a more academic than a religious focus. This discussion aims to bring the Church into the conversation.
Among the denominations and organizations that will be present for the discussion: the United Church of Christ, Andover Newton Theological School, Claremont School of Theology, the United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church of Canada, and the University of Winnipeg.
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