Hard Work…But Worth It!

In the middle to two ecumenical meetings:

Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT-USA), the broadest ecumenical configuration in this nation’s history, met January 8-11 near Baltimore. Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Historic Protestant, Evangelical/Pentecostal, and Racial/Ethnic churches gathered to discuss working together on evangelism and domestic poverty. It was quite an amazing event, the breadth of which was symbolized by Orthodox bishops and priests clapping along with the rest of us at worship led by a 12- piece Salvation Army band!

More substantively, we shared our faith journeys and prayed in small groups together. Visited Bread for the World, Sojourners, and an amazing feeding program called “So Others May Eat” (SOME) just blocks from the Capitol in Washington, DC, and wrestled with the differences between evangelism and proselytization at home and abroad. My small group consisted of a Pentecostal bishop, an Antiochian Orthodox priest, a pastor from the Reformed Church in America, a Roman Catholic bishop, and me!

Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC).  Now I’m in St. Louis at a make-or-break plenary meeting of this successor to the old Consultation on Church Union (COCU). Our goal has been full communion between ten Christian churches and intentional work together against racism in this country. We’re not doing too well with either and are here to determine what the future is…or if there is one.

Just when you think we should just give up on this effort, though, you have an experience like we did last night of being hosted by Lane Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and engaging in lively worship with a packed out African American congregation. The worship and hospitality were wonderful and the “rainbow gathering” a glimpse of what the Church (and the Kingdom) ought to look like!

We shall see. This is hard work. But so worth it!  

  

4 Responses to “Hard Work…But Worth It!”

  1. rwkachur Says:

    I’ve worked at SOME and it is quite an impressive organization. But here is a tangential point. Would you attend CCT Conference attended by CANA’s Bishop Minns? Could we finally begin fixing the damage in a forum like that? Because, I’m afraid that is where we are now.

  2. ecubishop Says:

    Sure, but the difference is: in ecumenical gatherings such as CCT churches want to be together, seek mutual understanding, and find common ground for the sake of unity. I’m not sure CANA has any interest in that approach.

  3. rwkachur Says:

    The CCP seems to be trying “seek mutual understanding and find common ground for the sake of unity”. The REC, AMiA, CANA, Anglo-Catholics, Evangelicals etc. all coming together to form something new. One of the conservative websites spent New Years Day discussing what evangelicals, anglo-catholics and charismatics enjoy and respect about each other.To use a favorite TEC line, could the Spirit be doing two new things?

    From my perspective, unity has consistently been shattered by the actions of TEC. For example, Bishop Lee had arranged a protocol that would have kept CANA and the Diocese of VA close together on many levels – an imperfect communion to be sure but far better than where we are now — but it was 815 that chose the course of litigation and escalation. At the Falls Church I was there in November and December 2007 pushing with others to stay close to TEC. I and others made sure the Presiding Bishop was prayed for every day. I had great hopes for her and was sorely disappointed. In Sept 07, we saw Bishop Lee’s protocol as a great victory for all sides – a win/win. It was labored on for over a year by liberals and conservatives in the diocese. All of that true understanding was swept aside by a phone call from New York City to Richmond in an effort to “wage reconciliation” and it suddenly became win/lose.

    Please don’t get the sense that we’re all here grumpy and frumpy worried about what the lawsuits will bring. Sure, we don’t like having to spend the money on this but if we lose the property, so what? It will not change who we are. It is not as if CCP and CANA will go away. “Winning” will not restore communion for TEC with much of the Global South. I have had more than one person see losing and being thrown out like the early church being driven from Jerusalem — it spread the Gospel to the whole world. There is no fear here.

    In fact, there is palpable excitement about the future. People are being brought to Christ, the Gospel is being preached and the lives are being transformed. I’ve seen it at The Falls Church for the last 20 years. It will continue, just not under the authority of TEC.

  4. JCF Says:

    Does CANA even know who Jesus is, rwkachur? An entity which *chose* to make “common cause” w/ the (Imago-Dei-made-)gay-HATING Akinola?

    “the Gospel is being preached”: as in GOOD News? If only I could believe that…

    Lord have mercy!

    *****
    Christopher, what’s the dirt on CUIC? (I was peripherally involved with it some years ago—at the transition from “COCU” to “CUIC”—and am sorry to hear it is in “make-or-break” trouble)

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