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!