United Church of Christ affirms full communion with United Church of Canada

 — June 29, 201529 juin 2015
By Jeff Woodard, United Church of Christ news

Delegates to the United Church of Christ 2015 General Synod in Cleveland on Monday morning unanimously approved an amendment to recognize a full communion between the United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada. The union fulfills the promise the churches made to one another in 2013.

“Let us dare to dream of the unexpected places we might discover as Uniting and United Churches in North America,” said Karen Georgia Thompson, United Church of Christ minister for ecumenical and interfaith relations, echoing the theme of General Synod 30 in Cleveland June 25-30.

Passage of the amendment on June 29 drew a sustained 45-second applause from delegates, some of whom stood and cheered.

For the Rev. Michael Denton – United Church of Christ Executive Board member and Conference Minister of the Pacific Northwest Conference – the vote was cause for celebration.

“We share significant borders with Canada,” said Denton, whose conference comprises Washington state, Northern Idaho and Alaska. “This is an opportunity for a cross-border-sharing ministry. Some United Church of Christ churches are closer to Canada than any other United Church of Christ churches.”

“The United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada are the only two ‘United and Uniting’ churches in North America,” said the Rev. Geoffrey A. Black, United Church of Christ general minister and president. “The two have known of each other, we’ve worked together and we hold many things in common. But there has been no formal relationship.”

A full communion is an agreement for two or more churches to recognize each others’ sacraments and the ordination of ministers, allowing them to be called by congregations of either denomination. This is the United Church of Christ’s fourth full communion agreement and the first for the United Church of Canada, the largest Protestant denomination in Canada with about 3 million members in more than 3,500 congregations.

The United Church of Christ has a full communion with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); a four-way Formula of Agreement with the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Reformed Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and a Kirchengemeinshaft with the Union of Evangelical Churches in Germany (UEK).

Both churches have common ecumenical partners and share similarities on their passion for social justice and peace, inclusion of LGBT people and ordination of women.

The churches began a formal conversation in April 2012, when the United Church of Christ made a historical visit to the United Church of Canada’s offices in Toronto. After a year of study and engagement, six representatives from each church brought a common document to General Council 2015 and General Synod 2015.

Said Bernice Powell Jackson, pastor at First United Church of Tampa (Fla.), “When I was president of the World Council of Churches, I was shocked to find out we weren’t already in communion already. I just wanted to add a word of joy and excitement about doing justice together. That is who we are, that is who they are. I rejoice in this moment.”

Editor’s note: the full communion proposal will be considered by the United Church of Canada’s General Council meeting in August 2015.

Posted: June 29, 2015 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=8601
Categories: NewsIn this article: full communion, United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ
Transmis : 29 juin 2015 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=8601
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : full communion, United Church of Canada, United Church of Christ

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