From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Disciples of Christ Say Yes to COCU Proposal

Date 04 May 1996 20:36:42


95400      Disciples of Christ Say Yes to COCU Proposal 
                     by Religion News Service 
WASHINGTON--Delegates to the General Assembly of the Christian Church 
(Disciples of Christ) have voted to take the next step in participating 
with eight other Protestant denominations in forming the Church of Christ 
Uniting (COCU). 
     The Rev. Paul Crow Jr., president of the 900,000-member church's 
Council on Christian Unity, called the action the Disciples' "most 
significant ecumenical decision" since the 1832 merger that created the 
     Under the COCU plan, the nine churches would move closer to one 
another by recognizing each other's clergy and permitting regular sharing 
of Holy Communion across denominational lines.  But the plan stops short of 
calling for organic merger, and each body would retain its own governing 
structures and worship practices. 
     Delegates to the Oct. 20-24 Assembly in Pittsburgh decisively rejected 
moves by opponents to postpone action on the proposal and to seek written 
assurances that congregations that reject the new body will not be 
     After the vote, Disciple Renewal, a conservative group critical of the 
plan, said the action will cost the church members and move the 
denomination "further in the direction of division by making the 
cooperation of many of its own congregations more difficult." 
     The Rev. Daniell Hamby, COCU general secretary, hailed the vote, 
saying it "puts us [COCU] past the halfway point in the ... voting 
     Four other bodies -- the International Council of Community Churches, 
the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 
and the United Church of Christ -- have given approval to the proposal, 
although the Presbyterians have delayed a vote on the enabling 
constitutional amendments for their participation in the plan until next 
     Three other churches have scheduled votes for next year: the United 
Methodist Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the African 
Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. 
     The other denomination, the Episcopal Church, has not yet set a time 
to vote. 

For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
  Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
  phone 502-569-5504            fax 502-569-8073  
  E-mail   Web page: 


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