From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Disciples to Move Into Interfaith Dialogue
"Communication Ministries" <email@example.com>
Fri, 14 Dec 2001 16:58:34 -0500
Date: December 14, 2001
Disciples News Service
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Contact: Curt Miller
on the Web: http://www.disciples.org
INDIANAPOLIS (DNS) -- The Board of Directors of the
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Council on Christian
Unity (CCU) has adopted recommendations to move the Council
toward work and study in the area of interfaith dialogue.
Prior to its fall meeting here, a CCU board task group met
with Dr. John Borelli, interim director, Secretariat for
Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs of the United States
Conference of Catholic Bishops. Borelli, a specialist in
Christian-Muslim relations, said as Disciples think about
entering interfaith dialogue they should not deny who they
are, but maintain their strong identity as Disciples. "Work
from where you see yourselves as church," Borelli told the
Borelli urged Disciples to begin with interfaith dialogue
in local settings instead of focusing primarily on
high-level discussions among faith group leadership. CCU
President Robert K. Welsh affirmed that position, saying,
"The goal of interfaith dialogue is, finally, to encourage
understanding among Christians and other world religions so
that we (and the world) might live in peace. This journey
of understanding must begin in local settings, involving
congregations in a process of dialogue -- not only for
understanding the others' faith, but also as a dialogue of
life' in working and serving together to meet the needs of
the local community."
The CCU board adopted a goal: "To increase our
denomination's capacities to deepen relationships with
neighbors of other faiths." The measure directs Disciples
ecumenical officers and those of the United Church of
Christ, the Disciples ecumenical partner, to name a
subcommittee that will report to a joint meeting of the
Disciples and UCC ecumenical bodies in April. The
subcommittee will: articulate a proposed rationale for
interfaith work; identify what kinds of resources need
development; identify what local interfaith support,
networking, and dialogue initiatives are already occurring;
recommend how to make that information available to both
churches' constituencies; and identify a variety of ways
the two denominations can pursue deepening relationships.
The interfaith initiative is not a direct result of Sept.
11 and subsequent events, said the Rev. Carolyn
Roper-Fowlkes, Disciples associate ecumenical officer.
"Working for Christian Unity is very important, but we
can't be complete in the unity that God wills for humankind
until we're able to involve other faith groups." she said.
The staff of the Council on Christian Unity has been laying
the groundwork for interfaith dialogue for more than a
In its November meeting, the CCU board also named officers
for 2002-03. The Rev. Jack Sullivan, Jr., regional minister
in the Northwest, was named chair. Mary Anne Parrott,
president, Disciples Seminary Foundation was named
vice-chair. The Rev. Helen Enari, associate minister,
First Christian Church, Bloomington, Ind., will be the
board secretary. David Brown, a lay Disciple from Memphis,
Tenn. will be board treasurer.
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