From the Worldwide Faith News archives

ELCA Welcomes Possible New Organization for U.S. Churches

From News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Date Tue, 11 Jun 2002 14:12:35 -0500


June 11, 2002


     CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Representatives of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America (ELCA), as well as other mainline Protestant,
Evangelical, Orthodox, Pentecostal and Roman Catholic churches, have
signed "An Invitation to a Journey," a document envisioning a new
organization -- Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. (CCT) -- to
bring all U.S. churches together as a united force for witnessing to the
gospel of Jesus Christ.
     After a September meeting in Baltimore and an April meeting in
Chicago, the 34 church leaders wrote "to all Christians in the United
States to share our longing for an expanded Christian conversation in
our nation."  They wrote, "It is our longing which most clearly points
us toward 'something new' as a possibility."
     "We lament that none of our current organizations represents the
full spectrum of Christians in the United States," said the document.
"We long for a place where our differences could be better understood
and our commonalities better affirmed."
     The Rev. Jon S. Enslin, interim director, ELCA Department for
Ecumenical Affairs, signed the document for the ELCA.  He described the
meetings as "exciting and filled with spiritual energy.  Decisions were
made by consensus, and there was a unanimous agreement that now is the
right time to broaden our ecumenical conversations."
     The National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC)
serves many but not all of the country's churches.  Enslin said, "The
opportunity to expand churchly interaction to include Roman Catholics,
some Evangelicals and some Pentecostals should not be missed.
     "We clearly need to know one another better for the sake of the
gospel in this country.  If we are able to find areas of cooperation
together, our voice will be much clearer in an increasingly secular and
multi-religious society," said Enslin.
     The ELCA is one of the NCC's 36 member churches.  The NCC was
founded in 1950, and its member churches include more than 50 million
people in 140,000 congregations across the United States.
     The Rev. Robert W. Edgar, NCC general secretary, urged the member
churches to circulate "An Invitation to a Journey."  He said its signers
will meet again in January and may draft a more formal document.
     "Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. is a creation of
communions and not of the National Council of Churches," Edgar said.
When the invitation was approved, "there was an audible 'yes' that this
is an important moment for coming together, and for talking about a new
something that would be broader and deeper," he said.
     Salvation Army Commissioner John Busby chairs the CCT steering
committee until August, when the Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson,
general secretary, Reformed Church in America, will take a turn.
-- -- --
     The full text of "An Invitation to a Journey" with a list of its
signers is available at on the
NCC Web site.

For information contact:
John Brooks, Director (773) 380-2958 or NEWS@ELCA.ORG

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