From the Worldwide Faith News archives

'Big Church' celebrated during worship

Date 20 Jun 2002 14:33:39 -0400

Note #7297 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:


'Big Church' celebrated during worship

by Emett Barfield

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ecumenical Service of Worship and Holy Communion for the 214th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) celebrated the forming of Churches Uniting in Christ (CUiC), an organization of nine Protestant denominations that want to express more effectively their unity in Christ.

The order of worship was modeled after CUiC's inaugural service.

The worship leaders represented 11 different national and international denominations. A communion meditation was delivered by the Rev. John H. Thomas, president and general minister in the United Church of Christ.

For his address, "This is a Big Church," Thomas chose a text from Revelations 22: "Its gates will never be shut by day - and there shall be no night there."

He said the sermon title was based on an exclamation heard from a little girl during a children's sermon: "This is a big church!" He used the phrase to describe the breadth of CUiC.

"I visited the Forbidden City of China," Thomas told his listeners. "It was closed and dead, with walls all around. The Holy City (mentioned in Revelations) is a place of openness, according to the text" - its gates never closed, day or night. He challenged Christians to work together toward a church where "the walls will be breached, and doors are permanently open."

CUiC has chosen "Overcoming Racism" as its initial mission focus. The offering collected during the Communion service will be used in support of the organization's anti-racism activities.
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