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April 03, 2007

UM and Christian Churches Together

I just received an email from Dr. Riley Case in which he expressed a concern that we United Methodist practice a selective ecumenism based on his understanding of our decision to not join the new Christian Churches Together. Usually I stay out of this kind of church argument but on this issue I disagree with Dr. Case’s interpretation; because I have been apart of this dialogue. I have just returned from a meeting of the Pan Methodist Bishops (this includes African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Christian Methodist Episcopal, United Methodist bishops). This issue was discussed in great detail in a small group meeting and later in our plenary. Our Historically Black Methodist Bishops were very adamant that we (United Methodist) not join Christian Churches Together because they have some serious concerns. One of the concerns is that this group CCT was formed around the same time that Bishop Thomas Hoyt of the Christian Methodist Episcopal became the president of the National Council of Churches and believed we should be supportive of his presidency. Secondly, they expressed grave concern about the direction of CCT and preferred to wait until this is clear.
Thirdly, CCT offers denomination many membership options. Many of the Pentecostals and others have taken advantage of these options as we have. I realize that many desire to make life a simple issue of black and white but even the CCT recognized that there would be times that the various denominations would have different reactions to whatever CCT was engaged in and thought it best to have the various denominations at the table even when they disagree.

Posted by Bishop at April 3, 2007 04:11 PM


Your post has had me poking around the Internet searching for information about the CCT. I take it that it is seen by some as a conservative alternative to the NCC? Is this the direction that has caused "grave concern"?

Posted by: John at April 13, 2007 06:56 AM

According to the CCT website, United Methodists are a part of the member churches. It is this type of thing which causes questions to be asked from within the church as to what is going on with the denomination as a whole, and becomes a divisive distraction.
Perhaps dissmeninating information about the CCT, such as their belief/vision/value statements would allow us to know what goals they have, and why UM's should or should not be supportive of involvement.
Whether or not the UM Church supports this organization will not win one soul for Christ through the local church...and after all, is that not why we exist?

Posted by: Gregg Bostick at April 4, 2007 10:57 AM