One Sunday soon, I’ll have news to share with my congregation. I’ll announce, with great fanfare, my denomination’s latest partnership agreement with another denomination. Or I’ll share the latest vote on full communion. And then I’ll look out into the pews and see members showing polite interest at best, or yawning. Church leaders may be disappointed in my congregation’s reaction to groundbreaking news in the ecumenical movement. But they need to understand my congregation.
Most of our members have been up and down the streets of New Haven, and have visited all the churches that we’re “in partnership with.” Then they chose a church, and landed in one that just happens to be in a denomination called the United Church of Christ.
Lillian Daniel is senior pastor at First Congregational Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a board member for Interfaith Worker Justice, and author of When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough (Jericho Books).