As the church’s growth in the global South rapidly and radically reshapes the profile of world Chris tianity, separation between the major streams and families of faith is growing deeper every day. Living Chris tian traditions remain isolated from one another at a time when the demonstrated unity of Christian fellowship is necessary for a credible witness.
Though they’re not merging, the nation’s two largest mainline Protestant denominations have agreed to share ministers and resources. The full-communion agreement, which was approved at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s biennial assembly in Minneapolis, connects the 4.6 million–member ELCA with the United Methodist Church, which has 11 million members.
In the nearly 500 years since the Church of England split with the Roman Catholic Church, a fair number of converts have crossed from one church to the other. Still, the path can be rocky, as Alberto Cutié—the most recent high-profile convert—discovered on May 28 when he left Catholicism to join the Episcopal Church.
In recent months, the National Council of Churches observed its 100th anniversary, the World Council of Churches celebrated its 60th birthday, and the new, widest-ever group, called the Global Christian Forum, laid plans for a second international conclave in 2011 with a strengthened secretar- iat and an effort to get the word out about its existence.
An ecumenical group of Christian denominations that was determined to address racism inside and outside the church is facing an uncertain future after officials of two of its three black member churches stopped attending its meetings.
While mainline Protestants and some other non-Catholics are upset over a Vatican statement asserting that the Catholic Church is the only valid church, a number of ecumenical leaders mostly shrugged, saying the papal-endorsed words are nothing new.