George Lindbeck’s thoughtful reflections in this issue on the state of ecumenism set me to ruminating on my own ecumenical experience. It also reminded me that this journal has been ecumenically minded from its inception. For a time it even described itself as an “ecumenical weekly” (and before that as an “undenominational weekly”).
The launching of a new group that aims to bring Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians in the U.S. together for the first time has been postponed because the effort has received little interest from black churches, leaders said.
United Methodists have taken the first step toward full communion with Episcopalians and most Lutherans after their bishops approved an agreement to share the Eucharist, with members of the two other denominations.
The church council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has recommended that its churchwide assembly in August approve interim sharing of the Eucharist between the ELCA and the United Methodist Church. The ELCA bishops earlier endorsed the step, which follows years of Lutheran–United Methodist dialogues.
When Pope Benedict XVI announced in his first sermon that he has a “primary commitment to work without sparing energies for the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all the followers of Christ,” many expressed surprise.
The fledgling Christian Churches Together—a painstakingly crafted amalgam of U.S. mainline Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, racial/ethnic and evangelical/Pentecostal churches—will organize formally behind closed doors early in June and publicly celebrate the milestone in September.
A fifth Methodist body has joined an ongoing effort to foster cooperation among black and white Methodists. The little-known Union American Methodist Episcopal Church joined the Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation and Union during the commission’s November 19-21 meeting in Dallas, the United Methodist News Service reported.
With the U.S. leaders of mainline Presbyterian and Lutheran denominations picked recently as presidents of their respective worldwide Protestant families of churches, the top three ecumenical officials in Geneva—all of them African clergy—will have unprecedented opportunities for communication between the most powerful nation and a continent boasting Christianity’s most dynamic growth.