Thursday, November 11, 2010

Community Of Christ Joins National Council Of Churches During Its 2010 Centennial Gathering In New Orleans

The National Council of Churches wrapped up its three-day 2010 Centennial Gathering in New Orleans by welcoming a new member -- the Community of Christ. The account of this development is excerpted from the NCCUSA website:

The Community of Christ, once known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was enthusiastically recommended for membership by the Membership and Ecclesial Relations Committee.

NCC General Secretary Michael Kinnamon welcomed the church's application to membership.

"They bring gifts for this whole body," Kinnamon told the delegates. "They have experience as a church that is being marginalized and out of that comes a witness that they share to our own benefit. I have experienced in this church the power of the Holy Spirit to transform a church in the direction of ecumenical commitment but now understands its own need to grow in love and faith to the common God we all serve."

Voting as communions and individual delegates, the church was unanimously accepted into membership.

After the vote, the Rev. Dr. Dale E. Luffman, ecumenical and interfaith officer for the church, expressed his thanks.

"We’re all having a hard time holding Back the emotion because our hearts are all filled with gratitude for the grace and compassion of this body," Luffman said. "We are here because of you and because the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and at work in your lives and at work in God’s world. We know that our witness is informed by your witness, and we hope that our witness will be in partnership with yours. We join with you as brothers and sisters -- saying simply, thanks be to God."

According to the Community of Christ, Rev. Luffman was accompanied to the NCC gathering by President Becky Savage (a member of the First Presidency), and Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer Gail Mengel. The Community of Christ actually began its overture towards the NCC during their 1980 World Conference, when delegates approved World Conference Resolution (WCR) 1157 Participation in Interdenominational Christian Ministries. Later legislation included 1992 approval of WCR 1222 Interfaith Organizations, and 2002 approval of WCR 1275 Ecumenical/Interfaith Memberships. The Community of Christ did not make any doctrinal changes expressly for the purpose of securing NCC membership.

Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for ecumenical cooperation among Christians in the United States. The NCC's member faith groups — from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches — include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation. A list of churches who are members of the NCC is available HERE. Conspicuous by their absence from the list are the Southern Baptist Convention and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most of the constituent churches are considered moderate to progressive; the NCC has incurred some criticism in the past for repeatedly tilting towards the left.

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