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Christian leaders to tackle US polarization

Christian Churches Together

INDIANAPOLIS — Christians from over twenty church denominations and Christian organizations in the U.S. will gather in Indianapolis—the “Crossroads of America”—for the annual Forum of Christian Churches Together (CCT) on October 4-7.

“The differences that exist among Christians in the U.S. might seem insurmountable in our current climate of polarization,” Executive Director, Monica Schaap Pierce commented, “but Christian Churches Together is proof that God’s Spirit is moving, bringing together seasoned church leaders, scholars, and students—from historic denominations to charismatic movements, from immigrant churches to mega-churches—to bear witness to the reconciling love of Jesus.”

Christian Churches Together (CCT) is one of the broadest Christian fellowships in the United States. In Indianapolis, representatives from its five “families” of churches—Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Historic Black, Evangelical/Pentecostal, and Mainline Protestant—will engage in theological learning, spiritual reflection, shared worship in local churches including Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral and the Greater Gethsemane Baptist Church, and a prayer pilgrimage from Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis to the historic Interchurch Center, which has been an epicenter for ecumenical relations for the past century.

Keynote addresses from experts in the field of religion, including Religion News Service’s Adelle Banks and the President of Sojourners, Adam Russell Taylor, will address the Forum’s timely theme: “Who does Jesus Call our Christian Churches to be in a Polarized Society?” Likewise, representatives from the five “families” will address the question from their respective traditions and perspectives, with additional ecumenical dialogue in large and small group settings.

Formed in 2001, CCT’s intentional focus is on relationship-building and mutual understanding instead of theological consensus-building. This feature has created the ideal context for Christians from very diverse communities and often with very different convictions to come together in a unique and holy manner.

The model of receptive ecumenism is foundational to CCT’s work, which means that at the CCT table, participants approach each other with humility, with the goal of receiving as a gift a better understanding of each other’s theologies, histories, missions, and practices. This is consonant with CCT’s goal of increasing the religious literacy of Christians in the U.S. The CCT process (based on Loving Relationships, Learning Theologically and Leading Actions) is a way for CCT members to commit to working together in discernment to engage in steps that lead to Beloved Community.

Among the many benefits of participating in CCT, the annual Forum serves as an opportunity to build personal relationships with other Christians, to come to a more nuanced understanding of the differences and commonalities between communions, to grow together in Christ, to deepen spiritual wisdom, to identify new possibilities for a shared witness, and to act as a unified voice in speaking to contemporary culture on issues of spirituality, life, justice, and peace.

One reason Indianapolis was chosen as the site for this year’s Forum is that it not only has a long history of ecumenical cooperation, but it also serves as the “Crossroads of American Christianity” today, with over a dozen Christian institutions of higher education and several denominations headquartered there. Christian Churches Together therefore extends a special welcome to local leaders in addition to official representatives of CCT’s member communions, observers, and guests, with ecumenical worship services and the pilgrimage of prayer (beginning at Monument Circle at 2:00 PM on October 5) open to the public. More information is available at: christianchurchestogether.org/annual-forum.

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Contact:
Monica Schaap Pierce
Christian Churches Together
614-530-0481
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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