INDIANAPOLIS — Leaders from over twenty Christian denominations and organizations have released a prayer for U.S. churches as part of their “leading action” coming out of the annual Forum of Christian Churches Together (CCT).
Representatives from CCT’s five “families” of churches—Catholic, Orthodox, Historic Black, Evangelical/Pentecostal, and Mainline Protestant—met in Indianapolis in October for the CCT Forum, where they engaged in shared worship, a prayer pilgrimage, spiritual reflection, and theological learning from leading voices in Christianity, including Gloria Gaither, Adam Taylor from Sojourners, and Adelle Banks from Religion New Service. In addition to being a public witness to the reconciling love of Christ in the city of Indianapolis, worshiping in local churches and Christian centers and making a public pilgrimage, faith leaders adopted (by consensus) a prayer, which represents the “leading action” that comes out of this Forum. The prayer conveys some of the wisdom, lamentations, and hopes raised during the Forum, with the closing of the prayer left open for each community to end in its own way.
Responding to the divisions in American society and the biblical call to Christian unity, the prayer calls upon the Holy Spirit to “remove the divisions and historical inequities between Christians and in society.” Concerns around racial inequities and divisions of all kinds prompted vigorous, and sometimes contentious, dialogue as the CCT leaders crafted the document. It was out of this difficult conversation that the participants discerned the need for supplication, asking God to help them ensure that “each voice in our churches be heard, that we might be a balm for suffering, a bridge from brokenness to life abundant, a shining beacon of hope, and a sign raised high among the nations and the world.” For the full text of the prayer, please visit christianchurchestogether.org/annual-forum.
Formed in 2001, CCT’s primary focus is on relationship-building and mutual understanding rather than theological agreement. 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. 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.
In a letter accompanying the prayer released from this year’s Forum, the Presidents of CCT expressed their hope “that it will be shared widely among the body of Christ and that you will add your own laments and hopes to ours through the act of speaking aloud and knotting together written prayers,” as participants did during the pilgrimage of prayer. Resources to guide faith leaders through this ritual are available by request by sending an email to CCT’s executive director, Monica Schaap Pierce, at [email protected] .
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