Church Unity Advocates Admit Their 'Phobias'

Article excerpt

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 secretariat and an effort to get the word out about its existence.

About 50 forum leaders, meeting November 8-11 in New Delhi, continued to emphasize the development of personal trust among Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Pentecostal leaders of all stripes, according to spokesperson Wesley Granberg-Michaelson of the Reformed Church in America.

The forum, which held its first full gathering in Nairobi in late 2007, hopes to develop a pan-Christian witness to the world by stressing essential beliefs and moral examples rather than by taking stances on social issues.

The National and World church councils at times in their histories have irked member communions with their moral-political stands and programs. But they have avoided several topics, such as abortion and homosexuality, because of differences of opinion among their denominations.

An unusual panel November 12 at the NCC annual meeting in Denver illustrated that participating denominations still harbor ecumenical phobias after 100 years, reported NCC publicist Philip E. …