GC43 Enthusiastically Supports Full Communion with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Full communion with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada was strongly approved at the 43rd General Council on Wednesday, July 25, with 98 percent of commissioners voting in favour of the proposals. There was cheerful applause when the vote was announced.
“Full communion with the United Church means acknowledging a common confession of Jesus Christ. It means there is enough commonality that we can work closely together,” says the Rev. Terri Hord Owens, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. “Full communion recognizes that there are differences, but what we share is common is greater.”
The Rev. Hord Owens adds, “This communion shows the world that Christianity can work together despite differences among denominations. The United Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will work together on an implementation plan of the full communion. An important component will be mutual recognition of clergy.”
Like The United Church of Canada, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is also in full communion with the United Church of Christ.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) formally became a denomination 50 years ago. The Rev. Hord Owens is the first African American woman to lead the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the first Black woman to lead a mainline Protestant denomination in the United States. Comparing her role to the top leadership positions in the United Church General Council Office, she serves as the equivalent of both the Moderator and General Secretary.
Earlier this week, the Rev. Dan Hayward, Chair of The United Church of Canada’s Theology and Inter-Church Inter-Faith Committee, spoke with GC43 reporter Lauren Hodgson about full communion.
Discussions about this full communion began about two years ago, says Gail Allan, Coordinator, Ecumenical, Interchurch and Interfaith Relations with the United Church’s General Council Office. “The decision today brings the United Church into a deeper relationship that will enable us to grow in mission and ministry together, and be more creative and efficient in how we work toward God’s mission.”