In support of Churches Uniting in Christ and the group’s work in addressing racial justice, a delegation from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) attended the communion’s January plenary meeting in St. Louis. Comprised of 10 Christian churches, Churches Uniting in Christ is committed to expressing unity and combating racism. The ELCA is the group’s partner in mission and dialogue. The event, held primarily at St. Peter African Methodist Episcopal Church, focused on issues surrounding race and reconciliation.
ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, who joined the ELCA delegation to St. Louis, recalled that 50 years ago the group, known at the time as Consultation on Christian Unity, “had as a goal the recognition of each other’s ministry by the members’ churches. That was achieved at the meeting in St. Louis and is a significant step in the ecumenical journey,” said Eaton. “But for me, it was equally significant that Churches Uniting in Christ recommitted itself to work for racial reconciliation believing that the church has a word to speak to the culture.”
“As a partner in mission and dialogue, the ELCA has valued the exchange of gifts we have experienced with Churches Uniting in Christ,” said Kathryn Johnson, director, ELCA ecumenical and inter-religious relations. “At this meeting, we were grateful for the opportunity to join in the opening worship, where the gospel was preached in stirring and challenging ways, and a wide range of church traditions came together to be fed at Christ’s table.”
Member churches are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church.
“Gathering at a warmly hospitable AME (African Methodist Episcopal) congregation in St. Louis, we were able to have important conversations about the work of anti-racism to which we are called, as well as about mutual recognition of ministry and other matters,” said Johnson.