With a strong vote (918-48), the Churchwide Assembly said "yes" to Christian Churches Together, an embryonic ecumenical organization. Participants may include the Roman Catholic Church as well as Orthodox, Evangelical, Pentecostal churches, and the mainline Protestant churches and historic black churches active in the National Council of Churches of Christ.
The new group won't be organized until 25 church bodies — at least one from each of these five groups — vote to join, perhaps by summer 2004.
"You have been a leader in the past," Randall R. Lee told the assembly. Lee, director of the ELCA Department for Ecumenical Affairs, said the organization isn't seeking full communion but rather looking to represent unity in Christ.
The goal isn't to carry out programs together but "to know one another, to reflect on theological issues and public policy issues," said Jon Enslin, former interim associate director for the ecumenical unit.
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