ST. LOUIS (PNS) Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC), a body committed to expressing unity and combating racism together, will gather over the next days in St. Louis to explore issues of race and reconciliation.
The group, comprised of ten Christian communions, will meet January 28–30, primarily at St. Peter African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Worship, fellowship, and dialogue will punctuate the event, which is expected to set the tone and direction for the future of the organization.
“In an age in which so much threatens to divide us within society and within the church, it is significant that these ten churches are coming together to look at ways in which we can both more fully reconcile our churches and work together to heal the sinful division of race within our Christian communities and country,” said the Reverend Robina Winbush, CUIC president and director of ecumenical relations for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
“We do this in response to the gospel mandate and as a witness to the world,” she said.
The Reverend Waltrina Middleton, associate for national youth event programming with the United Church of Christ (UCC), will preach during opening worship. Her cousin was among those killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church (often referred to as Mother Emanuel) in Charleston, South Carolina, last year.
The gathering also will include focused work on topics such as “Racial and Social Justice Formation in Action,” “Youth and Young Adult Alliances,” “Signs of Reconciliation: Tools for Local CUIC Congregations to Come Together,” “Identifying and Addressing White Supremacy Groups with Christian Identity,” and “Changes in Ordained Ministries with CUIC Churches.”
This work is not new for CUIC, which has roots that go back to the 1960s with the formation of the Consultation on Church Union (COCU). The late Reverend Eugene Carson Blake, Stated Clerk of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, was one of the early pioneers of COCU, which addressed divides originating in the European context related to ecclesiology, sacraments, and ministry and divides particular to the United States context related to race.
CUIC 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 PC(USA), the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a partner in mission and dialogue.