Catholic Church in US joins broad fellowship of Christian churches

.- The Catholic Church in the U.S. has joined national leaders from four other Christian confessions — Evangelical/Pentecostal, Historic Protestant, Historic Racial/Ethnic and Orthodox — to form the broadest Christian fellowship in the country.

The mission of Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT) is to “enable churches and Christian organizations to grow closer together in Christ in order to strengthen [their] Christian witness in the world.”

It gives priority to prayer and worship, to building relationships of trust, and to discerning societal challenges that need to be addressed for more faithful Christian witness.

Thirty-four churches and national Christian organizations, representing over 100 million Americans, belong to the fellowship.

“The Catholic Church is deeply committed, as integral to her mission, to the full, visible communion of all Christians,” said Bishop Stephen Blaire, chairman of the U.S. Catholic bishops’ Committee for Ecumenical Relations and Interreligious Affairs.

“Participation in Christian Churches Together is an important step forward in the process towards Christian unity that Jesus Christ wills for us,” he said in an April 7 press release.

The U.S. Catholic bishops voted to participate in CCT in November 2004. They selected Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore, Bishop Blaire, and Fr. Ronald Roberson, CSP, to serve on the CCT Steering Committee. Sr. Ana María Pineda, RSM, professor at Santa Clara University, is an at-large member. Cardinal Keeler serves as one of the CCT’s five presidents.

The vision of CCT began when a diverse group of Christian leaders gathered in 2001 and expressed a longing for an expanded Christian conversation. At the end of that meeting, which was hosted by Cardinal Keeler, the group expressed the need for a new ecumenical forum in the U.S.

At a March 28-31 meeting near Atlanta, where the fellowship was finally formed, the group focused on the issue of poverty in the U.S. They concluded that overcoming poverty is “central to the mission of the Church and essential to our unity in Christ,” and committed to work together to address the causes of poverty.

For more information, go to: www.christianchurchestogether.org

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