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Ecumenical Relations

Why Ecumenism

 

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at all levels seeks to manifest more visibly the unity of the body of Christ and will be open to opportunities for conversation, cooperation, and action with other ecclesiastical groups. Since the nineteenth century, American Presbyterians have been among the founders, leaders, and principle supporters of global and national ecumenical bodies. Even before Presbyterian leadership in the ecumenical involvement in the United States, Presbyterians were confessing belief in “the holy catholic church” when affirming their faith by reciting the Apostle’s Creed. The understanding of ourselves as part of the One church with Jesus Christ as its head has driven Presbyterians to be a sign of the unity we have in Christ.

In 2007, the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations undertook an Ecumenical Consultation to study the history of PCUSA ecumenical involvement and the many documents that inform this involvement. The Ecumenical Stance of the Presbyterian Church was adopted by the 218th General Assembly (2008) and is guided by Scripture, Confessions, the Book of Order, and our historical participation in ecumenical work. The Stance was meant to expand the Ecumenical Vision adopted by the General Assembly in 2000.

The 220th General Assembly (2012) sought to further the ecumenical commitment of the church by resolving to remind Presbyterians involved in ecumenical delegations of the importance of the Lund Principle. The Lund Principle was developed at an international ecumenical conference in Sweden in 1952. The principle simply asks: “Should not the Churches act together in all matters except those in which deep differences of conviction compel them to act separately?” It serves as a guidepost for PCUSA in ecumenical relations and reminds us of our unity in Christ and commitment to make such unity visible.

There are many ecumenical and interfaith resources available at: http://store.pcusa.org/Browse-Categories/Ecumenical-Interfaith-Resources.

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