Two global church bodies representing tens of millions of Christians are looking forward to closer ties in their "pursuit of Christian unity."
World Alliance of Reformed Churches and Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council discussed in a recent meeting the development of a comprehensive partnership in light of plans for WARC to merge with the Reformed Ecumenical Council in 2010 to form the World Communion of Reformed Churches.
Following the Nashville meeting last month, the DECC Reference Committee agreed to ask its member churches to consider a proposal that the Council become an associate member of WCRC.
"This gathering marked an important moment for DECC in deepening the partnership we have shared with WARC since 1987, now to include the Reformed Ecumenical Council," said Robert Welsh, general secretary of DECC, according to WARC.
"It is significant that several united churches around the world are already members of both bodies and have been a voice encouraging us to pursue closer relationships in the future."
DECC is a council of 19 Disciples of Christ, Churches of Christ and United churches that was established in 1979 to enable member churches to consult with each other about issues of faith, witness and unity.
WARC has 75 million members in 218 churches across 108 countries, while the REC has 12 million members in 40 churches across 25 counties.
Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the WARC, described the Nashville meeting as marking a "potentially significant" step in the pursuit of Christian unity.
"We welcome this important move," he said.
The WARC and DECC also recommended at the meeting that:
- the WARC and REC submit the draft WCRC constitution to DECC in order to seek comments to be considered for the final version
- the WARC and DECC share reports of the current status of their separate dialogues with the Roman Catholic Church, as well as their ideas for the future of these talks
- the WARC share its plans for marking the John Calvin Jubilee in 2009 so that the DECC can consider participating
- the WARC share its and WCRC's ideas on spiritual renewal so that DECC can consider participating in such efforts