Jump directly to the content

Methodists Reach Across Historic Racial Boundaries with Communion Pact

Pact unites largely white United Methodist Church with five historically black denominations.

The predominantly white United Methodist Church and five historically black denominations – after more than a decade of discussions – have entered a full communion agreement.

With an overwhelming vote on April 30 at the UMC General Conference, the leaders of the denominations agreed to recognize each other's churches, share sacraments, and affirm their clergy and ministries.

The move comes a dozen years after the UMC held a repentance ceremony and apologized to African-Americans for racist policies that led to the creation of separate African-American churches. Some historic black denominations date to the 1700s, started by founders who no longer wanted to be relegated to the balconies of Methodist congregations.

Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Senior Bishop Thomas Hoyt Jr., a longtime ecumenist, was among the leaders celebrating the agreement this week, United Methodist News Service reported.

"To be in full communion is to be related to one of the great churches of American society and the world," he said.

United Methodist Bishop Alfred Norris cautioned against considering the new relationship as his larger denomination overwhelming the smaller black church groups.

"In this case," he said, "the big fish and the little fish will be swimming together."

The other denominations, which preceded the United Methodist Church in agreeing to full communion, are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, African Union Methodist Protestant Church, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and Union American Methodist Episcopal Church.

Related Topics:None
Posted:May 7, 2012 at 2:57PM
Gleanings aggregates what others are reporting. Learn more.
Recent Posts
Sorry Again, John 3:16: The World's 10 Most Popular Bible Verses of 2014
YouVersion studies which scriptures 164 million users shared and remembered most this year.
Does the Gospel Mandate Racial Reconciliation? White Pastors Agree More Than Black Pastors
Recent research informs today's A Time To Speak conference, where Bryan Loritts, John Piper, Matt Chandler, and others will discuss race.
Do They Know It's Christmas in Sierra Leone? Ebola Cancels Celebrations
Deadly disease brings a bit more accuracy to much-maligned Band Aid advocacy song.
Kony 2012's Invisible Children Makes Major Cuts for One Final Year Fighting the LRA
'Heavy-hearted' but 'incredibly proud,' advocacy group plans to shutter most operations by end of 2015.
Christianity Today
Methodists Reach Across Historic Racial Boundaries with Communion ...