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 ...

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