By Wendy McFadden
At the 10th annual convocation of Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT), held in early 2016 in Arlington, Va., member churches and organizations deepened their work on racism and other issues of common concern.
Well-known anti-apartheid leader Allan Boesak gave an insider’s critique of the truth and reconciliation process in South Africa, and applied that to the struggle for racial reconciliation in the US. He drew a sharp distinction between political reconciliation, which he said has proven to be short-lived, and the Christ-centered reconciliation that is at the heart of Christianity.
“If we say ‘justice’ we must say ‘Jesus.’ If we say ‘Jesus’ we must say ‘justice,’” Boesak insisted. Describing reconciliation as “holy ground,” he said it must be “real, radical, and revolutionary.”
St. Louis pastor and activist Michelle Higgins brought a Christian view of Black Lives Matter, which she described as a “pro-life” movement. Lamenting the dehumanizing practices facing people of color, she urged churches “to tell the truth about their own history so that they might be a united front to tell God’s story in the world.” This should come naturally for Christians, she pointed out: “As a body of believers, we already participate in an alternative history. Sunday school is an alternative institution.”
At this anniversary meeting, participants reviewed the history of CCT and furthered understanding of the themes that have been examined over the past decade. In addition to race, sessions focused on poverty, immigration, and how to witness to the gospel respectfully in a multi-religious world.
Organized in 2006, Christian Churches Together is composed of 38 churches and national organizations and represents the broadest range of Christians in the country. The members are committed to meeting together for fellowship, worship, and joint efforts on issues crucial to Christian witness in the US.
-- Wendy McFadden, publisher of Brethren Press, has completed eight years on the CCT steering committee, the last three as president of the Historic Protestant family. The other four families are Catholic, Evangelical/Pentecostal, Historic Black, and Orthodox.