The Committee on Interchurch Relations (CIR) met Sept. 22-24 at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill. CIR is responsible for ecumenical and interfaith relations on behalf of the Church of the Brethren General Board and Annual Conference.
It was decided that an emphasis on interfaith conversations and understanding will highlight the CIR’s contributions to Annual Conference 2007. The speaker for the Ecumenical Luncheon will be Brethren minister and scholar Paul Numrich, professor of World Religion and Inter-Religious Dialogue for the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus, Ohio. A Tuesday evening insight session will be on the theme, “Can We Talk? A Muslim and an Evangelical Christian Come Together.”
In addition, the committee is working on a statement related to Muslim-Christian relations and the crusades.
The CIR took action to recommend to Annual Conference and the General Board that the Church of the Brethren become a full participant in Christian Churches Together in the USA (more information will appear with the Newsline Special Report from the General Board’s fall meetings).
CIR also put in place a plan to receive a report on the Church of the Brethren’s annual Cross-Cultural Consultation and Celebration.
The committee received reports that Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the General Board, was elected to the board of the US Conference of the World Council of Churches; and that Becky Ullom, General Board director of identity and relations, has been appointed proxy for National Council of Churches delegate David Whitten who has assumed staff responsibilities with the General Board in Nigeria.
In other reports, American Baptist Churches USA representative Rothang Chhangte reported on the work of that denomination, reports were received from the annual conferences of other Brethren groups, and from the CIR representation at the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church USA.
The committee will meet next by conference call for further planning and for conversation with Church of the Brethren delegates to the National Council of Churches.
Committee members are Ilexene Alphonse, James Eikenberry, Michael Hostetter, Robert Johansen, Rene Quintanilla, and Carolyn Schrock, who was unable to be present due to weather-related flight delays. Stan Noffsinger and Jon Kobel provided staff support from the General Board. Chhangte represented the American Baptist Churches USA for the second consecutive year.