In 2016, The United Church of Canada and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) began conversations about how to deepen the partnership between the two communions in North America and beyond. The United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ in the USA had reached a “full communion” agreement the year before that included Global Ministries, and the leaders of the Disciples and The United Church of Canada thought the time was right to “close the triangle” by entering into full communion relationship between the two churches.
This discussion was not a brand-new idea. There was a formal conversation between the Canadian Disciples and The United Church of Canada from the 1960s through 1980s. There are already dually-affiliated Disciples/United Church of Canada congregations. Also, there has been a closer partnership between the Canadian region and the United Church to strengthen local ministries.
This newly-forming full communion relationship with The United Church of Canada will be the first attempt since the Disciples and the United Church of Christ in the USA entered into the full communion relationship in 1989. Through a series of conversations for the past two years, the Disciples and the United Church have also adopted these five marks as the indications of a true full communion relationship: 1) common confession of Christ; 2) mutual recognition of members; 3) common celebration of the Lord’s Supper; 4) mutual recognition of ordained ministry; and 5) common commitment to mission. These core partnerships could lead to additional educational and network opportunities and common works for social justices as the relationship grows.
The 2019 General Board will be reviewing a business item on this subject at its mid-winter meeting with the potential for a resolution to come to the summer General Assembly. You can read more detailed information on the Council on Christian Unity website or contact the Council on Christian Unity president, Rev. Paul S. Tche.