United Methodist Interfaith Body Sets Global Priorities

July 5, 2007

Author: Linda Bloom

Source: United Methodist News Service


The United Methodist Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns wants to help the denomination put its interfaith and ecumenical agenda in context.

That means explaining how hard it is to separate the church in the United States from history, culture and government, according to the Rev. Larry Pickens, the commission's chief executive.

"The church, in many ways, has to overcome the legacy of what it means to be a citizen of the United States and, with that, how this country is viewed internationally," he told United Methodist News Service in a July 3 interview.

One question to ponder, for example, is how the U.S. "war on terror" impacts interfaith relations and the opportunity for dialogue. At the same time, Pickens said, it is important for United Methodists to struggle with "what it is that they want in these dialogues."

Interfaith dialogue was one of the priorities established by the commission for the denomination's 2009-2012 quadrennium during its June 25-30 annual meeting in Chicago.

Other priorities include promoting ecumenical formation; continuing dialogue about the church's global nature; carrying out the commission's mandates from General Conference, the denomination's top legislative body; and developing ecumenical and interfaith resource materials.