Proposed Union Of The Congregational, United Brethren, And Methodist Protestant Churches -- By: Lucien C. Warner

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 063:250 (Apr 1906)
Article: Proposed Union Of The Congregational, United Brethren, And Methodist Protestant Churches
Author: Lucien C. Warner

Proposed Union Of The Congregational, United Brethren, And Methodist Protestant Churches

Lucien C. Warner

Last February there met at Dayton, Ohio, a general council composed of over two hundred delegates officially appointed by the Congregational, United Brethren, and Methodist Protestant churches for the purpose of effecting an organic union of these bodies. This meeting is of especial interest to the members of the three bodies represented, but it is also of interest to others, as illustrating the tendency towards closer cooperation and union which exists among all Christian bodies.

The Dayton meeting was the result of negotiations which have been in progress for several years. Committees on union appointed by the national organizations of each of these denominations met in Pittsburgh in April, and again in July, 1903. After full conference and discussion, the outline of a plan of union was drawn up and submitted to the three national bodies. This plan was adopted by each body, and in accordance with its recommendations the recent Dayton General Council was held. The purpose of the Council as outlined in the report of the Joint Committee was as follows: —

“1. To present, so far as we possibly can, a realization of that unity which seems so greatly desired by Christian churches.

“2. To promote a better knowledge and a closer fellowship among the Christian bodies thus uniting.

“3. To secure the coordination and unification of the three bodies in evangelistic, educational, and missionary work.

“4. To adopt a plan by which the three bodies may be brought into coöordinate activity and organic unity, a unity representing some form of connectionalism.

“5. To prevent the unnecessary multiplication of churches; to unite weak churches of the same neighborhood wherever it is practicable, and to invite and encourage the affiliation with this council of other Christian bodies cherishing a kindred faith and purpose.”

The meeting at Dayton was remarkable in its directness of purpose, and harmony of action. Each delegate seemed to come to the Council with a personal desire for union, but with a fear that others might not share his feelings. With such a body definite action could not long be delayed. At the first session of the Council, a committee of sixty-three was appointed to work out the details of such a union. This committee divided itself into three subcommittees of twenty-one each,— one on Creedal Statement, one on Polity, and one on Vested Interests. The second day the Committee agreed upon its report with practical unanimity, and its action was reported to the General Council. A...

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