Feb. 19-20, 2005, weekend
Feb. 22, 2005

Feb. 21, 2005

(The picture to the right will make sense with tomorrow's blog. Really. But first, here's today's:)

The World Council of Churches (http://www.wcc-coe.org/) is a rather remarkable collection of Christian faith communities. It reflects the way the religion has atomized — starting with the Great Divorce of Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Roman Catholic) churches in 1054 and especially after the Sixteenth Century Protestant Reformation.

The council, which was formed in 1948, announced recently that it now has 347 member churches. The math got a little complicated because the council brought in eight new churches, which should have taken the membership total to 350. But at the same time five member churches merged into two joint memberships, so the total declined to 347.

Imagine that: 347 separate Christian denominations. And get this: The Roman Catholic Church is not a member of the council, though it works cooperatively with it.

The new council members, by the way, are: the Evangelical Baptist Church of Angola, the African Church (Nigeria), the Protestant Evangelical Church of Guinea, the Methodist Church of Indonesia (http://www.gbgm-umc.org/rdum-gmi/ ) (Indonesia, by the way, has the largest Muslim population of any in the world) and the Baptist Convention of Haiti.

A full list of council members is at http://www.wcc-coe.org/wcc/who/mch-e.html.

The Gospel of John records Jesus’ famous prayer in which he expresses his desire that his followers “all may be one.”

Despite continuing ecumenical efforts to achieve unity, an outsider could be excused for looking at the world of Christianity and saying, “Jesus, looks to me like things have been moving in the opposite direction.”

To read my weekly column in the Faith section of The Kansas City Star and my other work, go to www.kansascity.com and click on “FYI” on the left side of the opening page. Then click on “Faith” or on my name.

Another place to buy my book is from The Kansas City Store. Go to: http://www.thekansascitystore.com/ProductDetail.cfm?PID=261

Comments

Doug Worgul

Ah, but then an outsider wouldn't understand the criticla role demoninations play in bringing people to Christ by offering traditions and styles and expressions of worship and prayer and understanding that appeal to the diverse cultures and personalities and histories of all God's children.

My observation is that is is not usually demoninational differences that divide the Body of Christ.

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