SAVANNAH, Ga. — Leaders from over thirty church denominations and Christian organizations in the U.S. will gather in Savannah, Georgia for the annual Forum of Christian Churches Together (CCT) on October 3-6.
“In our current climate of polarization, the differences that exist among Christians in the U.S. can seem insurmountable and divisive,” Executive Director, Monica Schaap Pierce commented. “But through Christian Churches Together, faith leaders learn to better understand, love, and reconcile with each other even when disagreements persist.”
Christian Churches Together (CCT) is one of the broadest Christian fellowships in the United States. In Savannah, representatives from its five “families” of churches—Catholic, Orthodox, Historic Black, Evangelical/Pentecostal, and Mainline Protestant—will engage in theological learning, spiritual reflection, shared worship in local churches including the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church, and Christ Church Episcopal, and a prayer pilgrimage to the Historic Baptismal Trail in Riceboro, where as early as the 1840’s ancestors of local Gullah/Geechee communities baptized new members into the Christian faith.
Scholars in the field of religion, experts in Gullah/Geechee history, and a Yamasee chief will address the Forum’s theme: “Water that Unites and Water that Divides: Baptism and the Journey to Unity and Reconciliation.” Forum participants will deliberate how doctrinal interpretations and practices of baptism have been used as sources of healing, hurting, and dividing, and how water bodies such as the Atlantic Ocean have been both a source of life and death throughout history, while discerning through consensus their Christian response.
Formed in 2001, CCT’s intentional focus is on relationship-building and mutual understanding instead of theological agreement. This feature has created the ideal context for Christians from very diverse communities and often with very different convictions to come together in a unique and holy manner.
Among the many benefits of participating in CCT, the annual Forum serves as an opportunity to build personal relationships with other Christians, to come to a more nuanced understanding of the differences and commonalities between communions, to grow together in Christ, to deepen spiritual wisdom, to identify new possibilities for a shared witness, and to act as a unified voice in speaking to contemporary culture on issues of spirituality, life, justice, and peace.
One reason Savannah was chosen as the site for this year’s Forum is because of its rich Christian history—with churches ranging from the oldest Black church in the U.S. to the home base of John Wesley’s ministry during his time in the colonies. Christian Churches Together extends a special welcome to local leaders, in addition to official representatives of CCT’s member communions, observers, and guests, to join the opening worship of the Forum at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist on Tuesday, October 3 at 7:30 pm. More information is available at: ChristianChurchesTogether.org/2023-annual-forum.
Monica Schaap Pierce
Christian Churches Together
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