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Christians experience unity through relationship rather than agreement, speaker says

"We are blood kin; the blood of Christ makes it so"

July 7, 2010

Photo of a congregation seated in front of a colorful stained glass window

The stained glass windows at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Minneapolis, MN, provide a backdrop for worship at the Ecumenical Worship Service on Wednesday. —Photo by Danny Bolin.

MINNEAPOLIS

Christian unity is not rooted in agreement or disagreement but in the kinship believers experience in Jesus Christ, a speaker said at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s 219th General Assembly (2010).

At an ecumenical worship service held Wednesday, the Rev. Peg Chemberlin, executive director of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., said, “If you praise our Lord, if you call yourself Christian, if you have been baptized in the waters of baptism, then you are part of one body, and we are family.”

“It’s not anything we do or do not do,” she continued. “Like families of origin, we associate with each other not because we like each other, although we do sometimes,” she said, drawing laughter from the congregation. “We come together because we are related.”

The Moravian Church minister said she senses the world is “watching, waiting and yearning for a new vision of community.” This community, she explained, is not based on “sameness or agreement.” Instead, she said, the community being sought is “based on a transcendent relationship in the midst of our diversity.”

In extending his welcome to worshipers at Westminster Presbyterian Church, former Vice President Walter Mondale, a member of the congregation, spoke of the commitment of the church to welcome diverse people.

When the world, nation and/or community experience crisis, people of various faith traditions come to the downtown church to pray, Mondale said.