Racism is a church-dividing issue in the United States. Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC), a historic partnership among ten communions seeking to give expression to our unity in Christ, strives to reconcile these divisions and name the sin of racism both within our churches and within our nation.

CUIC’s coordinating council met Oct. 11 at the Lutheran Center here to work on the priorities approved at the CUIC plenary gathering in Fort Lauderdale in January 2011. The CUIC member communions recommitted themselves to concrete ways to address the issues of unity and racial justice.  The CUIC Coordinating Council prioritized work on the following initiatives:

  • to gather and distribute liturgical and educational resources for ecumenical observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2012;
  • to identify explicit and implicit racism as we enter the 2012 election season, and call on candidates and elected officials to commit to civil and honest discourse about race during the election cycle;
  • to name the systemic racism in our country's historic foreign policies, especially in relation to Haiti, that have hindered rebuilding in that country; and
  • to recommit to the work  of recognizing and sharing the ordained ministries of one another’s churches, especially acknowledging racism as one source of division.

The Rev. Robina Winbush, ecumenical officer of the Presbyterian Church (USA), was elected president of CUIC, and Sister Jacqueline Dupont Walker, a lay member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, vice-president. The Rev. Jean Hawxhurst, representing the United Methodist Church, will serve as secretary, and the Rev. Robert Welsh, ecumenical officer of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), will serve as treasurer.

The PC(USA) was also represented at the CUIC meeting by Elder James Tse of New York City.

 In reviewing the work of the Coordinating Council during its meeting, Winbush said, “In this season of American politics, where racism is subtle but pervasive, the churches of CUIC depend on one another even more to speak boldly against racism in our public life and our churches. We trust that the resources and initiatives of CUIC will help local churches, ecumenical organizations, and denominations to be a unified and prophetic Christian witness to reconciliation in a fractured world.”

In addition to the PC(USA), member communions in CUIC are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has also participated in CUIC as a “partner in mission and ministry.”