After lengthy discussion, the Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relationships on Monday approved with amendment a proposed policy on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s "interreligious stance" to be sent to the 221st General Assembly (2014).
Authors called it a "future-oriented" document that would "empower Presbyterians to draw on the open-mindedness of our Reformed faith.”
The document affirms the denomination’s commitment “to work for the common good in society together with people of other faiths and interreligious bodies.” It also recommends that the PC (U.S.A.) Book of Order be amended “to include a rationale for interfaith relations.”
Rabbi Brant Rosen, one of many speaking in favor of the statement during an open hearing on Monday, called it incredibly important.
“Our most meaningful moments come with our willingness to explore the tension points,” he said. “As people of faith, our responsibility is to help repair our broken world”
One speaker called the statement “a beautifully written roadmap to unity.”
The committee heard from Christine Hong, associate for interfaith relations in the PC (USA)’s office of Theology and Worship. Hong said the statement is useful for Presbyterians at every level of the church.
“It offers guidance for the practical and everyday ways we engage with people of different faiths and religious traditions in our communities,” she said.
In other business, the committee also
- accepted a report on the dialogue between the PC (USA) and Seventh Day Adventists,
- accepted a report on the dialogue between the PC (USA) and the Episcopal Church,
- accepted a report on the Christian-Muslim dialogue, and
- unanimously recommended that the Assembly invite the following churches to send ecumenical advisory delegates to the 222nd General Assembly (2016): International – Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, Presbyterian Church of Kinshasa, hurch of Bangladesh, church partner in Sri Lanka, Methodist Church in Bolivia, Guyana Presbyterian Church, Presbyterian Church in Grenada, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia and Other States, and Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt (Synod of the Nile), United States and/or Canada – Orthodox Church in America, International Council of Community Churches, Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and American Baptist Churches, USA.