An American Church That Might Have Been (via Keith Watkins Historian)

The Disciples have long been at the forefront of the ecumenical movement. While we weren’t officially present on the day that what became the Consultation on Christian Union in 1960, we were quickly a part of the effort.  Keith Watkins has begun a series of posts at his blog that is worth attending to. On that Sunday in 1960, at Grace Cathedral (a church, by the way, that my parents were members at the time), Eugene Carson Blake, the leader of the United Presbyterian Church (the northern branch that would later form part of the PCUSA) and James Pike, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Northern California, called on the churches to join together as one body.

As a community of Disciples, readers of [D]mergent might wish to keep watch over this series.


An American Church That Might Have Been On Sunday December 4, 1960, a sermon preached in San Francisco seized the imagination of people across the United States and much of the English-speaking world. Two of the highest profile Christian leaders in the nation—Eugene Carson Blake, Stated Clerk of the United Presbyterian Church, and James A. Pike, widely-known Episcopal bishop—conducted worship at Grace Episcopal Cathedral high atop Nob Hill. As bishop of the Diocese of San Francisco, Pi … Read More

via Keith Watkins Historian


2 thoughts on “An American Church That Might Have Been (via Keith Watkins Historian)

  1. Bob, thank you for encouraging Disciples to read the series on COCU. I have long thought that the consensus about the faith, form, and worship of the church that emerged in COCU’s earlier period represented the same intention that motivated Disciples during the years when Alexander Campbell was our premier theologian. In both periods of time, the intention was to develop a generic form of Christianity, the primary entity without proprietary brand (denominational) variations. One of my disappointments was that Disciples as a whole showed so little interest. We were too intent on celebrating those things that distinguished us from the others, the result being that we failed to focus on those things that bound us together.

    I have posted a second column about COCU, this one calling attention to “An Order of Worship,” published in 1968. I have also filed in the resources section of my blog a 15-page version of that liturgy and commentary that was prepared for the recent Turner Lectures in Yakima, WA, sponsored each year by Disciples in the Northwest Region. Keith

  2. Keith,

    Thank you for the history lesson. It is nice to know that the original motives for Disciples still live and keep reemerging.

    By not being directly connected to the events of Sunday, December 4, 1960, I have none of the 50-year frustrations, exasperations, and weariness. I still think it is possible for the churches and even the long-established major religions to unify.

    I will offer my voice this Sunday, October 31, 2010 with a call for REFORMATION II. This time, instead of schism, maybe there can be unification.

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