Chicago Statement

An Invitation to a Journey, April 6, 2002, Chicago, Illinois

As Evangelical, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Mainline Protestant and Roman Catholic church leaders, we write to all Christians in the United States to share our longing for an expanded Christian conversation in our nation. In Baltimore on Sept 7 – 8, 2001, we met to pray, to listen and to seek the guidance of God on whether all who confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the scriptures can talk together about how to share with the world our common confession of Jesus Christ. We continued this prayerful conversation in Chicago on April 4 – 6 and sensed the Holy Spirit leading us to new possibilities.

We lament that we are divided and that our divisions too often result in distrust, misunderstandings, fear and even hostility between us. We long for the broken body of Christ made whole, where unity can be celebrated in the midst of our diversity.

We lament our often diffuse and diminished voice on matters critical to the gospel in our society. We long for a more common witness, vision and mission.

We lament how our lack of faithfulness to each other has led to a lack of effectiveness on crucial issues of human dignity and social justice. We long to strengthen the prophetic public voice of the Christian community in America.

We lament that none of our current organizations represents the full spectrum of Christians in the United States. We long for a place, where our differences could be better understood and our commonalities better affirmed.

In Chicago, we began to see a vision of a new life together. This vision has led us to provisionally call ourselves “Christian Churches Together in the USA” With excitement we began to sketch the outlines of a new level of relationship and action that offer a common witness for Christ to the world. This common witness will be visible through our:

  • Celebrating a common confession of faith in the Triune God

  • Seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit through biblical, spiritual and theological reflection

  • Engaging in common prayer

  • Speaking to society with a common voice

  • Promoting the common good of society

  • Fostering faithful evangelism

  • Seeking reconciliation by affirming our commonalities and understanding our differences

  • Building a community of fellowship and mutual support

We invite all churches who confess Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the scriptures to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit to join us on this journey. We have only just begun to explore how to walk together. The questions for conversation, the ways to talk together and the paths to take all remain to be fleshed out by those whom, we trust, will join us on this difficult and essential journey of faith and obedience. We cannot know the details of the way, but we long to allow the Holy Spirit to answer our Lord’s prayer to the Father, “that they may all be one . . . so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17: 21

Appendix: Draft Basis Statement
Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A. gathers together those churches and Christian communities which, acknowledging God’s revelation in Christ, confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior according to the Scripture, and in obedience to God’s will and in the power of the Holy Spirit commit themselves to seek a deepening of their communion with Christ and with one another; to fulfill their mission to proclaim the Gospel by common witness and service in the world for the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Revised May 21, 2002