In 1989, the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) approved a historic partnership of full communion. The two churches proclaimed mutual recognition of their sacraments and ordained ministry. Though remaining two distinct denominations, the UCC and Disciples have committed through their partnership to seek opportunities for common ministry, especially where work together will enhance the mission of the church. The partnership is a unique experiment in U.S. ecumenism. In every setting of the two churches, UCC members and Disciples are serving Christ side by side. There are now many local congregations dually affiliated with both denominations, and it is common for Disciples and UCC ministers to serve congregations of the other denomination. The Common Global Ministries Board, formed by the UCC’s Wider Church Ministries and the Disciples’ Division of Overseas Ministries, unites the international mission work of the two churches.
Ecumenical Partnership symbol (1989) The Ecumenical Partnership symbol places the symbol of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and part of the emblem of the United Church of Christ side by side, joined by an anchor. The chalice points to the centrality of the Lord’s Supper in the life and worship of the Disciples. The Cross of St. Andrew, the national cross of Scotland, reminds us that both branches of the movement that grew together to become the Disciples of Christ were spawned in Presbyterianism and that many of the ideas of the founders of the movement were developed in Scotland. The cross surmounted by the crown, all atop the orb, signifies the sovereignty of the Risen Christ over all the world. the orb, representing the world, is divided into three parts to recall the command of Christ to the Apostles, “You shall be my witness in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The full emblem contains a border with the words of Jesus’ prayer “that they may all be one” (John 17:21), recalling the birth of the United Church of Christ as a united and uniting church.” The anchor which unites the chalice and the cross is an ancient symbol for hope–”We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). It reminds us that ecumenical partnership is both a present reality and a vision anchored in the promises of God.
Ecumenical Partnership Logo (2014) This partnership logo was created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the full communion relationship between the two churches and was presented at the Disciples’ General Assembly and the UCC’s General Synod.
LINK TO RESOURCES
- Resolution on Declaration of Full Communion (1989)
- Full Communion: Disciples-UCC Ecumenical Partnership (1989)
- Celebration Service: Our Partnership
- Report: Steering Committee (1985)
- Ecumenical Partnership Committee’s Basic Documents (1987)
- Vision Statement of the Ecumenical Partnership (1988)
- Background Information between Disciples UCC (1989)
- Basic Assumptions (1990)
- Purpose Statement (1990)
- Expressions Toward Full Communion
- Implications of the Mutual Recognition and Reconciliation of Ministries (1990)
- The Mutual Recognition and Reconciliation of Ordained Ministries: A study and Discussion Paper (1991)
- Study Series on the Covenant between Disciples UCC
- Robert Welsh, Reflections on Full Communion