A new American church for a world groaning in travail

The era in which the Consultation on Church Union began its work to remake the church and the nation

The decade of the 1950s was a moment in America when two cultural forces were coming together like tectonic plates. By the end of the decade, major systems in American life were experiencing tremors that presaged a more dramatic revolution than most people—especially those in leadership positions—could have imagined.

When the tremors came, a natural response was to hold things together until the shaking ceased and then to shore up the systems where vulnerabilities had been revealed. A more imaginative response by a few church leaders was to acknowledge that something much more substantial needed to be done. New systems able to withstand the shaking America’s institutions would have to be devised.

One of these efforts was the movement to unite nine ecumenical protestant churches at the center of American life and culture. Although the intended merger of existing denominations did not take place, the unity movement impacted American churches and culture.

As part of my research on the history of this movement—the Consultation on Church Union—I have written a description of that period when the United States was undergoing radical change. To read the essay, click New Church – World Groaning

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