COB Staffer Rev. Dr. Hawxhurst to lead Churches Uniting in Christ

CUIC photo

Participants at the Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) gathering in Philadelphia pose for a photo during their meeting.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - United Methodist Church Council of Bishops Ecumenical Staff Officer Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst has been elected as President of the Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC), an organization of 10 member denominations, who hold visible unity, racial equity and theological dialogue among their top commitments.
CUIC currently consists of ten churches, including: The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ), the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), The Episcopal Church, the International Council of Community Churches, the Moravian Church (Northern Province), the Presbyterian Church in the USA, the United Church of Christ and The United Methodist Church. 
Rev. Hawxhurst was elected at the CUIC gathering last week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, during their first in-person plenary since before the COVID-19 pandemic. She is the first United Methodist to lead the organization since its creation. Her term runs for three years.
 “The recent plenary in Philadelphia signified a renewed commitment to CUIC that is exciting,” Rev. Hawxhurst said.  “I am grateful to be a part of this amazing leadership team, and my prayer is that we will be able to build on previous foundational work toward unity on which we stand in the present time.”
Bishop Jeffrey Leath of the AME Church will serve as Vice President. Rev. Rock Fremont will serve as Secretary while Ms. Juliet Owuor of the PCUSA will serve as Treasurer, with bookkeeping help from Mr. James Tse of the PCUSA.
During the gathering in Philadelphia, representatives from across the United States spent time in worship, discernment, prayer and fellowship over three days of a powerful and positive experience. Participants left with a renewed commitment to stay together. Ms. Martinique Mix of the AME Church encouraged the group to “break, so that we can bend together,” and as they departed amidst hugs and congratulations, it was clear that the Churches Uniting in Christ intend to make that happen.
The plenary in Philadelphia represented a renewed engagement of all ten communions and a determination to continue their work toward visible Christian unity in the United States.
A community worship service was held at Mother Bethel AME Church, after walking there from Historic St. George’s UM Church, in remembrance of the forced exit of Black members led by Richard Allen and others. The Rev. Mark Kelly Tyler of Mother Bethel welcomed the worshippers. Bishop Jeffrey Leath of the AME Church offered a sermon calling CUIC to say “good morning” to a new time of dedication to the vision of racial equity that is foundational to the commitment of the member churches of CUIC. Bishop Teresa Jefferson-Snorton, a former President of the group, officiated at the Eucharistic table.
Much of the plenary time was dedicated to the development of new goals for CUIC. The Rev. Dawn Taylor-Storm of the United Methodist Church lead the participants in a multi-day World Café process, in which three particular marks of commitment were reaffirmed. Several goals focusing on racial equity, welcome of all, and theological dialogue were proposed. These will now be studied by the Coordinating Council and used to set priorities for the next three years.
The group also met for a day at Old First Reformed Church, and it was from this building that a historic Prayer Walk was launched. The participants walked together to six different sites in the city. At each site they noted the history regularly taught in the US school system and contrasted that with the history of enslaved Black Persons who were associated with the site, then they took time to pray together, asking for forgiveness, remembrance, and transformation.
Business was also conducted at the gathering. Outgoing President Abraham Wright of the International Council of Community Churches directed conversations on several projects of CUIC. Bishop Snorton presented information on online resources that were created during the pandemic to help local congregations commemorate Christian holidays through the lens of racial inequity. These videos, litanies and Bible studies are now located on the group’s website:, under the “teaching and preaching” tab. Rev. Mark Pettis of the United Church of Christ presented plans for the new ecumenical training program for young adults, which will begin in a few months.  Rev. Rock Fremont and Rev. Christian Choi presented a new archiving plan in cooperation with Princeton Seminary. Mr. Wright was thanked for his leadership.

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