Press Release for Churches Uniting in Christ

June 10, 2023 

Philadelphia, PA:  Representatives from all ten member churches of Churches Uniting in Christ gathered this week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for their first in-person plenary since before the COVID-19 pandemic.  The fifty representatives from across the United States spent time in worship, discernment, prayer and fellowship over three days of engagement and witness.

Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) was inaugurated in the early 2000’s as a new expression of visible unity among several historic Protestant churches in the United States who hold visible unity, racial equity and theological dialogue among their top commitments.  The group 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.  This 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 ecumenical 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 World Café process, in which three particular marks of commitment among the churches 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 are set for the next three years.

The group also met for a day at Old First Reformed Church, and it was from this building an 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 it 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 Jefferson 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: www.churchesuniting.org, 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, and new officers were elected.  For the next three years Rev. Dr. Jean Hawxhurst of The United Methodist Church will serve as President.  Bishop Jeffrey Leath of the AME Church will serve as Vice President.  Rev. Rock Fremont will serve as Secretary.  And, Ms. Juliet Owuor of the PCUSA will serve as the Treasurer, with bookkeeping help from Mr. James Tse of the PCUSA. 

Participants left with a renewed commitment to stay together.  Ms. Martinique Mix of the CME 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.


Do you know how to secure public or private funding to support your community ministries, leadership development programs, or even help improve your church home?  Do you know how to write a grant to secure such funding?   If not, invite one or two members of your congregation or center to participate in this Zoom grant writing workshop.  Dr. Linda Abington, an Abba Church of Renewed Faith member in Chicago, IL., is an experienced grant writer.  She will lead a four-part 90-minute workshop on Saturdays, May 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2023, from 12 noon – 1:30 p.m. Eastern time. 

Program Description
Workshop training will be designed to help participants with each step of the grant process.
Week 1, May 6 – Grant readiness assessment ( i.e., corporation status, articles of incorporation, program development, and Grant Accountability and Transparency (GATA) where applicable.  Recording available here.
Week 2, May 13 –  Review 1023 application –  501 (c )(3)  Recording available here.
Week 3, May 20 –Types of grants – governmental grants, private foundations/corporations, etc.  (Review written state-funded grant)  Recording available here.
Week 4, May 27 – Grant management  ( After you’re funded, what then?)  Recording available here.

The Zoom link for the weekly workshop is – https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8154645690?pwd=TS9Iek9nYzE1Z0pRV0NhbTZvUmwzdz09

Meeting ID: 815 464 5690
Passcode: 8154645690

We want to equip one of your members to write grants for your congregation or center.  In addition, we want your congregation or center to learn how to expand your resource base so that you can continue to serve your congregation and community faithfully. 

If you have questions about this training event, please get in touch with me at icccpt@sbcglobal.net or 502-387-8515.

The ICCC and YOUR Church!
Last month, Rev. Bob Fread, ICCC VP for Outreach and Information, did a Zoom presentation about resources provided by ICCC. 

As Rev. Fread stated in his presentation, ICCC may not have the same resources that larger faith communities offer, but ICCC still has significant resources for our clergy, congregations, and centers! 

Check out the video to learn about ICCC’s resources, and please share it with your pastor, congregation, or center.   


Rev. Phil Tom
Executive Director

Each year ICCC churches are encouraged to celebrate their connection with the ICCC on the last Sunday of April (or another Sunday of their choice).  This year our Community Churches Sunday 2023 is on April 30 with the theme “With Glad and Generous Hearts” based on Acts 2:42-47. 

To help churches celebrate Community Churches Sunday a Resource Kit is again available at: https://www.icccnow.org/hp_wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Community-Churches-Sunday-Kit-2023.pdf   
This resource contains ideas for celebration, sermon ideas for this year’s Scripture, two sizes of a bulletin insert, worship resources, and a new hymn for this year’s celebration “Now With Glad Hearts”.

Check out this year’s resources and together let’s celebrate COMMUNITY!



National Faith & Blue Weekend is based on the premise that strong communities are built on mutual respect and understanding. Law enforcement and faith institutions are key pillars of each community, and when they work together, neighborhoods thrive.
Visit https://faithandblue.org/faith-blue-weekend/ for information and to find events near you.

Come SOAR with us!  

In 2022, the R.R.R. (Reimagine, Re-vision, Reframe) team will lead us in a SOAR visioning process; a profoundly positive approach to strategic thinking, planning, and leading. SOAR stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, and Results, and is intended to be a positive approach to strategic conversations that allows an organization to construct its future through collaboration, shared understanding, and a commitment to action. The SOAR visioning process focuses on what the system is doing well, what the system wants more of, and how we move forward from positive images to positive action and results. SOAR leverages the Appreciative Inquiry paradigm to shift and amplify the energy and dialogue of stakeholders to strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and results, and this is a fantastic opportunity to learn the process and take it back to your own communities.
We’ll begin to SOAR May 2 when the R.R.R. team enters a time of retreat and discernment about the future of the Council and effectively learn the process to lead others. The SOAR conversation will widen at our Annual Conference to include conference participants. R.R.R. members will collaborate to include local churches and communities in the conversation in the months following our annual gathering. Our ecumenical, interfaith, and wider church partners will also have ways they can participate in the SOAR conversations. Come SOAR with us!  

Rev. Rock Fremont
Committee Moderator

Greetings ICCC clergy brothers and sisters!

I hope you are all doing well as you continue to navigate the new normal with your congregations, whether it be through your parish, center, or chaplaincy ministries.  It is an understatement to say that these are challenging times for clergy, congregations and for the Church at large.  Here are three articles that I thought you might find of interest to read.

The New Front Door of Church: From web to welcomehttps://refreshthechurch.com/the-new-front-door-of-church-from-web-to-welcome/
How to Preach When Your Congregation is Online and In-Person https://factsandtrends.net/2020/09/02/how-to-preach-to-two-audiences-at-the-same-time/

1 in 5 churches facing permanent closure within 18 months due to COVID-19 shutdowns: Barna pres. https://www.christianpost.com/news/1-in-5-churches-face-closure-within-18-months-due-to-covid-19-shutdowns-barna-president-238612/?fbclid=IwAR3gfW_-HBQil7FRBynfmLK8A57wUVMWv_uRlLeX0yF8SgFY-3pEbCXtqQs

During this pandemic, clergy and congregational leaders have had to become adaptive, agile, and creative to maintain their worship services and ministries with their congregation members and their communities.  Most congregations, large and small are facing financial challenges.  This time has been especially difficult for smaller membership congregations which for many were already struggling financially pre-Covid!

I welcome your stories about creative solutions and resources that might be of help to our ICCC clergy, congregations, and members.


Let us continue to keep one another and our congregations in prayers as we all move through this time of great challenge and opportunity.  Take care and have a blessed day.


Phil Tom


During these challenging times, many ICCC churches have learned to provide virtual worship, to bring together their congregations.  The following have shared their links with us, in case you would like to join in.

Antioch Community Church – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AntiochChurchKC/  or search in FB Antioch 4805.  For more information on what Antioch Community Church has to offer virtually, visit their website: www.acckc.org.

Wilson Memorial Union Church– Sunday Worship can be found on their YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmXd-MMkSkEEJVqsN-8Yoeg or on their website https://www.wilsonmemorialchurch.org/videos  They also post their worship links on their *Facebook https://www.facebook.com/mywilsonchurch  For more information on what Wilson Memorial Union Church has to offer virtually, visit their website: www.wilsonmemorialchurch.org.

Lake Oconee Community Churchhttps://locc.co/worshiping/services-livestream/  For more information on what Lake Oconee Community Church has to offer virtually, visit their website www.locc.co.

New Covenant Community Church – YouTube Channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfQ4tfz6CmH64kug4zjVGmA  For more information on what New Covenant Community Church has to offer virtually, visit their website http://www.covenantakron.org/

Greater Faith Community Church – For information on what Greater Faith Community Church has to offer virtually, visit their website http://www.greaterfaith.org.

Imagine Church of the Carolinas – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImagineChurchoftheCarolinas/.  For more information on what Imagine Church of the Carolinas has to offer virtually, visit their website: www.imaginechurchnow.org

Chapel By The Sea – YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNjSPp9qNZq9DFRfoNcJ83g  For information on what Chapel By The Sea has to offer virtually, visit their website www.imaginechurchnow.org

upRising – a church without walls – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uprisingaustin/   For more information on what upRising has to offer virtually, visit their website: www.uprisingaustin.org

Peace Community Church – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peacecommunityftmyers/  For more information on what Peace Community Church offers virtually, visit their website: www.peacecommunitychurch.com

People’s Community Church, Berea, OH – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesCommunityChurchBerea/  For more information on what People’s Community Church may have to offer virtually, visit their website: www.peoplescommunity.org

Christian Catholic Rite of Community Churches – YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHGa_5lyPn0 .  For more information on what CCRCC has to offer virtually, visit their website: http://ccrcc.ca/


Historic First Community Church Nashville – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/526657234126797/videos/652357822159867/?vh=e&d=n

Speed Memorial, a Community Church – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/speedmemorial/  For more information on what Speed Memorial has to offer virtually, visit their website: www.speedmemorial.org

Tellico Village Community Churchhttps://www.tellicochurch.com/watch

Historic People’s Community Church, Detroit – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PeoplesCommunityChurchDetroit/ live at 10:30am ET Sundays.  For more information on what People’s Community Church has to offer virtually, visit their website: www.historicpcc.org

ICCC Clergy Rev. Dr. Stephen York is the minister at Elm Street Congregational Church.  Services are livestreamed on Sunday at 10:00am ET: https://elmstcongo.church/live.  Archived services can be found at https://elmstcongo.church/youtube. 
Norris Religious Fellowship – YouTube: www.youtube.com/norrisrf.  For more information on what NRF has to offer virtually, visit their website www.norrosfr.org.
Arizona National Guard Chaplains – *Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AZNationalGuardChaplains/
Greendale People’s ChurchYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfkBKSC_VJABn03L4P3Syiw.  For more information on what Greendale People’s Church has to offer virtually, visit their website https://www.greendalepeopleschurch.org/

*For Facebook links, you may need to first “Like” the church’s page before you can view their postings.

The ICCC has a NEW Facebook Group! Click on the Facebook icon to join!                    
We also invite you to like and follow the ICCC Page, where up-to-date announcements and info can be found. 
The ICCC has 8 Regions, and each have their own Facebook Group.  Keep up to date with your regions news and activities! 
Eastern Zone, Region A (Regional Trustee Deidre Seidel)
Eastern Zone, Region B (Regional Trustee Myrtis Brame)
Eastern Zone, Region C  (Regional Trustee Bruce Merton)
Central Zone, Region A (Regional Trustee Jean Tillman)
Central Zone, Region B (Regional Trustee Linda Hopkins)
Central Zone, Region C (Regional Trustee TBD)
Western Zone, Region A (Regional Trustee Saundra Nelson)
Western Zone, Region B (Regional Trustee Rock Fremont)
Check us out here too! #ICCCNOW             Instagram:  @icccnow                                                    Snapchat: icccnow             Twitter:  @icccnow
Monday, June 8th, the ICCC held a Call For Prayer, via Zoom.  We had a spirit-filled time prayer time together with members from across the country joining in.  Below are some of the prayers shared (adding as they come in).

Read (and sang) by Joe Higgins, Wilson Memorial Union Church:

  • “Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Fill me with life anew,
    That I may love what Thou dost love,
    And do what Thou wouldst do.
  • Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Until my heart is pure,
    Until with Thee I will one will,
    To do and to endure.
  • Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Till I am wholly Thine,
    Until this earthly part of me
    Glows with Thy fire divine.
  • Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    So shall I never die,
    But live with Thee the perfect life
    Of Thine eternity.”

Read by ICCC Chaplain Wendy Childress.  Written by her daughter, Ikia Noel, 23 years ago when she was 9 years old:


Why is this world so cruel, so cold, so evil?
A world full of crime, drugs, and violence
Violence seems to be the answer to. . .
Every situation
Every question
Every problem
A world where money is idolized
Yet, there are people who live in poverty and despair
A world where people want to see you fail
A world where children are supposed to be the future
Yet, there is no one willing to. . .
Teach them
Love them
Guide them
No one there to help the realize they have the potential to succeed
Why is the world so evil?
Why am I surrounded by a world of hatred?
A world where your race, gender, religion, or nationality
Can determine so many things
Why must I dress or talk a certain way
Or have a certain amount of money to be accepted?

IMG_3005Give By Text

Do you pay for all your “things” online?  Why not make your donations electronically as well?
We want our members to contribute when and how they want.  The ICCC offers an electronic giving option… Give by Text, as a convenient alternative to checks or cash.
In less time than it takes to write a check, you can make weekly offerings or respond to special appeals by simply sending a text message from your smartphone.  Sign up today and be liberated from your checkbook!
Simply send a text to 815-506-9017 with the amount you would like to contribute. Make sure to include the dollar sign before the amount. Example: $25. Within a few minutes, you’ll be sent a text with a link to register. Click on the link and enter your cardholder name and credit or debit card information. Once your registration is complete, you will receive a text verification and a receipt via email.
Thank you for supporting our mission!


      Direct Thrivent Choice Dollars®.

During this special time of year, we pause to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for. Family, friends, faith …

We are pleased to announce that the ICCC has recently been accepted into the Thrivent Choice program. 
One way eligible Thrivent Financial members can show their thanks is by directing Choice Dollars to the ICCC. If you’re a Thrivent member who has designated Choice Dollars

®, please take this opportunity to recommend where Thrivent distributes some of its charitable grant funds by directing them to the ICCC.  Thrivent Choice grant funding will be used for Ecumenical & Interfaith Relations, and for our three missions: Agape, Creating Community, and Feeding the Hungry. 

To learn more about Thrivent Choice, visit Thrivent.com/thriventchoice.  Or call Thrivent at 800-847-4836 and say “Thrivent Choice” when prompted.

Do you shop Amazon.com?
You can now designate the International Council of Community Churches to receive .5% of the purchase price from the AmazonSmile Foundation!
Please support the ICCC today and get shopping!  Go to https://smile.amazon.com and select the ICCC as your charitable organization.