Religion: Urge to Merge

Protestants try unity, slowly

It was a dream that launched the upbeat, activist 1960s in U.S. Protestantism. Why not arbitrate the seemingly passe traditions that divide Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and others, to create one grand united church? The bold vision produced the "Consultation on Church Union" (COCU), a series of discussions involving most major groups except the Baptists and Lutherans, COCU lost some of its momentum in the 1970s but is still very much alive. Ten denominations, with 22.7 million members —nearly a third of the nation's Protestants—are now involved.

At the latest talks, in Cincinnati, delegates reached an important milestone by agreeing...

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