The United Church of Christ was formed in 1957 to be first and foremost a proactive agent in the often tangled but nonetheless breathtaking ministry and mission of ecumenicity in the pursuit of ever greater visible unity among the diversity of Christian churches. This singular task of ecumenicity is arguably the most crucial in the formulation of an ecclesiology essential to the United Church of Christ as a “united and uniting” church; a mission Albert Walsh refers to in this book as her God given “vision-and-vocation.” In United and Uniting, Walsh contends that the identity and self-understanding of the UCC at both national and local levels is best comprehended as a “Christ-centered” and “conciliar” fellowship, and therefore her ecclesiology must be fundamentally ecumenical. A Christ-centered ecumenicity must shape, inform, and characterize the whole of her ecclesiology, and membership in the UCC is defined almost exclusively in terms of a “conciliar” identity. Walsh advocates a return to ecumenical formation at the level of the grassroots or membership in the local congregation as holding the greatest promise for furtherance of the wider ecumenical mission.
“In United and Uniting Bert Walsh offers a clarion call to the church to revive its ecclesiology. Rather than focusing on self-preservation, marketing gimmicks, or current social issues, Walsh passionately argues for an ecumenical ecclesiology that is Christ centered. While primarily addressed to the United Church of Christ, anyone interested in promoting an ecclesiology that is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in our age of pluralism and relativism will appreciate Walsh's enthusiasm.”
-H Drake Williams, III
Associate Professor of New Testament
Tyndale Theological Seminary in Badhoevedorp, the Netherlands
“Albert Walsh has written a passionate appeal to fellow members of the United Church of Christ that should be of interest to all persons committed to the unity of the church. He provides a clear and well-written call to a renewed concern for unity and the common faith of the church. Engagement with his own tradition is combined with a vision for the wider fellowship.”
Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology