The Stone-Campbell Dialogue will conduct a series of meetings and worship services in Abilene on Oct. 5-6.
The dialogue is an ongoing effort between Churches of Christ, Disciples of Christ and Christian Churches to discuss overcoming divisions and their common heritage in the Stone-Campbell movement.
The Stone-Campbell movement began in the early 1800’s when Barton Warren Stone and Alexander Campbell came together with the common goal of restoring Christian unity through abolishing creeds and returning to the principles of the early churches described in the New Testament.
In 1999, nine people from the three religious groups met in Cincinnati. They committed to begin a series of dialogues to develop relationships and to bring understanding and healing to rifts between the groups that shared the same beginnings.
In 2009, ACU hosted “The Great Communion” in Moody Coliseum to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Campbell’s Declaration and Address, a document that set the tone and direction for the Stone-Campbell movement.
“The Great Communion was a successful effort to bring Christians from both streams together to remember our common heritage and celebrate the love of God in Jesus Christ,” said Don Wilson, senior minister at the First Christian Church of Abilene.
Wilson said he looks forward to an opportunity to be the body of Christ together and it is an honor for his church to host the dialogue.
“Disciples of Christ have always advocated for meetings with other Christians,” Wilson said. “It comes naturally to us and we look forward to worship together.”
The meeting will begin with a worship service, communion and a fellowship meal Sunday night at the First Christian Church in Abilene. On Monday, several sessions on campus will discuss topics like non-traditional and emergent churches. The sessions are open to the public and free of charge.
Dr. Doug Foster, professor of church history and director of the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality, has been a leader in the Stone-Campbell Dialogue since it’s first meeting in 1999.
Foster said the meetings are an opportunity to raise consciousness of the call to unity, to worship together and network with church leaders in the area.
“A lot of students at ACU right now really don’t know anything about the heritage of Churches of Christ or the Stone-Campbell movement,” Foster said. “Visible Christian unity has been something that is important to us and is in our history.”
Foster said close to 100 people from Abilene and surrounding areas have already registered to attend.
The service at First Christian Church begins at 6:00 on Sunday night and followed by the fellowship meal at 7:30. Monday’s discussions begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Hunter Welcome Center and 1:30 p.m. downstairs in the Library. Students can register to attend here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1fiAJpkX4FFJZ-0zVwWrdpjkVEPdFIA48dff6ZvNsJt4/viewform?usp=send_form