This first appeared in the Summer issue of GraceConnect magazine, the publication for the people of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, before Margins|2016, the national conference of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. At the conference, delegates approved that the FGBC become a charter member of the Charis Alliance and endorse the commitments to Common Identity and Mission. The story below has been edited to reflect those decisions.
“After a three-year process involving thousands of Grace Brethren leaders from more than 20 countries, the Charis Alliance has been launched and the Charis Commitment to Common Identity was unanimously approved by delegates in Bangkok this past fall,” Bartley Sawatsky, executive director (moderator) of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), noted in a letter to pastors and church leaders earlier this year.
Sawatsky stressed that this historic document is significant because it:
1 “Centers on Jesus. The lead sentence affirms, ‘We declare that Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God as revealed in the Bible, the written Word of God, is the only Savior and Lord. He is the center of our shared experience of true biblical unity.’
2 Engages young leaders.
3 Provides an identity that connects the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches with other evangelical groups while still identifying our unique history and understanding of the Bible.
4 Creates an identity for the first-ever global expression of the Grace Brethren movement.”
In January, the Fellowship Council reviewed the Charis Commitment to Common Identity. As a result, they recommended at national conference that the document is endorsed as the identity statement of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches and be used by member churches, the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers, FGBC national and cooperating organizations, and districts to train leaders and to communicate and explain the Grace Brethren movement.
The Council also recommended to the conference delegates that the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches become a charter member of the Charis Alliance and endorse the commitments to Common Identity and Mission. A unanimous vote approved this motion. The FGBC will accept the benefits and responsibilities of membership and select three delegates to the Alliance by August 2016.
These were considered at the business meeting during Margins | 2016, the national conference of the FGBC in Toronto, Canada, July 22- 25.
A video, vimeo.com/fgbc/whatischaris, also provides an excellent explanation of the Charis Alliance.
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