On 10/11 May, the members of the sixth phase of the Disciples‒Catholic International Commission for Dialogue held an online session on the paper entitled “Disciples of Christ: A Brief Description". The paper, prepared by Revd Dr Robert Welsh, co-chair of the Commission from the Disciples of Christ, offers a general overview of the Disciples’ history, ecclesiology, identity, structure, ecumenical engagement, and provides a list of the member churches of the Disciples Ecumenical Consultative Council (DECC), the world communion of the Disciples of Christ. Revd Paul Tche (DECC), Disciples co-secretary, led the online session that started with a prayer by Monsignor Juan Usma Gómez (PCPCU), Catholic co-secretary. Bishop David Ricken, Catholic co-chair, was unable to attend.
Through an open dialogue, the participants were able to clarify certain aspects of the Disciples of Christ. In particular, the session was necessary for the Catholic members to understand the ecclesial nature of their partners and to prepare for the visit to the Cane Ridge Shrine in Kentucky, USA, where the Disciples of Christ began as a movement for Christian unity with the "Second Great Awakening". Visiting the shrine is part of the program for the first session scheduled to take place in June 2022. The Disciples of Christ will host this plenary session.
The topic of the sixth phase is “The Ministry of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor 3). The Commission intends to identify the theological foundations regarding the active presence and constant guidance of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the Church. The international dialogue was launched in 1977 to achieve full and visible unity. The latest report, from the fifth phase of its dialogue, “ ‘Do This in Memory of Me’: Christians Formed and Transformed by the Eucharist” was published in 2020.