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The Congregational and Christian Churches.

The organic union of these two bodies was favorably acted upon by the National Council of Congregational Churches meeting in Detroit, May, 1929, and the General Convention of the Christian Church at Piqua, October 25, 1929. Under the name of the Congregational and Christian Churches, the two communions alike maintain the independence of the local congregation, subject to no higher judicial church body and at the same time the duty of the congregations to take counsel together and co-operate together. The history of the Congregational churches in the United States goes back to Plymouth, 1620; the Christian Church to the last years of the eighteenth century. The "Principles" 945of the latter body are expressed in the statement: 'The Church of Christ is One; it embraces all those who have been accepted by Christ as his real disciples; and, in its whole and in its parts, it should be so organized, named and governed as to include all and exclude none of those whom Christ has so accepted.' As for fixed formulas, its position is set forth in the words, 'The Holy Scriptures are our only creed.' In 1929 its membership was 99,749 and in union with the Congregationalists the membership is more than 1,000,000. The Plan of Union provides for 'immediate practical unity' and 'complete union into a single body' to be consummated at a joint meeting of the National Congregational Council and the General Convention of the Christian Church at Seattle, 1931. At that time, it is proposed 'to adopt a constitution and organize.' In the meantime a volume has been issued, 1930, in New York and Dayton, the headquarters of the Christian Church, combining the Congregational Year Book and the Christian Annual with 427 pages, and giving statistics of both bodies. The book is pronounced 'an evidence of the reality of the union.'

The Plan of Union issued by the General Council made up of members of the two bodies sets forth the basis of union in these words:

The basis of this new relation shall be the recognition by each group that the other group is constituted of the followers of Jesus Christ. Each individual church and each group of churches shall be free to retain and develop its own form of expression. Finding in the Bible the supreme rule of faith and life, but recognizing that there is wide room for differences of interpretation among equally good Christians, this union shall be conditioned upon the acceptance of Christianity as primarily a way of life, and not upon uniformity of theological opinion or any uniform practice of ordinances.

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