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2. Congregational Proposals of Union.—The Congregational and Presbyterian Churches have repeatedly affirmed their fellowship with one another and with other Christian bodies on the basis of the Scriptures and the profession and practice of Christian faith. They likewise have made distinct proposals to other ecclesiastical bodies for federation or corporate union. In 1871, the National Council of the Congregational Churches made a notable deliverance—frequently reprinted in issues 958of the Biennial Minutes—expressing its desire to co-operate with all the Churches of the Lord and declaring that 'as little as did our fathers in their day, do we in ours make any pretension to be the only Churches of Christ. We believe in the Holy Catholic Church and it is our prayer and endeavor that the unity of the Church may be more and more apparent and that the prayer of our Lord for his disciples may be speedily and completely answered and all be one, that by consequence of this Christian unity in love the world may believe in Christ as sent of the Father to save the world.' The fine report of 1889, made by its chairman, Professor George P. Fisher, in answering the invitation of the General Convention of 1886, pronounced in favor of closer relations with the Presbyterians as desirable and natural in these words: 'The Connecticut Congregationalists and Presbyterians since the settlement of the country have been so close and the points of contact and sympathy so numerous that in endeavoring to secure inter-denominational comity, we are especially concerned to adjust our relations to them.'

The organic union of the Congregationalists, the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, and the Methodist Protestant Church was the subject of discussion from 1898 to 1907. A Joint Committee of the three bodies formulated an Act of Union and a Declaration of Faith. The National Council of Congregational Churches, 1907, referred the Act back to the commission, whereupon the other two Churches withdrew from further negotiations. Later, the Council denied intending by its action opposition to the movement of union.22662266See Barton, pp. 198, 199, and Minutes of the Nat. Council, 1907, p. 286, and 1910, p. 259.


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