Common Ground Christian Network (CGCN) is a group of denominations, organizations, congregations and individuals who believe that 21st century Christians need to stand together for the cause of Christ.
As God realigns His people in several North American denominations, the ripple effect on working relationships within and across denominations is significant. New relationships are forged across historic denomination divides as believers find fellowship and cooperative mission with those who share foundational beliefs and moral standards.
CGCN’s organizing documents state that “We come from different denominational and theological traditions, but these distinctives are respected and appreciated, not a cause for division among us. The common ground upon which we stand is the affirmation of classical orthodox Christianity.”
The common cause that inspires CGCN’s joint action includes:
- To re-engage the culture with a winsome defense of the Christian faith in a pluralistic society, persuading a skeptical culture that Christian moral influence can be beneficial in the social order, transforming the world through the presence of Christ in and through Christians
- To proclaim the Gospel of Christ’s redemption of humanity through the cross and resurrection through relational, person-to-person witness, establishing worshipping communities of faith and discipleship, and reaching into communities in hands-on mission and service
- To facilitate the social witness of our members on issues of common concern by providing resources, sharing best practices, and engaging in theological and ethical study, with the goal of transforming society to
- Uphold the dignity of each human person as created in God’s image
- Address the needs and expand the opportunities of the poor
- Protect human life and encourage its flourishing at all stages
- Strengthen the marriage of a man and woman, and the bonds between parents and children as the necessary building blocks of society
- Defend the free exercise of religion in North America and around the world
- Foster cooperation, mutual support, and resourcing of one another in the pursuit of this common cause through shared theological education, training, mission programs and collaborative ministries.
The group formalized its organizational life at a Feb. 17 meeting in Charlotte, N.C. The website is under development at www.CommonGroundChristians.com, but you can connect now with the group via Facebook at Common Ground Christian Network.
Some of those involved in the formation of the CGCN were historically involved in seeking renewal in mainline denominations. Those groups worked across denominational lines through the Association for Church Renewal (ACR). The Presbyterian Lay Committee was an integral part of The Association for Church Renewal since its formation in the mid-1970s. Through a succession that started with Bob Campbell and included Parker Williamson, the PLC has provided leadership to the ACR board and its efforts to bring cooperative renewal in the Presbyterian, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Episcopal and Methodist churches.
Except for the United Methodists, each of the denominations represented in ACR have experienced significant realignment in recent years. In addition to the diaspora of Presbyterians from the Presbyterian Church (USA) into the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) and ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, former UCC churches now align with the Evangelical Association of Reformed, Congregational and Christian Churches, former Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) churches now comprise the North American Lutheran Church, and former Episcopal churches are now Anglican.
Acknowledging that for everything there is a time and a season, the ACR has become the Common Ground Christian Network and the PLC’s president, Carmen Fowler LaBerge, is its chairman.