On Friday, May 13, the Eastern Diocese hosted a meeting of the ecumenical organization Christian Churches Together (CCT) with New York-area church leaders. The meeting was organized and led by the Rev. Carlos L. Malavé, Executive Director of Christian Churches Together; Bishop Michael Rozanski, CCT Moderator and President of the Catholic Family, and Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, Legate and Ecumenical Director of the Eastern Diocese.
Participating in the meeting were Archbishop Khajag Barsamian (Armenian Apostolic Church), Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Canon Chuck Robertson, Rev. Margaret Rose (Episcopal Church), Metropolitan Tikhon, Fr. Leonid Kishovsky (Orthodox Church in America), and Bishop Demetrios of Mokissos (Greek Orthodox Church).
Archbishop Khajag Barsamian warmly welcomed the guests to the Diocesan Complex, noting that the Eastern Diocese has hosted many ecumenical events over the years. The goal of the meeting was to engage area church leaders in the work of CCT, to encourage them to offer ideas and suggestions, and to create stronger links with the ecumenical body. Each of the leaders briefly introduced themselves and shared their own involvement in ecumenism. Participants also shared news from their churches on both the national and international levels.
Participants heard about the history and mission of Christian Churches Together, which will soon celebrate its 10th anniversary. CCT strives to include a broad base of Christian churches and focuses on important social issues, such as mass incarceration, racial justice, quality of life issues, immigration, hunger, poverty, and sex trafficking. CCT includes a number of Christian groups that do not participate in other ecumenical organizations.
While CCT mainly deals with issues of importance in the Unites States, participants also felt that CCT should include a focus on the persecution of Christians in various parts of the world. It was decided to plan a meeting of church leaders with the U.S. State Department to discuss the Christian community in the Holy Land.