After weeks of meetings and theological discussions at the National Ecumenical Council of American Churches in New York, leaders from 37 denominations found an issue they could agree upon: "Presbyterian" is the most difficult denominational name to spell. The issue was put to a general vote late Monday night after three days of discussion and debate. The vote passed overwhelmingly 313 to 12 with 2 abstaining from the vote in protest.
"We hail this as a major step in eccumenical relations," said Rev. Larry Britton of Way of Life Church, Baton Rouge, LA. "It's time for us as Christians to show the world that we can indeed find things we agree upon. I think this was an important step."
The purpose of the conference, which began three weeks earlier, was two-fold. The delegates, sent by their various denominations, would enter into dialogue with other delagates regarding various theological and social issues. The delegates were to also seek ways in which denominations could work together in various capacities, such as world missions, and community development. But as the days of the conference passed it became clear that issues such as abortion, homosexuality and ordination of women were causing a great amount of division among the delegates.
Sean Mallory, a lay leader from the First United Methodist Church in Hillsboro, North Dakota stated, "There were difficult times at first, but I think we have shown the world that we are one people. We may have issues that we disagree upon, but we do have some common beliefs and goals."
The Council went on to vote for the second and third most difficult denominations to spell. The results were Episcopalian and Pentecostal respectively.