Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) brings together nine mainline American denominations (including both predominantly white and predominantly black churches), and was inaugurated on January 20, 2002.
CUIC is the successor organization to the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) founded in 1962. The original task of COCU was to negotiate a merger between its ten member denominations; however, the membership of the denominations overwhelmingly rejected a merger when it was proposed in 1969. With the failure of the merger proposal, COCU then turned to negotiating "intercommunion", whereby each member church would retain its own autonomy and identity, while recognizing the validity of the rites and ministry of the others and accepting them as true churches. In 1991 it was proposed that this was to be done on the historic model of bishop, presbyter and deacon. However, the Presbyterian Church USA was unwilling to implement some of the changes to its internal rules that this model would require, and the Episcopal Church did not feel able to participate at the time. It was then proposed that intercommunion be established without a resolution of the ministry issue, which would be resolved by 2007 by means of intensive dialog between the churches. This modified proposal was then accepted by the member churches.
CUIC is not a merger, but rather an intercommunion agreement whereby each member recognizes the others as part of the true church, and recognizes its rites (baptism, communion) as valid. The original proposal for CUIC also had a recognition of each other's ministers, but the Episcopal Church's insistence on the historic episcopate, which conflicts with the method of administration in some other member churches (especially in the Presbyterian Church USA), has meant that this part of the CUIC proposal has been put on hold. CUIC will however hold negotiations once it is established, hopefully leading to a recognition of each other's ministers within the next few years.
- African Methodist Episcopal Church
- African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
- Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
- Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
- Episcopal Church
- International Council of Community Churches
- Presbyterian Church (USA)
- United Church of Christ
- United Methodist Church