In designing the "process of covenanting," the Seventeenth Plenary said that "After the participating churches have considered and acted upon the proposals of the Consultation contained in the two documents, the COCU Consensus and Churches in Covenant Communion, the Consultation on Church Union will carefully examine the actions of the churches on these recommendations, and determine next steps accordingly."
The Eighteenth Plenary meeting of the Consultation on Church Union recommends to the participating churches that, by formal action, they agree to enter into a new relationship to be called Churches Uniting in Christ, and that they together inaugurate this new relationship through public declaration and liturgical celebration during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in the year 2002.(1) The Churches Uniting in Christ will, with God's help, visibly express a unity in many things that are essential to the church's life (as outlined in section 4), even as the members of this community will seek to grow in unity among themselves and with other churches.
Specifically, we commend to the churches the actions recommended in "A Call to Christian Commitment and Action to Combat Racism" approved by the Eighteenth Plenary of the Consultation on Church Union. We also recommend adoption of a jointly-sponsored analytical study of the workings and effects of systematic white skin color privilege in America.
The member churches of the Consultation on Church Union will need to respond to the recommendations made in this report in ways they deem appropriate.
In order to inaugurate the new relationship, the Plenary instructs the Executive Committee of the Consultation on Church Union:
From its beginning, the Consultation on Church Union has set its quest for the visible unity of the church within the framework of the wider ecumenical movement.
After more than three decades of work the final adjustments are being made to the Consultation on Church Union's proposal for a Church of Christ Uniting.
In 1988 a plenary of the Consultation on Church Union met in New Orleans and approved the text "Churches in Covenant Communion", the blueprint for the Church of Christ Uniting, and unanimously commended it to the nine member communions.
Any possibility of creative engagement with the Consultation on Church Union was effectively put on hold.
Obviously the reluctance of the Episcopal Church and the "sound of an uncertain Presbyterian trumpet" raises significant questions for the Consultation on Church Union and any immediate hope of a Church of Christ Uniting.
Second, members of the Consultation on Church Union must ask what it would mean for the intended construction of an ecclesiology which is "truly catholic, truly reformed, and truly evangelical", if the partner which most easily brought the truly catholic" essence were not present at the inauguration of the Church of Christ Uniting.
Such matters will be addressed together by the churches, through the Consultation on Church Union
, after the participating churches have acted on the proposals before them." The Consultation's executive committee has affirmed that the next plenary will provide the means whereby this can occur.