April 23, 2002 at 10:10 PM EST - Updated July 28 at 4:00 PM
CLEVELAND (AP) - Nine Protestant denominations named a leader Tuesday in their effort to pull together the 22 million members of their congregations.
The Rev. Bertrice Y. Wood, the first woman pastor of Mt. Zion Congregational United Church of Christ in Cleveland, will serve as director of the new group called Churches Uniting in Christ.
The churches -- including the Cleveland-based United Church of Christ -- promised Jan. 20 to unify their congregations, despite historical divisions based on race, and coordinate efforts to oppose racial injustice.
"I am grateful for the call to this ministry as these nine communions have pledged to live in covenant with each other while on the journey toward the 'Beloved Community,'" Wood said in a statement.
Besides serving as pastor of the predominantly black Mt. Zion Congregational, Wood was associate to the executive vice president of the United Church Board for World Ministries in New York and Cleveland.
Denominations in Churches Uniting for Christ are the 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 and United Methodist Church.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)