In 1947 Christian farmworkers, immigrants, and criminal justice reform committees joined together to establish The Florida Council of Churches. The Council includes the state and regional offices of the same denominations that make up the National Council of Churches in Christ in the USA. These are the mainstream and historic Black churches. They are part of the conciliar ecumenical movement that emerged from the 1910 Edinburgh Conference on World Missions.
The term ecumenical means “living in one house.” The term conciliar means that the organization is a council of church representatives who through consensus and mutual respect discern the call of the Holy Spirit to engage in mutual prayer and action. The Council seeks to realize Jesus’ final prayer that his followers all be one so that the world may believe that God sent him (see John 17).
Being Present in the Moment
Throughout its history, the Council has responded to contemporary issues. During the 1960’s, it actively engaged in reciprocal dialogue with the Catholic Conference in Florida, living out the promises of Vatican II. During the Vietnam Era, it stood for peace and later became first among refugee resettlement agencies in the state. In the 1990’s, the Council provided job-training as part of the federal workfare program. It also engaged the church in Care of Creation ministries, support of farmworkers, and ending predatory car loans. When a rash of hurricanes ravaged South and Central Florida, especially Andrew, later Charlie and others, the Council helped coordinate interfaith responses. That work led towards developing Florida’s Volunteer Organizations Aiding in Disasters (VOADs) network.
In the last decade and a half it has hosted the National Workshop on Christian Unity and convened five annual Florida Interfaith Climate Actions Network Assemblies. During the COVID-19 pandemic protocols, the Council significantly increased its public advocacy in the legislature at a moment when the voice of the general public was incapacitated. It has developed new relationships with Latino Evangelicals and networks of Black congregations.
Common prayer, care of creation, love for all shape the ministry of the Council.
The Florida Council of Churches is a 501(c)3 religious organization, supported by member denominations,congregations, individuals, and grants. Your support matters for all Floridians. Click to donate.