CWS Member Communions
Founded in 1946, CWS is a cooperative relief, refugee, and development ministry currently comprised of 37 member communions. CWS symbolizes an extraordinary constituency when we consider these 37 members and the rich diversity of denominations, theologies, traditions, histories and cultures they represent.
The mission of CWS is to work with partners to eradicate poverty and hunger and to promote peace and justice around the world. Founded on the principles and values of the Christian faith of the original 18 founding members, CWS has continued to live out this Gospel mission in the world by feeding the hungry, quenching thirst, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger and freeing those who are imprisoned by poverty, oppression, injustice and violence. CWS lives out the Gospel mission precisely by working closely with partners worldwide to end poverty and hunger and build peace with justice. Our mission is clear, and it is in direct alignment with the mission of our members.
CWS serves not only to carry out this mission, but to do so as a collaborative, ecumenical and global force. Our uniqueness is in our ecumenism. Much more than a theological construct which many believe to be a thing of the past as we watch the “modern ecumenical movement” as we once knew it struggle, our ecumenical identity is pragmatic. Simply put, we need each other. CWS convenes its members around the Development and Humanitarian Assistance Round Table; the Immigration and Refugee Program Advisory Group; on Capitol Hill as we advocate together on behalf of “the least of these”; and throughout the U.S. as literally thousands of our members faithfully put their faith into action by participating in CROP Hunger Walks, assembling CWS Hygiene or School Kits, CWS Emergency Cleanup Buckets, or offering signature CWS Blankets to those who most need warmth, shelter and comfort. Our strength is in our capacity to do more together than we or any of our members could ever do alone. As an ecumenical agency, we are not claiming that we do this work together because it is necessarily more efficient, although oftentimes it is, but rather, because it is always a deeper expression of our unity in Christ.
To paraphrase the apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, “We are many members, but one body of Christ.” In April 2014, at the ELCA Center in Chicago, CWS and its members gathered for the Annual Members meeting, to strengthen our collaboration and support of one another and to carry out our common Gospel mission to serve those who are in deep need all over the world. We committed to do even more work together — to make an even bigger impact on the world — and be an even louder, bolder voice advocating for those who need our solidarity.
Our ecumenical identity and vision is what makes CWS unique. It is our strength; it is why and how we do what we do that sets us apart. Many other organizations do what we do, but they don’t do it as one body made up of many members, motivated by a common faith in Jesus the Christ.
African Methodist Episcopal Church
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Alliance of Baptists
American Baptist Churches USA
Armenian Church of America
(including Diocese of California)
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Church of the Brethren
Community of Christ
The Coptic Orthodox Church in North America
Ecumenical Catholic Communion
The Episcopal Church
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Friends United Meeting
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Hungarian Reformed Church in America
International Council of Community Churches
Korean Presbyterian Church in America
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Mar Thoma Church
Moravian Church in America
National Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention, U.S.A., Inc.
National Missionary Baptist
Convention of America
Orthodox Church in America
Patriarchal Parishes of the Russian
Orthodox Church in the U.S.A.
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the
Religious Society of Friends
Polish National Catholic Church of America
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
Reformed Church in America
Serbian Orthodox Church in the
U.S.A. and Canada
The Swedenborgian Church
Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America
United Church of Christ
The United Methodist Church