GS 1983 art 126

GS 1983 ARTICLE 126Farewell Dutch Delegates

The chairman speaks a few word s of farewell to the brethren Dr. K. Deddens and Rev. J. de Gelder. fraternal delegates from the Dutch sister Churches, thanking them tor their helpful advice and encouraging presence. The chairman expresses gratitude for the bonds between the Canadian and Dutch sister Churches, and wishes the brethren a safe journey home.

On behalf of the Dutch delegates the Rev. J. de Gelder responds as follows:

” Mister Chairman. brothers, delegates,

The vis it of the delegates of your Dutch sister Churches has almost come to an end. Tomorrow morning, at the moment that you. Mr. Chairman, reopen the session, we hope to depart from Vancouver airport. And I may say, Mr. Chairman, it was a pleasure to be here. We enjoyed the personal contacts with all the brothers, between and after sessions. and also the contacts with the brothers and sisters on the Sundays and during the worship services. We believe that ” the Church is spread and dispersed over the whole world. and yet is joined and united with heart and will, by the power of faith, in one and the same spirit” (Art. 27. Belgic Confession). We believe this – and we could also see and recognize this in the course of these weeks. And that is reason for great gratitude. This fellowship has been there also in the work at Synod. We are glad, Mr. Chair­ man. that our visit was not only a formal duty, but that we had the opportunity to take part in your work during these two weeks. It was also possible for us to bring forward our advisory remarks in personal conversations, in some of the committees and in the plenary sessions.

At this Synod you take new steps in the direction of a complete revised Book of Praise. And we wish you that the completion will be there at no distant date.

We congratulate you with the finalizing of the revision of the Church Order.

You can understand, Mr. Chairman, that we followed with great interest especially the discussion of the last days of last week and of this day. We have tasted and felt your difficulties and concern regarding these matters. We can understand that very well. We have to deal with the same questions and uncertainties at our coming Synod Heemse. You can take a certain route – but the question is: where does it lead? What will be the end of it? Therefore. Mr. Chairman, we as delegates are really grateful for the deci­sions that your Synod made regarding the contacts with the sister Churches and the ICRC. We can imagine that, regarding our Korean sister Churches, you could not come further yet, for we can understand your position on this continent with Churches which have the Presbyterian Confessions and Church government. Nevertheless – we are impressed by the high level of the discussions about these matters. It is really not an easy route to go. Skipping over all the difficulties and joining the broad ecumenical movement, and so give up the riches that we received by God’s grace – that would be an easy route! Remaining on your own chair, and seeing nothing except the one route of the “vrijgemaakte Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland” and the Churches which pro­ceeded from them. in fear that we would lose what we received – that would be an easy route too.

But, Mr. Chairman, in gratitude for what we received, we have to hold steadfastly on to the riches which the Lord gave us in the Three Forms of Unity and our Church Order, and at the same time. we know that Christ gathers His people in all times, places and cultures till the day that He comes. Recognizing that, and respecting that – that is not an easy route! That is a route which asks much faithful effort of all our Churches. Mr. Chairman, may the decisions of the General Synod of Cloverdale under the blessing of the Lord be a step on that route, behind our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Church.

We thank you, brothers, for your cordiality, your hospitality and your brotherly fel­lowship. We felt at home these two weeks in the Fraser Valley.

May the Lord give you strength and wisdom also to conclude for the praise of God – and in that way – for the benefit of your Churches the other matters which are yet on your agenda. May the Lord be with you and with the Canadian Reformed Churches.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”