GS 1986 art 85

GS 1986 ARTICLE 85

Covenant Orthodox Reformed Church, Sackville (See Art. 77)

Committee 1 presents:


–  Agenda VIII, I, 3, 4.

A motion, duly seconded, to read Ill, B, considerations, 1, as follows:

  • “The procedure for admitting other churches to the confederation has always been a matter of local churches with the judgment of Classis and the concurring advice of Deputies of Regional Synod.”

The motion is ADOPTED.

The amended report of Committee 1 reads now:


  • –   Agenda VIII, I. 3, 4.
  • –    Request of the Covenant Orthodox Reformed Church, Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, for sister-church relationship.
  • –    Letter from the Church at Ottawa regarding the request of the Covenant Or­thodox Reformed Church of Lower Sackville.

II Request to be admitted as (corresponding) sister church.


  • 1.     The CORC requests Synod “that a sister-church relationship be estab­lished between the Canadian Reformed Churches and the Covenant Orthodox Reformed Church.”
  • 2.     This request is made directly to General Synod “as well as through the consistory of the Ottawa Church.”
  • 3.     The Church at Ottawa recommends to Synod “that the request of the CORC of Lower Sackville be considered.”
  • 4.     As grounds for their requests, the following can be noted:
    • a.  The CORC of Lower Sackville cannot as yet be admitted to the federa­tion because such an admission at this lime may damage the unity of the congregation. The Church at Ottawa writes, ·’They are not yet sufficiently comfortable with us to make the transition to full unity.”
    • b.  Although the CORC is a church in Canada, it is felt that the distance between the CORC and, e.g., the Church at Ottawa “is so great that for all intents and purposes it is as if they are in a different country.”
    • c.  A sister-church relationship (in terms of correspondence) would give the CORC the needed benefits of such a relationship (e. g. receiving ministers to administer the sacraments) while at the same time it would allow the CORC to continue to work towards full unity “in a careful, considered, and gradual fashion.”


  • 1.    The Canadian Reformed Churches do not know of a sister-church (or correspondence) relationship with churches inside Canada. Although the distances between the churches in this country are indeed for­midable, these have not prevented the Canadian Reformed Churches from maintaining a purposeful and active life as federation. The argu­ment of distance does not really provide a solid ground for not coming together in “full unity,” especially since in the CORC perception, it does not appear to be a problem in the development perceived later.
  • 2.     The main reason for the CORC not to enter the federation at this time is that there are still differences to be overcome (especially concerning the office of elders). Since the unity of the federation of churches and the “sister-church relationship” are based on the same unity of faith, it would not be correct to use the one to avoid the obstacles perceived in the other.
  • 3.    The session of CORC writes that “the Church of Ottawa specifically, and the Classis North in general, be given the task of continuing the contacts with the CORC (pg. 5).”
  • 4.     The CORC can be amply assisted by the churches in Classis Ontario North in a way considered responsible by these churches.


  • 1.     To express gratitude for the contacts which the Classis Ontario North, and especially the Church at Ottawa has with the CORC of Lower Sackville, and to express the hope that these contacts may continue fruitfully towards full unity of faith.
  • 2.     Not to accede to the request of the CORC to establish with them a sister­ church relationship but to urge the CORC and the Church at Ottawa along with Classis Ontario North to work at removing any obstacles preventing admission of the CORC into the Federation of the Canadian Reformed Churches.

Ill. Request from the Church at Ottawa to conduct a review as to procedures and policies re admission of other churches seeking to join the federation.


  • 1.     The Church at Ottawa requests synod “that a review be conducted as to the procedures that should be followed and the policies which should be taken with respect to churches of a different historical background and development seeking to join the federation.”
  • 2.    The Church at Ottawa expresses the concern not one but different policies could be followed in the churches with respect to the admis­sion of others.


  • 1.     The procedure for admitting other churches to the federation has always been a matter of local churches with the judgment of classis and the concurring advice of deputies of regional synod.
  • 2.     Other churches can only be admitted to the Federation of Canadian Reformed Churches if they fully accept the basis of these churches and bind themselves to the Three Forms of Unity and the Church Order of Dort.
  • 3.    Since this procedure is rather straightforward, it is not necessary that Synod formulate strict rules or set up a committee to study the recom­mend such rules.


Synod decide:

  • Not to accede to the request of the Church at Ottawa to review the rules for admission to the federation.

IV.   Guidelines re differences in eldership.


  • 1.     The Church at Ottawa requests that if the request of the COAC is denied, synod shall give some guidelines as to how the Church at Ottawa and Classis Ontario North should deal with differences in eldership.
  • 2.    The CORC requests synod to appoint a study committee to study “the following issues of concern in regard to the office and task of ruling elders, i.e., 1) life ordination, and 2) preparation of original exhortations and the administration of the sacraments  in the  absence of  a minister or unavailability of pulpit supply.”


  • 1.     The policy and practice with respect to the terms and duties of the office­ bearers in the Canadian Reformed Churches have been clearly defined in the confessions, forms, and order of the churches. It is clear that all the churches in the federation have obligated and do obligate themselves to abide by these adopted rules.
  • 2.     This does not mean that compelling local circumstances cannot lead the churches to accept various existing situations, which are not against Scripture, when a church of a different background and development is admitted to the federation. A church admitted to the federation is, from then on, in future decisions and policies, obligated to abide by the adopted church order.


Synod decide:

  • Not to adopt further guidelines or to appoint a study committee to study the expressed issues of concern with respect to the office and task of elder.

The recommendations are ADOPTED.