12 Jun GS 1998 art 73
Article 72 – Committee for Contact with Churches Abroad
Committee III makes their proposal.
Committee III presents Items ID, IIFF, IIW, IV T, IV V, IV W,
- 1. The Report of the CRCA
- 2. Letters from the churches at Aldergrove, Elora, Orangeville, Taber, Yarrow
- A. The CRCA has been having internal discussions on the matter of how best to deal with requests to enter into new relationships with churches in different parts of the world (eg. Lanka Reformed Church).
- B. The CRCA has also been led to question whether it is possible for a small church federation such as ours to do justice to an ever-increasing number of relationships (via establishing ecclesiastical Fellowship with churches in different parts of the world, or via the ICRC).
- C. The CRCA observes that the sister churches in the Netherlands have pursued many relations around the world, also in North America. This makes for a more complicated, even confusing ecclesiastical scene. The CRCA observes that “it would seem more realistic and responsible for the RCN to concentrate its efforts on establishing relations with faithful Reformed churches in its part of the world and for the CanRC to do the same in North and South America.
- D. The Committee considers that this may give a more focused approach, which will enable them to do greater justice to present and future relations, make better use of manpower and resources, and prevent overlap and possible disagreement between sister churches.
- E. The CRCA recommends that Synod mandate the Committee as follows:
- 1. Whenever the CanRC receives new requests for entering into Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the CanRC priority will be given to churches located in the Americas, that is North and South America;
- 2. Whenever the CRCA receives a new request from a church located in Africa, Asia or Europe to enter into Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the CanRC, it shall direct that church to take up contact with one of the sister churches in that part of the world;
- 3. Discussions be entered into with those churches with which we currently maintain Ecclesiastical Fellowship with a view to the merits of this strategy and to ask them to give serious consideration to adopting the same.
- F. The church at Aldergrove considers that CRCA does not substantiate why the RCN’s large number of contacts abroad might make meaningful relations with those churches impossible. The CRCA fails to argue why the size of our federation makes contact with churches beyond the Americas irresponsible.
- G. The churches at Elora and Taber fully endorse the recommendations of the CRCA.
- H. The church at Orangeville support the recommendation of the Committee to give priority to establishing relationships with churches in our immediate geographical area (North and South America). To facilitate the implementation of the proposal of the Committee Orangeville suggests a restructuring of the Committees appointed for contact with other churches.
- I. The church at Yarrow overtures Synod to mandate the CRCA
- 1. Whenever the CanRCs receive new requests for entering into Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the CanRCs priority will be given to churches located in the Americas, that is, North and South America;
- 2. Discussions be undertaken with the current sister churches on the advantages and disadvantages of the ‘regionalized’ approach (as proposed by the CRCA) and a full report be provided six months prior to Synod 2001.
- A. The reports and actions of the CRCA make clear that the time has come for reviewing the manner in which we maintain and establish our international contacts.
- B. The CRCA is correct when it suggests that it would seem more realistic and responsible for our sister churches to concentrate their efforts on establishing relations with faithful Reformed churches in their parts of the world and for the Canadian Reformed Churches to do the same in North and South America.
- C. Restructuring the work of CRCA should not detract from our ecumenical calling. Therefore Synod upholds the consideration of Synod Lincoln 1992, Article 128 III D, namely that “a regional approach towards contact with other churches does not exclude the worldwide calling, and cannot avoid worldwide contacts, although by reason of proximity, resources and other practical factors, priority should be given to the ecumenical calling in the church’s home environment.”
- D. The proposal of the church at Orangeville facilitates a restructuring of the Committees for contact with other churches. With this approach Synod addresses the concerns of the CRCA in the following manner:
- 1. Committee for Relations with Churches Abroad
- a. This Committee will continue functioning as the present Committee for Relations with Churches Abroad (that is those outside of North and South America) with whom we presently have a relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship.
- b. A request for contact will be followed up in consultation with a sister-church in the part of the world from which the request originates.
- 2. Committee for Contact with Churches in the Americas.
- This Committee will take over the mandate of the CRCA in as far as it relates to the Americas by establishing and maintaining relationships of ecclesiastical fellowship with churches located in North and South America.
- 1. Committee for Relations with Churches Abroad
- E. By this approach the need for prior consultation with sister-churches abroad is obviated and the points raised by the church at Aldergrove and Yarrow are addressed.
- A. To restructure the committees for contact with other churches into two Committees known as the Committee for Relation with Churches Abroad (CRCA) and the Committee for Contact with Churches in the Americas (CCCA).
- B. To take this into consideration when formulating the mandate of the CRCA and the CCCA and when making Committee appointments.