01 Feb GS 2004 art 40
GS 2004 Article 40 – Days of Prayer
Committee 2 presented its proposal on a letter from the church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) re: Days of Prayer. After several rounds of discussion, the following was adopted:
Letter from the church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) re: Article 54 of the Church Order
This letter should have come via inclusion in, or in response to, the report from the churches appointed for days of prayer ad Article 54 C.O. Since there is no report, Synod accepts the letter as admissible.
- 3.1. On July 14, 2003, the church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) requested both the churches appointed for days of prayer ad Article 54 C.O. to declare a day of prayer. The request was denied by both the churches at Burlington-Waterdown and Edmonton-Providence.
- 3.2. The church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) requested the day of prayer as they “feel that the current state of our nation is a ‘great affliction, the presence of which is felt throughout the churches.”’
- 3.3. The church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) supports their request by offering three key considerations:
- 3.3.1. “Bill C-250 has nearly become law.” Bill C-250 protects homosexuals from discrimination.
- 3.3.2. “Two provinces of Canada (BC and ON) are now issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.”
- 3.3. 3.That our general Christian freedom may be restricted.
- 3.4. While the churches at Burlington-Waterdown and Edmonton-Providence denied the request,
- they agreed that the current moral state of our country is both sad and deplorable and that this should be a matter of constant public prayer. However, they claim that it does not “affect the churches as churches” at this time.
- 3.5. The church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) questions the validity of the expression “does not yet affect the churches as churches” claiming that these sad events affect the churches “because the members are affected.”
- 3.6. The church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) asks “Synod to clarify the meaning of Article 54 C.O. in the context of the moral decline of our country.” They also “recommend that Synod encourage the churches appointed for calling a day of prayer still to call a day of prayer because of the current moral apostasy of our beloved nation, Canada.”
- 4.1. Synod has not received a report from the churches appointed for days of prayer ad Article 54 C.O. concerning their activities. While this may not have been done in the past, all committees or churches appointed by general synod should forward a report to synod on their activities.
- 4.2. It is understandable that the church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) is concerned about the current moral state of our nation.
- 4.3. Synod agrees with the church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) that the explanation given, for example, the phrase “does not yet affect the churches as churches,” is not helpful in that it provides no clarity as to the application of Article 54.
- 4.4. Article 54 states “In time of war, general calamities, and other great afflictions the presence of which is felt throughout the churches….” The plain reading of this article does not include the issue of general moral decline as reason for calling a day of prayer. “The examples mentioned in the Church Order make clear that these afflictions must be of an acute nature, of extreme severity and posing an immediate crisis for the life of the church and or the nation.” (cf. Letter to the editor by Rev. J.D. Wielenga, Clarion, Vol. 38 No. 23 [November 10, 1989], p. 502.)
- 4.5. The general moral decline of our nation should be a constant matter of congregational prayers.
- 5.1. To provide Consideration 4.4 to serve the church at Winnipeg (Redeemer) as the clarification of Article 54 C.O.
- 5.2. To deny the request of the church at Winnipeg (Redeemer).