03 Apr GS 2004 art 98
GS 2004 Article 98 – CPEU re: General Mandate
Committee 2 presented its proposal on the report of the CPEU re: General Mandate. After several rounds of discussion, the following was adopted:
- 1.1. Report of the CPEU re: General Mandate
- 1.2. Letter from the church at Willoughby Heights
The letter from the church at Willoughby Heights is admissible since it interacts with the report of the CPEU.
- 3.1. Synod Escondido 2001 committed itself to working towards federative unity with the Canadian Reformed Churches (CanRC) and appointed ad-hoc committees to work with their counterparts of the CanRC on the church order, theological education and a common songbook.
- 3.2. In the ratification process that followed the decision of Synod Escondido 2001, the majority of the United Reformed Churches supported this decision.
- 3.3. The CPEU and the Committee for Ecumenical Relations and Church Unity of the URCNA (CERCU) only met once, since most of the work for the promotion of ecclesiastical unity was done by the sub-committees, in co-operation with their counterparts of the URCNA.
- 3.4. The report highlights the various activities and interactions between the CanRC and the URCNA at the local level, including pulpit exchanges and combined meetings to promote a greater understanding of the respective federations.
- 3.5. The various sub-committees within the CPEU provided their respective reports; however, there was no apparent interaction by the CPEU with them.
- 3.6. Synod Neerlandia 2001 mandated the CPEU to serve Synod 2004 with a single comprehensive report, to be sent to the churches at least six months prior to the beginning of Synod. This report should have been prepared jointly with the CERCU of the URCNA. It was to readdress the matter of a definite timeframe for federative unity, with 2007 as a possible target date.
- 3.7. The CPEU recommends that General Synod Chatham 2004 reiterate the respective mandates of the sub-committees, the mandate of the CPEU for the pursuit of ecclesiastical unity with the URCNA, the mandate to continue dialogue with the FRCNA, and the mandate to explore possibilities of federative unity with the OCRC.
- 3.8. The church at Willoughby Heights is concerned that URCNA ministers have defended the socalled “Framework Hypothesis,” as reported in the Christian Renewal of February 26, 2001.
- 4.1. Synod is thankful for the work that the various committees have been able to complete thus far, and for the brotherly harmony and co-operation that has been experienced during the meetings.
- 4.2. Synod thankfully acknowledges the ratification of the Synod Escondido 2001 decision by the majority of United Reformed Churches.
- 4.3. Synod thankfully takes note of the various activities and interactions between the CanRC and the URCNA at the local level. It is through these means that our relationship can be further expressed and strengthened.
- 4.4. While the various sub-committees have had numerous meeting with their URCNA counterparts, the CPEU committee only met once with the CERCU of the URCNA. As a result they were unable to come to Synod Chatham 2004 with a single comprehensive report, or a recommendation for a definite timeframe for federative unity.
- 4.5. Synod agrees with the CPEU to reiterate that the committees, including the sub-committees, continue in the fulfillment of their respective mandates and submit their reports on a timely basis.
- 4.6. Since the “Framework Hypothesis” has been a matter of discussion in the unity talks between various Reformed church federations and URCNA, it would be beneficial that the CPEU also investigate this matter in our relationship with the URCNA.
- 4.7. In Article 73, Consideration 4.6, Synod Neerlandia refers to “Appendix 3” of the report of the CPEU. Unfortunately, this was not appended to the Acts of Synod Neerlandia 2001. In this appendix, entitled “Guidelines for Ecumenicity and Church Unity of the URCNA,” Phase Two of the relationship is called “Phase Two – Ecclesiastical Fellowship.” This document is now added as an appendix to the Acts of Synod Chatham 2004.
- 5.1. To thank the committee and its various sub-committees for their work.
- 5.2. To maintain the rules of Phase Two (Ecclesiastical Fellowship), so far as it concerns the churches in common (see Acts of Synod Neerlandia 2001, Article 73, Considerations 4.5 and 4.6).
- 5.3. To pursue continued fraternal dialogue with the URCNA with a view towards entering the final phase of federative unity.
- 5.4. To work closely with the sub-committees of the CPEU re: church order, theological education and a common songbook, consulting with them concerning the progress made.
- 5.5. To present a single comprehensive report, that has been prepared jointly with the CERCU of the URCNA to the next Synod, including a recommendation for a definite timeframe for federative unity.
- 5.6. To provide information to the churches at regular intervals.
- 5.7. To make themselves available upon request of Canadian Reformed Churches for advice on local developments with the URCNA.
- 5.8. To work closely with the CERCU of the URCNA.
- 5.9. To commence discussion concerning the “Framework Hypothesis” and the support this theory has within the URCNA, and serve the next synod with information concerning this matter.
- 5.10.To give the CPEU sub-committees the following specific mandate:
Re: Church Order
- 5.11.To express its appreciation for the valued contributions of Dr. J. De Jong to the work of the committee for a common church order.
- 5.12.To thank the Church Order Committee for its work.
- 5.13.To give the Church Order Committee the following mandate:
- 5.13.1. To continue to work closely with the committee re: church order appointed by the URCNA synods;
- 5.13.2. To continue in the evaluation of the differences between the current church orders of the federations, in the light of the scriptural and confessional principles and patterns of church government of the Church Order of Dort;
- 5.13.3. To propose a common church order in the line of the Church Order of Dort;
- 5.13.4. To formulate a draft proposal of regulations for General Synod;
- 5.13.5. To keep the CPEU updated on the progress;
- 5.13.6. To provide the CPEU with a report in sufficient time for them to produce the comprehensive report for Synod in a timely fashion.
- 5.14.To instruct the churches to forward their suggestions and concerns directly to the committee for its consideration.
Re: Theological Education Committee
- 5.15.To thank the Theological Education Committee for its work.
- 5.16.To give the Theological Education Committee the following mandate:
- 5.16.1. To continue working closely with the committee re: theological education appointed by the URCNA synods;
- 5.16.2. To continue the evaluation of the current situation as to theological education within the CanRC and the URCNA;
- 5.16.3. To develop a proposal concerning theological education within the new federation keeping in mind that:
- 18.104.22.168. The new federation should retain at least one federational theological school at which the board of governors, the professors and teaching staff are appointed by synod;
- 22.214.171.124. Attention should be given as to what to do in the case of an aspiring candidate to the ministry who does not have adequate instruction in significant courses in Reformed Doctrine, in Reformed Church Polity, or in Reformed Church History, as well as Reformed Homiletics.
- 5.16.4. To keep the CPEU updated on the progress;
- 5.16.5. To provide the CPEU with a report in sufficient time for them to produce the comprehensive report for Synod in a timely fashion.
Re: Common Songbook
- 5.17.To thank the committee for the common songbook for its work.
- 5.18.To give the committee the following mandate:
- 5.18.1. To continue working closely with the committee re: songbook appointed by the URCNA synods;
- 5.18.2. To continue to produce a songbook that contains the complete Anglo-Genevan Psalter and other suitable metrical versions of the Psalms, including hymns that also meet the standard of faithfulness to the Scriptures and the Reformed Confessions;
- 5.18.3. To keep the CPEU updated on the progress;
- 5.18.4. To provide the CPEU with a report in sufficient time for them to produce the comprehensive report for Synod in a timely fashion.
- 5.19.To give the committee the following mandate:
- 5.19.1. To represent the Canadian Reformed Churches (when invited) at meetings of the OCRC, with a view to promoting greater understanding and exploring the possibility of federative unity;
- 5.19.2. To develop a more concrete proposal toward establishing talks with the OCRC;
- 5.19.3. To specifically address with the OCRC whether it shares the mutual desire for federative unity with the CanRC;
- 5.19.4. To make themselves available upon request of Canadian Reformed Churches for advice on local developments.
- 5.20. To give the committee the following mandate:
- 5.20.1. To continue meeting with the FRCNA with a view to promoting federative unity, discussing whatever obstacles there may be on this path.
- 5.20.2. To specifically address with the FRCNA whether it shares the mutual goal of federative unity with the CanRC.
- 5.20.3. To encourage that the FRNCA be invited to meetings of Canadian Reformed classes and regional synods and to send copies of the Acts of Synod to each other with the purpose of pursuing meaningful interactions and discussions with the churches at the local level.