GS 2007 art 140

GS 2007 Article 140 – North American Reformed and Presbyterian Council (NAPARC)

The advisory committee presented its proposal:

1.      Material

  • 1.1     CCCA Report 7
  • 1.2     Supplementary Report of CCCA
  • 1.3-6 Letters from the following four churches:
  • Brampton, Burlington Fellowship, Carman East, Spring Creek.

2.      Observations

  • 2.1     Synod Neerlandia (Art. 74) summarized a request from the CCCA: “since the ERQ, the OPC and the RCUS are involved with NAPARC, and since the membership of the CRC has been suspended, the CCCA requests permission of Synod to send an observer to a future meeting of NAPARC to investigate its character and the usefulness of joining this organization.” Synod Neerlandia considered that sending an observer “is warranted because of our growing relationships with the ERQ, OPC and RCUS,” and so gave the CCCA permission “to send an observer, at its own discretion, to future meetings of NAPARC to investigate its usefulness and possible membership in this organization.”
  • 2.2     Synod Chatham received a detailed report from the CCCA about NAPARC, including details about its basis, purpose, function, authority and membership (see Acts, pp. 264-6). Synod Chatham (Art. 30) summed up the CCCA’s evaluation regarding NAPARC: “the committee suggests that membership may be useful to provide support to our sister churches, the OPC and RCUS, which are member churches of NAPARC.” It also adds that it may “help to express greater unity with the ERQ, and to fulfil the Biblical calling to foster unity with other reformed churches.” Hence synod gave the CCCA the mandate “to continue to send an observer to NAPARC.” The CCCA was also to consider whether potential membership in NAPARC was in fact a “significant duplication in the purposes, function and membership of… the ICRC,” and was also to explore whether NAPARC could possibly be “integrated into the ICRC.”
  • 2.3     Members of the CCCA attended the NAPARC meetings of 2004 and 2006.
  • 2.4     The churches with whom the CCCA was instructed to communicate have repeatedly and persistently encouraged the Canadian Reformed Churches to become members of NAPARC. They argue that this forum, concentrated as it is in North America, gives member churches periodic opportunity to speak together on issues of mutual concern or interest. NAPARC also gives extra accountability and cooperation among faithful Reformed churches on the same continent.
  • 2.5     The CCCA has experienced that attendance at NAPARC has proven to be “very useful for providing a forum for meeting other Reformed churches.” A financial obligation of $500 annually is attached to NAPARC membership. Attendance at the annual meeting is also expected.
  • 2.6     The CCCA recommends that synod decide to give the CCCA the mandate to apply for membership within NAPARC.
  • 2.7     Brampton encourages synod to apply for membership in NAPARC. Brampton lists a number of benefits, including getting to know other churches seriously committed to promoting the Reformed faith in North America, being able to share and discuss common issues, and possibilities for extra accountability and cooperation among faithful Reformed churches.
  • 2.8     Burlington South “especially endorses involvement in NAPARC as a means of maintaining meaningful relations and exerting an influence at these meetings.”
  • 2.9     Carman East says that “NAPARC would appear to be added-value over and above our membership in the ICRC and for that reason we support the Committee’s recommendation to join NAPARC.”
  • 2.10   Spring Creek would like the CanRC to join NAPARC. “There are numerous advantages in joining this organization, one of them being that a closer personal contact can be established via this organization with the Reformed and Presbyterian Churches on this North American continent in their meetings.”

3.      Considerations

  • 3.1     Historically, the CanRC have declined to be involved with NAPARC because the Christian Reformed Church of North America was a member. In 2002 the expulsion of the CRCNA from NAPARC was confirmed. In 2002 and 2003 CanRC observers first attended NAPARC, and reported positively to Synod Chatham 2004 of their experiences.
  • 3.2     The CCCA reported to Synod Chatham that this fellowship of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches is fully committed “to the Bible in its entirety as the Word of God written, without error in all its parts and to its teaching as set forth in the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms” (see Acts of Synod Chatham, pp. 264-5). Similarly, “all actions and decisions taken are advisory in character and in no way curtail or restrict the autonomy of the member bodies.” The foundation and authority of NAPARC are not hindrances to membership.
  • 3.3     The current membership of NAPARC consists of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, l’Église réformée du Quebec, the Korean American Presbyterian Church, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church of America, the Reformed Church in the United States, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America and the United Reformed Churches of North America. The CanRC have close contacts with five of these eight churches.
  • 3.4     The CCCA reports that their participation at the meetings of NAPARC has given them opportunity to interact meaningfully with the sister churches as well as with other churches with whom contact has been established. Issues of joint concern, as well as matters wherein differences exist, have been and can continue to be discussed in this forum.
  • 3.5     The churches that corresponded with synod about NAPARC all favour our seeking to join this organization.

4.      Recommendation

Synod decide:

  • 4.1     To thank the CCCA for the work they have done in relation to NAPARC.
  • 4.2     To instruct the CCCA to apply for membership in NAPARC.