GS 2007 art 86

GS 2007 Article 86 – Presbyterian Church in Korea (PCK)

The advisory committee presented its proposal:

1.      Material

  • 1.1     CRCA Report 4
  • 1.2-5 Letters from the following four churches:
  • Burlington-Fellowship, Ottawa, Yarrow, Fergus North (2)

2.      Observations

  • 2.1     The contact between the CRCA and the PCK remains sporadic. Several letters have been sent to the PCK and a letter and an email were received. A report was received on the decisions of one general assembly but no report was received on three other assemblies. In addition, some limited discussions took place with delegates from the PCK in both Pretoria (2005) and Armadale (2006).
  • 2.2     The CRCA was charged to discuss existing differences in confession and polity with the PCK and was able to have some discussions on these matters. The CRCA received the impression that the PCK is of the opinion that no further discussions are required on these matters.
  • 2.3     Differences relating to distance and language continue to hamper the work of the CRCA.
  • 2.4     While our sister churches in South Africa have terminated their relationship with the PCK, the sister churches in Australia report that personal visitations to Korea have improved communication.
  • 2.5     The CRCA wants synod to decide whether or not the relationship is functioning positively; whether or not the discussions on differences are complete; and whether or not specific matters need further attention. It also wants a mandate to monitor the PCK’s commitment to improved relations, as well as a decision for the next synod to end the relationship with the PCK if no improvement is forthcoming.
  • 2.6     Ottawa supports the CRCA’s report on the PCK but takes exception to 4.6.4 about the next synod ending relations. They report their positive experience with a member from the PCK who joined their church.
  • 2.7     Yarrow urges synod to continue the CRCA’s mandate to discuss the differences, which they call “divergencies.”
  • 2.8     Fergus North agrees with giving the CRCA a mandate to monitor the commitment of the PCK to improved relations and to report on this to the next synod. The same church believes that Recommendation 4.6.4 should not be adopted seeing that Synod 2007 can not make a decision for Synod 2010 and thus instruct that synod to end relations.
  • 2.9     Synod received three delegates and one observer from the PCK. One of these delegates addressed synod and apologized for the poor communications. He also stated that it was a strong desire of the PCK to continue to have and to build on the relationship that exists between our churches. In addition, the three delegates and the observer met with the officers of synod introducing their churches and repeated much of what can be found in 4.3 of the Report of the CRCA.

3.      Considerations

  • 3.1     This report shows that communication between our churches and the PCK remains a challenge. There are times when it improves and times when it does not. Much of this appears to depend on PCK committee members changing often, as well as on language, distance, and cultural problems. Still, there has been progress again of late and this needs to be monitored. In addition, the CRCA should follow the example of the FRCA and consider sending a member of the committee more often to Korea for face to face meetings. It may also be possible and fruitful to share the visitation load with other sister churches.
  • 3.2     Fergus North is correct that it is not within the power of this synod to instruct the next synod as to what to do with relations with the PCK.
  • 3.3     The presence of three delegates and one observer at Synod Smithers at considerable time and expense indicates that the PCK does takes our relations seriously and wishes to maintain and promote them.
  • 3.4     Previous synods have instructed the committee to deal with certain confessional and church polity differences between our respective churches without having reached resolution. Seeing that Synod Fergus 1998 (Acts, Art. 130, pp.157-8) reached agreement between the OPC and our churches on these differences (fencing the Lord’s Supper and confessional membership), it would be helpful to send the text of this agreement to the PCK for their consideration and reaction.

4.      Recommendation

Synod decide:

  • 4.1     To continue the Relationship of Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the Presbyterian Church in Korea according to the adopted rules.
  • 4.2     To express thankfulness to the PCK for sending such a large delegation to synod thereby indicating the value they place on our relations.
  • 4.3     To charge the committee:
    • 4.3.1    To work diligently on improving our relations with the PCK by mail/email, by meeting with their delegates at the ICRC, and by sending a member of the CRCA to Korea on a more regular basis.
    • 4.3.2    To contact those sister churches who have relations with the PCK with the request that we alternate with them in visiting the General Assembly of the PCK.
    • 4.3.3    To send a copy of our agreement with the OPC to the PCK and ask for their reaction and possible agreement.
    • 4.3.4    To report on the state of communications to the next synod.
  • 4.4     To thank the committee for the work done on its mandate.