GS 2010 art 157

GS 2010 Article 157 – Reformed Churches in Brazil (RCB)

1.          Material

  • 1.1        Report E from CRCA re: The Reformed Churches in Brazil (8.2.m).
  • 1.2       Letter from Attercliffe (8.3.M.26).

2.          Observations

  • 2.1        Synod Smithers 2007 mandated the CRCA to continue the relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship with the RCB under the adopted rules, either directly or via the sending churches for mission in Brazil (Acts, Article 128).
  • 2.2        The CRCA reports to Synod 2010 that it informed the RCB of the decision to continue ecclesiastical fellowship. However, it also reports that due to barriers of language and due also to the heavy workload of the Brazilian ministers and missionaries, contact with the RCB has been sporadic.
  • 2.3        The CRCA Report mentions that in May 2008, a Council (Synod) of the RCB decided to suspend contact “for the time being” with the IPB due to the disunity this issue had generated in the RCB and because of the lack of time, money and personnel to more thoroughly investigate the IPB.
  • 2.4        Also at the May 2008 Council, encouraging reports were heard concerning two existing churches which had recently embraced the Reformed faith and were now seeking entrance into the RCB. It was decided that one of these churches would be received as a sister church with entrance into the federation in 2010, while the other would be visited by the Church Visitors who would report to the next Council.
  • 2.5        The CRCA sent a letter of greeting and encouragement to the Council which took place on Oct. 13-16 of 2008. In addition, the CRCA was represented at this Council by Rev. C. VanSpronsen. His subsequent report to the CRCA highlights the many contacts of the RCB and the strong interest shown in the Reformed faith both by existing congregations and individuals in the work and life of the RCB. The RCB are diligent in using many different means to spread the Reformed faith (radio broadcasts, internet presence, symposia, and the activities of the Reading Room in Recife). His report also mentioned that the RCB suffer from a lack of manpower and financial resources. Furthermore, there is much work in the area of church discipline.
  • 2.6        The CRCA reports that in November of 2008, a letter was received from the RCB asking that the CanRC sponsor the RCB in their application to join the ICRC. The CRCA agreed to this request. The membership application of the RCB was received by the 2009 assembly of the ICRC.
  • 2.7        Attercliffe recommends that the CanRC intensify contact with the RCB and strive to help these churches with advice in preserving unity.

3.         Considerations

  • 3.1        It appears that the CRCA has fulfilled its mandate in regard to the RCB.
  • 3.2        In view of the strong links between the RCB and the CanRC, and in view of the challenges facing the RCB, every effort should be made to have contact with the RCB and to provide encouragement to these churches and their leaders. Where language is a barrier, the CRCA can work through contacts in those churches which maintain mission works in Brazil (Surrey-Maranatha and Hamilton-Cornerstone).

4.          Recommendation

That Synod decide:

  • 4.1        To express gratitude for the continued faithfulness and growth of the RCB.
  • 4.2       To mandate the CRCA:
    • 4.2.1     To continue the relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship with the RCB under the adopted rules.
    • 4.2.2     To use every opportunity to have contact with the RCB and to provide encouragement to these churches.