31 Jul GS 2010 art 17
GS 2010 Article 17 – Letter from Churches, Speeches by Various Fraternal Delegates and by an Observer
A letter from the Free Church of Scotland (FCS) was read. They were unable to send a delegation but expressed their appreciation for the relationship with the CanRC.
A letter from the Reformed Church of New Zealand (RCNZ) was read as well. This church was also unable to send a fraternal delegate, but extended warm greetings, commending the brothers at synod to the Lord. They were delighted at the various contacts with delegates from the CanRC and encouraged by cooperation in mission work in Papua New Guinea. Rev. R. Schouten introduced the delegates from the FRCA, br. Pleiter and br. VanderVen. He commented on the vibrant bonds with these churches and the many things in common with them, including cooperation in support for the Theological College.
Br. Pleiter then addressed the assembly, bringing greetings from the FRCA. He emphasized the various connections with the CanRC and the need to continue to spend time together, strengthening the bond that unites us. The FRCA enjoys growth, also from immigration. There are now fourteen congregations and prospects for further development. Mission work also continues in different parts of the world. Br. Pleiter devoted some time to various questions and concerns and concluded by wishing the CanRC the blessings of the Lord. The full text of his speech can be found in Appendix 3. Rev. J. VanWoudenberg introduced the delegates from the URCNA, the Revs. J. Bouwers, P. Vellenga, and H. Zekveld.
Rev. Bouwers gave a speech on behalf of the URCNA. He mentioned statistics in regard to these churches, touching on the fact that many of them are in the United States. There are challenges and difficulties in regard to the unity process. He called for fortitude and commitment in continuing efforts to pursue unity, mentioning as examples of some obstacles the lingering fears in the URCNA of hierarchy as well as tendencies toward congregationalism. Unity may come at the cost of some uniformity among the Canadian
Reformed Churches. However, there can be a scriptural multiformity that is different from a sinful pluriformity. The unity process so far has already been deeply beneficial for both federations as interaction between the churches has heightened. He stressed the importance of face to face dialogue also at the level of Synod, which is to be preferred to communication by “pen and ink.” His speech can be found in Appendix 4.
Rev. P. Holtvlüwer introduced the Revs. L. Johnson and J. Merica of the RCUS, giving an overview of the history of various contacts between the RCUS and the CanRC.
Rev. Merica then gave a speech, indicating appreciation for the bonds with the CanRC. He spoke in particular of the faithfulness of the CanRC to the Rules for EF, highlighting the various items that were agreed upon together. The interchurch relationship is very functional and he commended the CanRC for diligence in this, also by challenging the RCUS to self-examination in various ways. In the midst of difficulties, together with Christians of the past, we may confess that “the LORD reigns” (Psalm 93) and in him we have the victory. He expressed the desire of the RCUS to continue to be fellow labourers in the service of the Lord. After reading Titus 2:1-8, he emphasized that the RCUS recognizes the need for their own seminary. In closing, he urged the delegates to remain focused on God’s glory and his Kingdom. The full text of his speech can be found in Appendix 5.
Br. J. Kuik introduced Rev. DongSup Song, who came as an observer from the RCK.
Rev. Song then gave an address, describing various factors contributing to the separate existence of the RCK as Reformed Churches. He closed with the prayer that the Lord would enable us to help each other for his name’s sake and for the upbuilding of his people.