24 Jul GS 2013 art 161
GS 2013 Article 161 – Free Church of Scotland (FCS)
Committee 3 presented its third draft. With a minor changer, this was the result:
Report of the CRCA (8.2.1), letter from the church at Abbotsford (220.127.116.11)
- 2.1. Synod Burlington 2010 decided (Acts, Article 81, Recommendation 4.1 and 3):
- [4.1.] To continue the relationship of EF with the Free Church of Scotland (FCS) under the adopted rules:
- [4.3.] To provide the CRCA with the following mandate:
- [4.3.1.] To give due diligence to the Rules for EF and in the context of these rules to monitor the relationship the FCS has with the Church of Scotland;
- [4.3.2.] To encourage the FCS and the FCC to work earnestly at reconciliation and reunion;
- [4.3.2. [sic]] To send two committee members to the FCS and FCC with a view to encouraging them, also when it comes to the topic of the unity of the church.
- 2.2. CRCA report the following:
- 2.2.1. The brothers Jake Van Laar and John Vanderstoep attended the 2012 General Assembly of the FCS in Edinburgh and addressed the assembly.
- 2.2.2. The schism between the FCS and the FCC continues to be a sore point. There is ongoing conflict between the two federations. The offer of the CRCA to assist was gratefully noted, but not made use of. The fact that in 2010 the FCS adopted the possibility of singing hymns and using musical accompaniment in worship services has become a further block to the FCC for reunification. The CRCA does not know how it can assist.
- 2.2.3. In 2010 the Ecumenical Relations Committee of the FCS reported to the Assembly its decision to suspend discussions with representatives of the Church of Scotland.
- 2.2.4. The Free Church of Scotland continues to be a faithful church of the Lord Jesus Christ and seeks to abide by the Scriptures and the adopted confessions.
- 2.3. The CRCA recommends that Synod Carman 2013 gives them the following mandate:
- [1.] To continue the Relationship of EF with the FCS under the adopted rules;
- [2.] To be available to assist the FCS and FCC in any efforts at reconciliation and reunion, should that be requested;
- [3.] To continue personal contact with the FCS whenever that is possible or feasible (e.g. at meetings of the ICRC, mutual presence at assemblies of sister churches).
- 2.4. Abbotsford “finds it odd” that the CRCA report makes no mention of FCS congregations on the North American continent.
- 3.1. The CRCA has been diligent in carrying out its mandate. Because the FCS has suspended discussions with the Church of Scotland there is no longer a need to monitor this relationship and therefore this element can be removed from the mandate.
- 3.2. The CRCA’s proposal that its mandate be changed from encouraging the FCS and the FCC to work at reconciliation and reunion to being available to assist signals that the CRCA would rather be reactive than pro-active in this respect. This makes for less urgency to visit the FCS.
- 3.3. Abbotsford’s observation that there are FCS congregations on the North American continent was already noted by Synod Lincoln 1992 when EF began with the FCS. The presence of both the FCS and the FCC in North America is due to the fact that the split between the FCS and the FCC also impacts the North American scene.
That Synod decide:
- 4.1. To continue the relationship of EF with the FCS under the adopted rules;
- 4.2. To mandate the CRCA:
- 4.2.1. To be available to assist the FCS and FCC in any efforts at reconciliation and reunion, should that be requested;
- 4.2.2. To continue personal contact with the FCS whenever that is feasible (e.g. at meetings of the ICRC, mutual presence at assemblies of sister churches) and to leave it in the freedom of the CRCA to send delegates to their assemblies.
- 4.2.3. To encourage the congregations to seek out and strengthen ties with local FCS congregations in North America.