GS 2013 art 175

GS 2013 Article 175 – Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA) – Miscellaneous Items

Committee 3 presented its proposal. With some minor changes, this was the result:

1.         Material:

Report of CRCA (8.2.1), letter from the church at Abbotsford (

2.         Observation:

  • 2.1.      The CRCA reports on incidental contact with several church federations around the world. In instances where that contact was initiated by those other church federations the CRCA sought to be of assistance. Where that contact came about through CanRCs the CRCA encouraged those congregations to do their own research and bring proposals to synod through the minor assemblies if they thought that pursuing contact would have value.
  • 2.2.      The CRCA has customarily provided letters of testimony for ministers preaching in foreign countries. It now argues that it should not be the designated body for issuing their ‘declarations’ because (a) it is never officially informed about the changing status of candidates and ministers; and (b) when a minister leaves a church to serve elsewhere it is the consistory with the deacons that issues an official declaration.
  • 2.3.      The CRCA proposes that synod decide:
    • [1.]       The practice of issuing declarations by the CRCA to ministers who will be preaching in sister churches shall be discontinued;
    • [2.]       Ministers who need such a declaration should request one from their own consistory.
  • 2.4.      Abbotsford supports the CRCA proposal.

3.         Considerations:

  • 3.1.      It is evident from all the reports prepared by the CRCA that the committee has been diligent in fulfilling its mandate;
  • 3.2.      It is appropriate that the CRCA continues to follow the established rule that new contacts with other churches should not be pursued by the CRCA without the prior involvement of the minor assemblies.
  • 3.3.      For CRCA declarations to be meaningful they require input from the local consistory which has oversight over the ministers (and candidates) concerned. Since it would be simpler for the consistory to issue such declarations and also consistent with Article 5 CO, this is appropriate.

4.         Recommendations:

That Synod decide:

  • 4.1.      To thank the CRCA for the manner in which it has fulfilled its mandate;
  • 4.2.      That the practice of issuing declarations by the CRCA to ministers who will be preaching in sister churches shall be discontinued;
  • 4.3.      That those declarations must be provided by the consistories instead.