10 Jul GS 2016 art 49
GS 2016 Article 49 – CCCNA (Committee for Contact with Churches in North America) – General
- 1.1 The Committee for Contact with Churches in North America (CCCNA) – General (8.2.4)
- 1.2 Letters from the following CanRC: Carman-West (22.214.171.124), Cloverdale (126.96.36.199), Fergus-North (188.8.131.52), Smithville (184.108.40.206), Fergus-Maranatha (220.127.116.11), Hamilton-Blessings (18.104.22.168), Lynden (22.214.171.124), Lincoln-Vineyard (126.96.36.199), Toronto-Bethel (188.8.131.52)
- 1.3 Letter from CCCNA, February 10, 2016 re: appointment of committee members (184.108.40.206)
- 1.4 Letter from CCCNA, May 2, 2016 re: appointment of committee members (9.2)
- 2.1 GS 2013 (Art. 55) decided to mandate the CCCNA:
- [4.1.1] To continue contact with all those churches in the Americas with which we have Ecclesiastical Fellowship (EF) according to the adopted rules, and in accordance with the mandates described in decisions taken by synod with respect to the churches with which we have ongoing relationship;
- [4.1.2] To investigate diligently all the requests received for entering into EF in the Americas;
- [4.1.3] To respond, if possible and feasible, to specific requests made to attend assemblies, synods, or meetings of other churches in the Americas;
- [4.1.4] To report on its findings with suitable recommendations to the next General Synod, and to present to the churches a report of its work six months prior to the convening of the General Synod.
- 2.2 The CCCNA maintained its Subcommittees East and West. Subcommittee West was responsible for contacts with the RCUS, RPCNA and NAPARC. Subcommittee East was responsible for contacts with the ERQ and OPC. At least two members of each subcommittee attended NAPARC in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
- 2.3 The CCCNA asks that the Rev. P.H. Holtvlüwer, Rev. E. Kampen, and br. C. Poppe be discharged from the committee and thanked for their years of service to the churches as members of the CCCNA.
- 2.4 The CCCNA asks that it not be required to pursue outstanding matters of difference with particular churches with whom we have already established Ecclesiastical Fellowship (EF). The committee asks that, if Synod asks the CCCNA to pursue outstanding matters of difference, the purpose and goal of having such discussions should be clearly spelled out in the mandate.
- 2.5 The CCCNA recommends that the mandate, as stated by GS 2010, be renewed, for the CCCNA until 2019.
- 2.6 Carman-West, Hamilton-Blessings, and Toronto-Bethel concur with the concern of the CCCNA that ongoing discussion of outstanding matters threatens progress in the EF relationships we have or desire to build.
- 2.7 Cloverdale suggests that the questions used by the OPC in their ecclesiastical contacts also be considered for use by our committee in their contact with churches with whom we have ecclesiastical fellowship.
- 2.8 Cloverdale cautions the committee about the manner of its reporting. The mandate of the committee is given by Synod and not by ‘a small number of churches’ (3.1 of the CCCNA Report).
- 2.9 Fergus-North, Fergus-Maranatha, and Smithville disagree with the request of the CCCNA to remove specific questions of outstanding differences from the mandate of the committee in regard to churches with whom we have EF. These issues of difference need to be explored further.
- 2.10 Lynden expresses concern about the amount of time and resources spent on the fulfilment of the mandate of this committee. Lynden urges Synod to be sober about the requirement for and benefits of committing time and effort to the maintenance of current relationships and the exploring of new relationships.
- 2.11 Lynden alleges that the rules of EF have not been applied consistently in our relationships with other churches. If we stop discussing outstanding differences with other churches, when those differences are not resolved, we are acting inconsistently.
- 3.1 The CCCNA carried out its mandate diligently.
- 3.2 Rule 1 of EF states that “the churches shall assist each other in the maintenance, defense and promotion of the Reformed faith in doctrine, church polity, discipline and liturgy, and be watchful for deviations.” Within this context there is always room for brotherly discussion about differences in matters of doctrine and practice.
- 3.3 When we enter into EF we accept each other as faithful churches without qualifications. Differences that were noted and discussed prior to EF, but which did not hinder entering into EF, do not require resolution. It is incorrect to speak of “outstanding differences.” The word “outstanding” implies a need for resolution. Bringing up these issues repeatedly, without proper proof of necessity, is potentially damaging to sister-church relationships. Discussion of these issues may take place naturally in the course of EF, but a specific mandate, identifying particular issues, need not be given.
- 3.4 If a synod asks the CCCNA to pursue specific matters of difference, the purpose and goal of having such discussions should be clearly spelled out in the mandate.
- 3.5 The questions used by the OPC in their relationships with other churches capture the spirit of humility and service that ought to characterize relationships between churches.
- 3.6 Lynden has raised a concern about the proper use of resources. However, Lynden did not make a specific proposal. The CCCNA was able to do meaningful work on behalf of the churches while spending the churches’ resources wisely.
- 3.7 Cloverdale’s concern about the manner of reporting is valid. The mandate of the committee is given by a synod, not by a small number of churches.
That Synod decide:
- 4.1 To mandate the Committee for Contact with Churches in North America (CCCNA):
- 4.1.1 To continue contact with all those churches in North America with which we have Ecclesiastical Fellowship (EF) according to the adopted rules and in accordance with the mandates described in decisions taken by synod with respect to the churches with which we have ongoing relationships;
- 4.1.2 To investigate diligently all the requests received for entering into EF in North America;
- 4.1.3 To respond, if possible and feasible, to specific requests to attend assemblies, synods, or meetings of other churches in North America;
- 4.1.4 To report on its findings with suitable recommendations to the next general synod and to present to the churches a report of its work six months prior to the convening of the next general synod.
- 4.2 To discharge the Rev. P.H. Holtvlüwer, the Rev. E. Kampen, and br. C. Poppe from the CCCNA and to thank them for their years of service to the churches as members of this committee.
- 4.3 To recommend the questions of the Committee for Ecumenicity and Inter-church Relations (CEIR) of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) for the consideration and usage of the committee at its discretion.