26 Aug GS 2022 art 119
GS 2022 Article 119 – CRTS (Board of Governors) Supplementary Report (Foreign Students)
- 1.1 CRTS/BoG Supplementary Report to GS 2022 (126.96.36.199); the Supplement proposes that GS 2022 approve a method by which the Canadian Reformed Churches can provide financial support to theological students of the Free Reformed Churches in South Africa (FRCSA) studying at CRTS.
- 1.2 CRTS/BoG Report GS 2022: Sub-section South Africa (188.8.131.52).
- 1.3 Letters from the following CanRC: Burlington Waterdown-Rehoboth (184.108.40.206), Willoughby Heights (220.127.116.11), Aldergrove (18.104.22.168), Yarrow (22.214.171.124), Glanbrook-Trinity (126.96.36.199), Langley (188.8.131.52), Toronto-Bethel (184.108.40.206), Grassie-Covenant (220.127.116.11).
- 2.1 The submissions were declared admissible.
- 3.1 That financial assistance for theological students of the Free Reformed Churches in South Africa (FRCSA) be provided by means of freewill giving to the Foreign Students’ Bursary Fund (FSBF).
- 4.1 Past general synods encouraged Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary (CRTS) to support the FRCSA in providing theological education for their students (GS 2010 Art. 82 Rec.4.3; GS 2013 Art. 132 Rec. 4.2 & 4.3; GS 2016 Art. 47 Rec. 4.3). GS 2007 (Art. 124 Rec. 4.2) and GS 2010 (Art. 82 Rec. 4.2) have also encouraged the churches to prayerfully and financially support FRCSA.
- 4.2 In September 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was approved by the CRTS/BoG (Board of Governors) and the Deputies (Curators) for Theological Training of the FRCSA (MoU; dd. May 2016). The MoU established the broad framework for this relationship. In December 2017, the MoU was broadened to include the provision of financial support for FRCSA students via the Foreign Students’ Bursary Fund (FSBF). With respect to having the authority to enter into such an agreement, the College Act 5.11a grants the BoG: “…conduct, management and control of the College and of its property, revenues, expenditures, business and affairs … and the Board has all powers necessary or convenient to perform its duties and achieve the object and purpose of the College” (as cited in GS 2019 Art. 84 Obs. 2.9.1). In November 2021, the Deputies of the FRCSA appealed to the Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad (CRCA) and to GS 2022 requesting financial assistance now that the number of theological students in their federation is increasing.
- 4.3 The Needy Students’ Fund was established according to CO Art. 20 to provide financial support for theological students of the CanRCs. The intention of the FSBF is to provide financial assistance to foreign theological students; therefore, although the FSBF was not originally established with the intention of supporting all the theological students from a particular federation, it is appropriate to use the FSBF for the support of the theological students of the FRCSA.
- 4.4 None of the churches which addressed GS 2022 on this matter, objected to providing financial support to FRCSA theological students; however, objections were raised to meeting this need by way of assessment. In view of the nature of our obligation to the FRCSA students, which is an obligation of love, it would be preferable to meet this need by way of freewill giving to the FSBF. Further, freewill giving, rather than an ecclesiastical assessment, more appropriately meshes with the way that the FSBF operates. Finally, the number of students coming from the FRCSA will fluctuate from year to year, and consequently, so will the need. Again, freewill giving to the FSBF is the most appropriate way of responding to these circumstances.
- 4.5 The CanRC have a sister-church relationship with the FRCSA. Within the framework of that relationship, the FRCSA have decided that the CRTS would function as their federational seminary. Consequently, our relationship with, and obligation to, the theological students of the FRCSA is a unique one. The uniqueness of this relationship has been formalized by means of a Memorandum of Understanding which has been ratified by the CRTS/BoG and the Deputies of the FRCSA.