Thursday, July 8, 2010

World Communion of Reformed Churches

Had the pleasure of living-in with 500 Presbyterians for 9 days recently! Under the theme ‘Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace’ 500 delegates representing churches in the Reformed family from around the world gathered in Grand Rapids Michigan in June. The new World Communion of Reformed Churches unites two international networks into one body representing 80 million Christians from 108 countries. Previously the Uniting Church was a member of one of the merging bodies, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. The Uniting Church was represented at the nine day meeting by 6 delegates. Our little Church’s influence was evident from the beginning when the new body adopted a modified form of the Uniting Church meeting procedures and was trained in them by Jill Tabart and Terence Corkin. Cross-cultural worship, daily bible study, workshops and various working groups on issues of theology, mission and justice marked each day, not to mention more references to Calvin than I've heard in m ylife untilnow! A highlight was a day dedicated to the history of the interaction between First and Second peoples in the USA, featuring a very powerful presentation from a Native American leader followed by a cultural festival, worship and celebration. I was struck by the wide theological and cultural diversity within the Reformed family. This new church family will be similar to all church families I am familiar with, and indeed, most human families – diverse, messy, but nevertheless capable, by God’s grace, of remaining united by the transcendent love of God and through shared participation in God’s mission of love to the world in and through Jesus Christ. The main issues emerging for the new body’s work include a focus on a new just and sustainable ‘economic architecture’. The WCRC will meet in full council every 7 years.