A significant moment for reconciliation of Reformed church groups

New global Protestant body will help overcome 'history of separation'

The creation of the 80 million-member World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) marks an opportunity “to reinvigorate Reformed witness” in a fractured world, says one of the architects of the union.

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“We are at a very significant moment to witness to the reconciliation we find in Christ,” said Clifton Kirkpatrick, president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), which will unite with the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) in June 2010.

Kirkpatrick’s comments came Wednesday in the midst of the first meeting of the governing bodies of the uniting organizations taking place at Utrecht from 6 to 10 October. The WARC Officers and the REC Executive Committee are meeting to finalize a draft constitution, by-laws, staffing, structure and logo for WCRC.

“This is not a merger or a takeover but the creation of something new,” added Peter Borgdorff, president of REC. “I am very excited that this has come about. At its core Reformed history is a history of separation. This is a global witness that emphasizes the better and more excellent way.”

The Utrecht meeting is being hosted by the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, which was created in a merger in 2004 of the Netherlands Reformed Church, Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. WARC and REC leaders have praised the Netherlands union as one of the inspirations behind the creation of WCRC.

Arjan Plaisiers, general secretary of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, said that as inheritors of a common heritage, Reformed Protestants are not called to merely make space for ecumenical bodies but to respond to Christ’s call to unity. “We need each other for a common witness and so I am very happy that this union is taking place. And we are very proud to host it,” Plaisiers said at a news conference.

Earlier in the week arenda Masnoot, the vice-moderator of the Netherlands church, warmly welcomed the two governing bodies, with hopes that the meeting would offer a strong foundation for the new organization. “The World Communion of Reformed Churches will be an important body in promoting the Reformed heritage throughout the world,” she added.

At the outset of the meeting WARC general secretary Setri Nyomi said he was excited by the union process which will offer the Reformed family an opportunity to show to a broken world that the church can heal some of its divisions. “This is a major contribution to Christian unity.” Added REC general secretary Richard van Houten, “I am encouraged by this work of bringing together two important Reformed organizations.”

WCRC will represent 80 million Reformed Christians around the world. WARC has 75 million members in 214 churches in 107 countries. REC has 12 million members in 41 churches in 25 countries.

The uniting General Council for WCRC will meet in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in June 2010 under the theme, “Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. ”

Quelle: Homepage des WARC: http://warc.jalb.de/warcajsp/side.jsp?news_id=1619&part_id=0&navi=6

Neue Weltgemeinschaft der Reformierten Kirchen soll 2010 entstehen - epd-Meldung

Barbara Schenck