WARC: ''We are committed to justice,'' say Reformed church leaders

Leaders of two global networks of Reformed churches set to merge in June have issued a statement declaring their commitment to a continued focus on justice concerns following the merger. The text includes specific reference to racial justice.

The statement was drafted by members of a joint working group following meetings in Grand Rapids, United States, last week which focussed on the creation of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) from a union of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC).

Recognizing the role of some churches during the apartheid era in South Africa, the statement says, “We must confess that we have not always been faithful to God in working for justice. Apartheid, other forms of racism, gender injustice, injustice in the economy and climate injustice are just a few of the areas in which churches have often found themselves complicit.”

“The WCRC will build on a long history of justice related actions. This history includes declaring apartheid sinful and its theological justification a heresy”, the statement declares.

 

WARC’s president, Clifton Kirkpatrick, emphasizes, "This statement demonstrates clearly that the way we repudiate apartheid and all other forms of injustice as contrary to the gospel will continue in the life of the WCRC. We are absolutely committed to continue the tradition of active advocacy to end apartheid in all forms."

 

In affirming the joint commitment of the two organizations to principles of justice based on biblical text, REC’s president, Peter Borgdorff says, "The member churches of REC will enter the formation of the WCRC with enthusiasm for the proclamation of the ‘good news’ and the pursuit of biblical justice in every realm of God's creation.”

 

Richard van Houten, REC’s general secretary, notes, "It is very important that we affirm our commitment to justice at the beginning of the WCRC.  Justice is a profound biblical theme that reflects God-given rights to all human beings."

 

The WCRC is to be launched at the Uniting General Council (UGC) on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids (18-28 June).

 

WARC’s General Secretary, Setri Nyomi says, "I am glad that in this meeting of the joint working group we made a clear statement on justice.  Coming four months before the Uniting General Council, I look forward to how the World Communion of Reformed Churches will build on the Accra Confession and other instruments to continue a firm commitment to dismantling injustice in every form."

 

The Accra Confession, issued by WARC member churches in 2004, declares economic injustice and environmental destruction to be contrary to biblical teachings.

 

The full statement by the joint working group follows.

 

Statement by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) – Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) Joint Working Group

 

WARC-REC Joint Working Group calls on

WCRC Uniting General Council to commit to Justice

 

The Joint Working Group of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council calls on its member churches and delegates to the Uniting General Council to renew commitments to Justice in the world. This call was made in its meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, February 1 to 4, 2010.

 

Commitment to justice is very consistent with Reformed Theology and will be an important value and emphasis for the World Communion of Reformed Churches, which will come into being in June 2010.  The WCRC will build on a long history of justice related actions.  This history includes declaring apartheid sinful and its theological justification a heresy, as well as working for gender justice, economic justice and justice for persons affected by HIV/AIDS.  All members of the working Group affirm such a forthright stance of faith and continue to call for strengthening our Christian witness in any situation in which life is compromised.  We must confess that we have not always been faithful to God in working for justice.  Apartheid, other forms of racism, gender injustice, injustice in the economy and climate injustice are just a few of the areas in which churches have often found themselves complicit.  We give thanks to God that we all agree that these injustices should not be found in our churches. We are called upon to expose them and to work for justice.

 

The WCRC and its member churches understand our calling as a communion to be intricately linked with our commitment to justice. The ongoing reflection of churches on Communion and justice, as well as the work of covenanting for justice in the economy and the earth, will provide key elements for the discussions that will provide vision and direction for the future.  The encounters with native Americans during the Uniting General Council will be an expression of our commitment to justice for all.  We pray that what we will learn in those encounters will inspire us to honour people of the first nations in the Americas as well as deepen our commitment for justice for all.

 

We celebrate with joy the work of the Holy Spirit in uniting the two ecumenical instruments of the Reformed family. This union will foster spiritual and church renewal as well as deepen how we apply Reformed theology to actions and challenges of the 21st century.   

 

We invite all to pray towards the Uniting General Council and the formation of the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

 

The WARC-REC Joint Working Group consists of five members each from the Reformed Ecumenical Council and the World Alliance of Reformed Churches including their Presidents and General Secretaries.


WARC, 10 February 2010

Setri Nyomi zum Internationalen Jahr der Versöhnung 2009

Generalsekretär des Reformierten Weltbundes warnt vor dem Ausschluss von Immigranten und Minderheiten
Geneva (ENI). Immigrants and minorities in affluent countries are becoming targets of exclusion at a time when the global economic system is facing strains, a global Protestant leader has warned at a gathering in the Swiss city of Geneva. "There has been a resurgence of hate crimes against minorities in a number of nations," said the Rev. Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, at a 19 February meeting to mark the International Year of Reconciliation proclaimed by the United Nations for 2009.

Barbara Schenck

WARC welcomes statements made at the World Social Forum in Brazil

Reformierter Weltbund begrüßt die Stellungnahmen des Weltsozialforums
The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) has issued a statement of support in response to a declaration by a representative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) that the global economic crisis offers an opportunity to create a more just financial system.

Quelle: Reformierter Weltbund, 2. Februar 2009

RWB Kommunikation: neue Chefin

Kristine Greenaway: moderne Kommunikationstechniken verbinden
Der Reformierte Weltbund (RWB) hat den leitenden Posten in der Abteilung Kommunikation neu besetzt: Frau Kristine Greenaway von der Vereinigten Kirche von Kanada hat am 5. Januar die Arbeit in der Genfer Zentrale aufgenommen. Sie ersetzt somit John Asling, der die Stelle bis Ende Dezember 2008 innehatte.

Quelle: Internetseite Reformierter Weltbund (RWB)

End the Violence in Gaza

''The rockets from Gaza aimed at Israeli communities are destructive and the suicide bombing incidents cannot be condoned ... We strongly condemn the air and ground assaults from the Israeli Defense Forces leading to senseless deaths ...'' (Reformierter Weltbund)

Pressemitteilung des Reformierten Weltbundes (WARC), 7. Januar 2009

Die Schweiz und die Einigung Europas

SEK für Ausdehnung der Personenfreizügigkeit
Der Schweizerische Evangelische Kirchenbund (SEK) spricht sich für die Weiterführung und die Ausdehnung des Freizügigkeitsabkommens zwischen der Schweiz und der Europäischen Gemeinschaft auf Rumänien und Bulgarien aus.

Medienmitteilung der SEK, Simon Weber, 8. Januar 2009

Gemeinsame Grundsätze zur Pfarrerausbildung

Die theologischen Fortbildung von Pfarrerinnen und Pfarrern soll auch intensiviert werden
Mit einer Konsultation vom 20.-23. November 2008 in Berlin hat die Gemeinschaft Evangelischer Kirchen in Europa (GEKE) einen Prozess zur Verständigung über gemeinsame Grundsätze zur Pfarrerausbildung begonnen.

24.11.2008 Thomas Flügge, GEKE

The Legacy of John Calvin

Some action for the Church in the 21st Century
Eine Broschüre des Reformierten Weltbundes und des internationalen reformierten John Knox Zentrums informiert über Theologie und soziale Anliegen Johannes Calvins und regt von seinem Werk ausgehend an zu „life-giving action“ im 21. Jahrhundert. Die Broschüre ist in englischer Sprache erschienen.

Barbara Schenck

Neue Kirchenleitung in Ghana

Francis Amenu und Godwin Osiakwa werden kirchenleitende Theologen der E. P. Church, Ghana
Am 1. Januar 2009 übernehmen Francis Amenu und Godwin Osiakwa ihr neues Amt als kirchenleitende Theologen der Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana (E.P.Church). Beide wurden während der jüngsten Synode zum Moderator bzw. Synodalsekretär gewählt.

Antje Wodtke, Öffentlichkeitsreferentin der Norddeutschen Mission

Predigtpreis für Paolo Riccas ''Sprachwitz''

Waldenser-Theologe Paolo Ricca erhält Predigtpreis 2008
Bonn. Professor Dr. Paolo Ricca ist mit dem ''Predigtpreises'' des Verlags für die Deutsche Wirtschaft AG (Bonn) für sein Lebenswerk geehrt worden. Der 1936 geborene reformierte Theologe lehrte Kirchengeschichte und Praktische Theologie an der Waldenserfakultät in Rom.

Pfr. Dr. Andreas Flick, Celle

Church unity vital for belief in world peace says Reformed leader Setri Nyomi

''Does the church have a moral voice or credibility when our divisions are so visible?''
Geneva (ENI). Threats to peace and security around the world ought to give urgency to the quest for Christian unity, the general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, the Rev. Setri Nyomi has said. "Does the church have a moral voice or credibility when our divisions are so visible?" Nyomi asked during an address at the "Civilisation of Peace - Faiths and Cultures in Dialogue" conference in Nicosia, Cyprus, on 18 November, according to a statement by WARC.

Barbara Schenck
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