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

Internationale Konsultation Südafrika: Reformierte Kirchen analysieren Auswirkungen der globalen Wirtschaftskrise

Vizepräsident Weusmann (ERK) erinnert an ständigen Dialog zwischen Kirchen in Deutschland und Südafrika
(WARC/RWB, 2. September 2009). Eine Zusammenkunft von reformierten Kirchen weltweit beginnt diese Woche in Johannesburg, Südafrika; im Zentrum der Debatten wird die Rolle stehen, die die Kirchen bei dem Ruf nach wirtschaftlicher Gerechtigkeit und Schutz der Umwelt zu spielen haben.

Pressemitteilung des Reformierten Weltbundes

Internationale Calvin-Konferenz in Budapest

Ein Bericht von Lajos Békefy
Europäische Wissenschaftler haben sich in Budapest zu einem internationalen Calvin-Symposium getroffen. Die Fachtagung mit über 200 Vorlesungen fand statt im Rahmen der Jahresversammlung des Kollegium der Doktoren der Reformierten Kirche Ungarns vom 24. bis 28 August 2009.

Dr. Lajos Békefy
(WARC, Juli 2009) Christians are increasingly articulate critics of economic, social and environmental abuse. What is often missing for ordinary people in those critiques is an idea of what they can do to make a difference at home, in their parishes and in the broader community.
(WARC, 25. August 2009) The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu will be following God's will by taking a leading role in efforts to reverse the effects of climate change according to the leader of a global alliance of Reformed churches.

The World Alliance of Reformed Churches, Tuesday, 25 August 2009, 9:04 (EST)

Calvin als Aktivist für den Umweltschutz

Vor 453 Jahren verurteilte der Reformator das Roden von Wäldern
Das Roden von Bäumen sei eine ''Grausamkeit'', die besonders unter Christen zu finden sei, habe Calvin schon 1555 gepredigt, sagte Setri Nyomi, Generalsekretär des Reformierten Weltbundes auf einem Seminar in Vanuatu.

Barbara Schenck

'Jene 14 Tage kann man nicht vergessen'

Wie ungarische Pfarrer DDR-Flüchtlinge betreuten
1989 bröckelte die Mauer nach Ungarn. Beim „paneuropäischen Picknick“ flohen über 600 DDR-Bürger. Lajos Békefy erinnert sich an die Tage als Pfarrer im Flüchtlingslager.

Lajos Békefy

die reformierten.upd@te 09.2

Das reformierte Quartalsmagazin / Juni 2009
In diesen Tagen erscheint die neue Ausgabe von die reformierten.upd@te 09.2. Die Themen: Das Reformierte Zentrum auf dem Kirchentag und der Calvin-Festakt in Berlin - aktuelle Meldungen aus dem Reformierten Weltbund - die Predigt von Peter Bukowski zu Psalm 68 im ARD-Fernsehgottesdienst aus dem Französischen Dom zu Berlin am 12. Juli 2009

Jörg Schmidt, Generalsekretär des Reformierten Bundes, 10. August 2009

Church of Scotland begrüßt Entscheidung, den Lockerbie-Attentäter aus der Haft zu entlassen

''Eine Botschaft für die Welt, was es heißt, Schottisch zu sein''
Edinburgh (ENI). The (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland has said it fully supports a decision taken by the Scottish Government on 20 August to release the convicted Lockerbie bomber, Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, on compassionate grounds. ''This decision has sent a message to the world about what it is to be Scottish,'' the Rev. Ian Galloway, convenor of the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland, said in a statement. ''We are defined as a nation by how we treat those who have chosen to hurt us. Do we choose mercy even when they did not choose mercy?''

Barbara Schenck
As Reformed churches worldwide prepare to celebrate the 500th anniversary on 10 July of the birth of Protestant Reformation leader, John Calvin, leaders of a global movement of Reformed churches have issued a statement calling on Christians to commemorate Calvin not as a saint but as a source of inspiration for responding to contemporary social and environmental concerns.

Pressemeldung des WARC, 8. Juli 2009

Reformierte Kirchen sagen: Calvin machte aus Genf die internationale Stadt, die sie heute ist

Genf: Stadt Calvins und Stätte eines internationalen Calvinismus
(WARC/RWB) In Genf soll am 10. Juli eine kirchliche Gedenkfeier den 500. Jahrestag der Geburt Calvins, des Vorkämpfers der protestantischen Reformation, markieren. Diese Feier soll dem Einfluss des französischen Reformators auf die internationale Ausstrahlung und das Profil seiner Adoptivstadt gewidmet sein.

Pressemeldung des Reformierten Weltbundes vom 7. Juli 2009