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New Global Church Forms
The World Communion of Reformed Churches will come into being in Grand Rapids this month.
On 18 June, the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) will merge with the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) to form the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). The new ecumenical body will group 227 member churches representing 80 million Christians in 108 countries.
"The coming into being of the World Communion of Reformed Churches will be a historic moment for the churches of the Reformed family and for the church of Christ everywhere", said the World Council of Churches general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who will attend the uniting event.
"This is a new expression of the visible unity of God's church, and as such it represents both a gift from God and a sign of hope", Tveit added. "I trust that it will strengthen the contribution of the Reformed churches to unity, peace and justice."
The uniting meeting between the world’s two largest networks of Protestant churches in the Reformed tradition will take place in Grand Rapids, United States, 18-26 June. Some 475 delegates, and almost as many observers, guests, visitors and volunteers are expected to participate.
“The term ‘communion’ in the new organization’s name points to a new form of working relationship,” says the Rev. Dr Setri Nyomi, WARC general secretary. “As a communion, we recognize our common baptism and our togetherness at the Lord's table - making us better witnesses and more effective in making a difference in the world.”
The two founding organizations say they draw on distinctive but complementary traditions. While both share the Reformed commitment to biblical tradition, REC is known for its emphasis on spiritual development and faithfulness to church "Confessions" (statements which define points of faith) while WARC is known for its stances on issues such as racial and gender justice, environmental protection and a just and equitable world economic order.
“In these times of division and dissension in so many areas of our lives – including church life – it is highly significant that two global groups of churches […] should be willing to come together in a higher level of union than ever before,” says REC general secretary Rev. Dr Richard van Houten.
The mandate of the new World Communion of Reformed Churches will be to focus on issues of church unity and social programmes. The staff will be based in Geneva, Switzerland at the Ecumenical Centre which also houses the World Council of Churches, with which the WCRC will be in a relationship of cooperation.
The programme for the uniting event features debate of a wide range of issues of concern to member churches. From these, delegates will set specific priorities for the coming seven-year period leading up to the next global assembly.
The media contact in Grand Rapids is Douglas Chial, 1-517-303-3915. More information is available at this website. The above article is from the WCC. The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 349 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, from the [Lutheran] Church of Norway. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
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