World Communion of Reformed Churches
11 May 2012
Church unity, justice, peace, and financial issues are at the heart of discussion as the senior decision making body of a global organization of churches opens its annual meeting today in Indonesia.
Members of the Executive Committee of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) are meeting in Berastagi, North Sumatra (10-17 May) to plan the organization’s future in times of increasing pressures on churches caused by financial concerns and differences over issues such as the ordination of women.
WCRC president, Jerry Pillay, a pastor from South Africa, told approximately 50 committee members, advisors and staff that he is concerned about cases of disagreement that are leading to division and the creation of new churches.
“Unity is at the heart of what it means for us to be a communion of churches,” Pillay says. “We need to emphasize that which unites us and not that which divides us.”
The report of WCRC’s general secretary, Setri Nyomi, which followed Pillay’s, notes the ways in which the Communion has accompanied churches in their engagement in mission and justice and in seeking to overcome divisions. This included attention paid to issues in Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa and Middle Eastern countries over the past year.
In his address, Nyomi referred to financial challenges the organization faces. The economic crisis is affecting income as most donations are received in Euros and American dollars yet the organization’s offices are in Switzerland where the cost of the Swiss franc is high. The committee’s agenda for the coming days will include in-depth discussion about how to ensure financial stability in the coming years.
The day began with worship hosted in a local church, the GBKP Runggun Berastagi Kota. In a service attended by the WCRC Executive Committee and members of the congregation, Pillay spoke about the example of generosity in the early Christian church as recorded in the book of Acts in the New Testament.
“Christians shared what they had,” Pillay told the congregation.
In reference to WCRC’s reputation as a champion of social and economic justice, Pillay challenged Christians today to follow this example.
“Do we care enough to make sure people have enough to eat? Do we care enough to share what we have as the early Christians did?” Pillay asked.
The Moderator of the Gereja Batak Karo Protestan Church (GBKP), Pastor M.P. Barus, welcomed the WCRC participants from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Middle East, saying it is an honour for his church to host the first international gathering of this type in the Karo region of North Sumatra.
“Your presence here is important,” Barus says.“Worshiping with you today and again this Sunday will show local congregations that they do not need to feel alone.”