“He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” —Micah 6:8 (NRSV)
In this unprecedented situation, the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) holds to its commitments as a global Koinonia marked by discerning, confessing, witnessing and being reformed together. Living out God’s call to the Communion as a worldwide Christian family “called to communion, committed to justice” leads the WCRC first to turn to God, the world’s hope and foundation.
“The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the entire world, and we are all gripped by its impact,” said a letter to WCRC member churches from President Najla Kassab and General Secretary Chris Ferguson. “Our churches and regional bodies are responding to both the needs of their members spiritually and physically and seeking to cooperate with the strong measures taken to slow the spread of the virus to better care for the afflicted.”
“It has been distressing that gatherings for worship have been suspended in many places and yet inspiring as so many seek ways to be faithful to love of God and neighbour even while staying at home and limiting travel and social contact,” stated the letter.
Hundreds of congregations in member churches have shifted to virtual worship services, utilizing tools such as Facebook live, Zoom and YouTube. The Caribbean and North American Area Council (CANAAC) has posted a page with resources from member churches on their website while the WCRC’s weekly Member Church News has contained dozens of stories in recent weeks.
Unsurprisingly, the conditions no longer exist to allow the WCRC Executive Committee to gather together in South Africa for its annual meeting in May. With the continuing unpredictability of the situation, it is also difficult to set a date for a meeting in 2020.
The South African host churches have indicated that they would be most welcoming of the Executive Committee in May 2021, and plans are already proceeding along this line. The WCRC officers have a meeting scheduled for November, and will attempt to meet face-to-face at an earlier date if possible. They will also continue to meet virtually on a regular basis, staying in close contact with the general secretariat. The programmatic and administrative work of the WCRC continues, though also digitally.
“Even as this world, already fallen among thieves, is in the midst of an unsettled time marked by the spreading pandemic we as a Communion understand that God is at work, and we must be faithful to God’s call for us,” said the letter. “We must be especially vigilant in this time of crisis to protect the poor and the powerless, to promote the cause of justice and ensure that injustice not be perpetrated.”
The WCRC does this because, as the Accra Confession states, “We believe that God is a God of justice. In a world of corruption, exploitation and greed, God is in a special way the God of the destitute, the poor, the exploited, the wronged and the abused (Psalm 146:7-9).”
“We should all understand that we do not do this alone, but with God’s help and the support of the entire Communion. We must uphold each other in prayer and increase our efforts to be in touch with each other, through strong communications and sharing of challenges and needs—as well as of inspiration,” said the letter. “Let us all keep in close touch, upholding each other in prayer and action and serving others for the glory of God.”