Plans and preparations for the 2025 General Council took significant strides with a joint meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand, between the General Council Planning Committee and General Council Worship Committee.
The Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) will be hosting the Council with strong support and participation from other World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) member churches in Asia.
Prior to the meeting in Chiang Mai, representatives of the Planning Committee made a courtesy visit to the officers of the CCT in Bangkok. “The CCT looks forward to welcoming the Communion to Thailand for the General Council,” said Boonratna Buayen, the moderator of the CCT. “It will be important for the global church to see the long history of Christianity in Asia and the ministry we do as a minority religion.”
The Council will meet under the theme “Persevere in Your Witness,” based on Hebrews 12:1. Morning devotions at the meeting were based on the theme, including one by Karen Georgia Thompson, associate general minister for Wider Church Ministries and co-executive for Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and a member of the Planning Committee.
“Persevere in your witness is a call to discipleship. It is a call to be change makers. It is a call to be justice seekers and way makers. We are called to seek justice in the church and in society. This is a call that requires we have our eyes open and paying attention to what we see around us,” she said.
Besides joint planning discussions, designed to ensure both the theme and worship are interwoven throughout the Council, members of the two committees visited potential sites for the Council, along with hotel possibilities and properties owned and operated by the CCT Foundation.
“It was very important to bring together both groups here, to allow us to have in-depth discussions in the place where the Council will take place,” said Dario Barolin, moderator of the Planning Committee. “We are very excited about the developing plans and the opportunity to gather the Communion together again.”
The Council will be held in Chiang Mai, likely in October of 2025. Specific dates will be discussed by the WCRC Executive Committee at its meeting later this month. The Executive Committee will also review the proposed budget and other aspects of the Council.
It is anticipated that a formal announcement of and invitations to the General Council will be sent to member churches shortly thereafter.
On the Sunday of the meetings, the groups worshiped with the First Church of Chiang Mai, which was begun by Presbyterian missionaries from the United States in 1878.
The General Council is the highest governance body of the WCRC and typically meets every seven years. The last meeting was in Leipzig, Germany, in 2017, with the next Council postponed a year due to the COVID pandemic.
The planning meetings were held 29 April through 3 May 2023.