Ferguson challenges WCRC to respond to God’s fierce call

In his report to the executive committee of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), Chris Ferguson, the general secretary, called for a refocusing of the organization’s work around its calling to communion and commitment to justice, framed within its strategic plan.

“I give this report in Lebanon. Our global context as a Communion is clear. The gripping call from Isaiah to restore streets to live in comes as we meet right beside the ongoing and utter devastation of war,” he said. “The churches that are hosting us both serve and count as their own members those who have no longer any street to live in.”

Several leaders of member churches in the region—from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt—gave the executive committee an overview of their situations after Ferguson’s report. The executive committee continues to explore the context within which member churches work in the Middle East and intends to issue a statement at the conclusion of their meeting.

The WCRC’s strategic plan, adopted in 2011, centers the work of the organization on five key directions, and Ferguson cited many of the ways the WCRC is currently fulfilling the plan, including these examples:

  • Communion: A number of reparative discussions between member churches threatening to divide kept the leaders of these churches engaged with each other.
  • Ecumenical engagement: Ferguson assumed a leadership role in the World Council of Churches’ reference group for its Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.
  • Justice: A series of consultations around the world marked the 10th anniversary of the Accra Confession and reengaged regional church leaders in its goals.
  • Mission: The Partnership Fund continues to assist member churches in their local ministries and outreach efforts.
  • Theology: While the current round of Catholic-Reformed dialogue was coming to a conclusion, a new dialogue began with the Pentecostals and a foundation was laid to dialogue with the Anglicans.

But Ferguson said the Communion could—and must—do better. “We have an opportunity to re-center the work of this executive, the staff, the regions and all the Communion on God’s fierce call to unite that which is divided, to repair the breach and in all things ‘live out the Communion of Reformed Churches, participating in God’s mission, that all may experience the fullness of life in Jesus Christ,'” he said.

“As we hear the reports about the programme priorities and our other work we do so not only out of appreciation for hard work well done but with the critical eye to see how we can now move further and closer to the bold vision in both communion and justice that God has set,” Ferguson said.

The World Communion of Reformed Churches’ executive committee meets annually to provide oversight to the work of the WCRC, both programmatically and financially. It is holding its 2015 meeting outside of Beirut, Lebanon.

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