WCRC leaders praise progress to unity among Reformed churches in South Africa

 — Dec. 18, 201318 déc. 2013

[WCRC Reformed Communiqué] The President of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), Jerry Pillay, has welcomed progress in the past two years by churches of the Reformed family in South Africa to overcome major hurdles on the path to unity.

“We give thanks to God,” Pillay said at the end of a visit to South Africa by the WCRC South Africa task team from 29 September to 2 October.

The team led by Pillay also included WCRC General Secretary Setri Nyomi, Sabine Dressler of the Reformed Alliance in Germany and Oscar McCloud of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The team had meetings with the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA), the Dutch Reformed Church (NGK), the Reformed Church in Africa (RCA) and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA). These four churches have been engaged in reunification talks for more than a decade. The team said they felt encouraged about what they heard from the four churches. Challenges that had created mistrust and stalled the process seemed to be dissipating.

The South African churches informed the visiting team that the URCSA and NGK had signed a memorandum of agreement in April 2013 which outlines the way forward and takes full account of restorative justice, reconciliation and the Belhar Confession, a statement of faith written by South African Christians as a response to apartheid. The leaders of both churches acknowledged the mediation work carried out by Pillay over the last four years as crucial for the breakthroughs that have been achieved.

In the presence of the WCRC team, the URCSA and NGK reassured the RCA and DRCA of their commitment to journey together with them in a spirit of respect and sensitivity. Commenting on the meetings, Sabine Dressler of Germany said, “Although there are still some points of challenge and difficulty between URCSA and the NGK, I am encouraged by their enthusiasm in the decision to go ahead with unification.”

The WCRC team also held discussions with the leadership of the Nederduitse Hervormde Kerk van Afrika (NHKA). This is the church that remains suspended from the WCRC for its stance in the apartheid era. The moderator of the NHKA, Wim Dreyer, informed the team about recent decisions of his church.

It was clear that although the church has been through many painful challenges including the departure of about 13 congregations, the NHKA has taken most of the key decisions needed to open the doors towards readmission to the WCRC. The decision of readmission itself can only be taken by the WCRC’s Executive Committee. According to Oscar McCloud, “The NHKA has come a long way, and they are struggling with pain in the process of doing the right thing. On condition that they continue on this path, a recommendation for their readmission into the WCRC would be helpful.”

WCRC General Secretary Setri Nyomi described both processes as signs of the movement of the Holy Spirit, saying, “We will continue to journey with our sisters and brothers in South Africa.”

Posted: Dec. 18, 2013 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=6961
Categories: NewsIn this article: World Communion of Reformed Churches
Transmis : 18 déc. 2013 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=6961
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : World Communion of Reformed Churches

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