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It’s ironic that as the Christian Reformed Church celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, one of our closest ecumenical relationships is with the Reformed Church in America.

The irony is that it was the RCA we left to form our own denomination in 1857, over issues such as singing hymns (the CRC wanted to sing only psalms in worship) and membership in secret societies such as the Free Masons (the CRC is opposed to that). Issues like that may seem trivial today.

As time marches on, the RCA and the CRC forge a closer relationship each year. For example, since Synod 2006 churches in either denomination can call a pastor from the other denomination as easily as calling one from within their own ranks.

At the local level there are several new churches sponsored by both denominations. And Christian Reformed churches in many places have joint ministries with RCA congregations.

At an institutional level Faith Alive Christian Resources, the publishing arm of the CRC, is also the resource provider for the RCA.

And most recently, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee has officially partnered with Reformed Church World Service, the relief arm of the RCA. Now when disasters strike, volunteers from the RCA can be immediately plugged into the CRC’s Disaster Response Service.

The biggest issue that still divides the two denominations is support for Christian day schools. The synod of the CRC recently reiterated its strong support for Christian day school education at all levels.

Connections is an occasional column about the Christian Reformed Church’s ecumenical relationships.

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