West Michigan Churches Make Plans for Worldwide Council

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Christian Reformed churches in West Michigan will sponsor and host delegates from around the world who are participating in the Uniting General Council in June.

The Uniting General Council is the event at which the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) will merge to form the World Council of Reformed Churches, the world’s largest body of Reformed denominations.

More than 1,000 delegates from around the globe will attend the Uniting General Council, taking place June 18-28 on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

On the first Sunday of the Council, delegates will join host churches for their morning worship service and for lunch. On the second Sunday, delegates will be invited to spend the day with the congregation and experience American churches and homes.

“The delegates are coming from 107 countries around the world, and many of them have never been inside the home of an American family, so they live with whatever stereotypes they have of that,” said Rev. Peter Borgdorff, former executive director of the Christian Reformed Church, who is organizing the effort. “It is a cultural and fellowship experience of connecting with people of similar faith and Reformed heritage on a new page.”

Congregations, in turn, will be able to interact with Christians from churches across the world.

“The benefit [for congregations] is to come face to face with representatives of the global church,” Borgdorff said. “They’ve never had the opportunity to meet Christians from Indonesia or Africa or Germany. [The global church] is real and it takes real flesh and bones to make it live for them.”

One church that is already preparing is LaGrave CRC in Grand Rapids, which will host 10 visitors and delegates and is raising funds both to sponsor delegates’ trips as well as to help other churches that want to sponsor delegates.

“We have a lot of churches that don’t have the resources, especially this year, to be sponsors,” said Rev. Ed Blankespoor, who is part of a committee at LaGrave that is organizing the effort.

Christian Reformed churches, as well as congregations of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, the Reformed Church in America, and the United Church of Christ located in the Great Lakes region of Michigan, are especially requested to consider hosting delegates or help sponsor the costs of travel. More information is available at http://reformedchurches.org.

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