The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) approved the plan of the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue to focus its work on justice for refugees and indigenous Canadians.
The Centre, formerly known as the Committee for Contact with the Government, is the body charged with communicating with the Canadian government on behalf of the CRC.
The Centre received approval from the board to take peace-building in Afghanistan off its priority list.
Under its new plan, the Centre will focus on justice for vulnerable refugee populations, including issues of settlement, integration, backlogs, and humanitarian ratios. The Centre will collaborate with Christian Reformed World Relief Committee-Canada, which has many years of experience working with deacons and churches in refugee sponsorship.
The other priority will be research and advocacy regarding education in indigenous communities. The Centre will collaborate with the CRC’s Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee.
The board also asked that the Centre consider balancing its direct contact with Canadian officials with assisting churches and church members in developing their own capacity to engage government officials on important issues.
Trustee Kathy Vandergrift raised the issue, citing both the changing political context in Canada and the need to enhance ownership of the Centre’s work among CRC members.
She acknowledged that it may involve broadening the range of issues the Centre is involved with, including issues local to specific provinces.