The Council of Delegates of the Christian Reformed Church discussed the evolving relationship between the CRC and the Reformed Church in America (RCA), looking particularly at the results of a survey of delegates to synod this past summer. Synod is the annual leadership meeting of the CRC, and the newly formed council acts on behalf of the annual synod when it is not in session.
The relationship between the denominations has been receiving focused attention since 2014 when the CRC’s synod and the General Synod of the RCA met together in Pella, Iowa, and adopted what has become known as the Pella Accord. It states: “[T]he principle that guides us, and the intention that motivates us, is to ‘act together in all matters except those in which deep differences of conviction compel [us] to act separately.’”
Already there are many instances of collaboration between the two denominations, including the ministry of Disability Concerns, the Reformed Benefits Association, union churches that belong to both denominations, church plants, and more.
This past summer, both synods viewed a video that laid out three scenarios about how further unity might look:
- Increased coordination, in which the two denominations would work together where possible.
- Increased collaboration, in which the denominations would build new ministries and programs together.
- New creation, in which the denominations would create a new denomination together.
Delegates at both synods were then surveyed about their preferred scenario. A report of the survey results noted that the majority of RCA respondents preferred the third scenario with the second being their second choice. The majority of CRC respondents preferred scenario 2 with scenario 1 as their second choice.
The council committee that looked at the report said that “a compelling vision for new creation is not yet evident.” The Council received the report for information.
Synod 2018 will see the two denominations again meet together, hosted by Pillar Church, a dual-affiliated church in West Michigan that is affiliated with both the CRC and the RCA.