The World Communion of Reformed Churches, an ecumenical group to which the Christian Reformed Church of North America belongs, is calling its members into what it calls a discernment process over the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of a planned 17 sessions have taken place as members ask, “What Does God Require of Us: Discerning, Confessing, and Witnessing in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond.”
“This particular process is focusing the WCRC on how what has been revealed through the pandemic will impact our work together in the coming years,” said Phillip Tanis, the WCRC’s executive secretary for communications and operations.
In the first session, conducted by video conference Dec. 9, 2020, participants were led in worship by Peter Cruchley of the Council for World Mission, and the process was commissioned with an introduction to a discernment working paper. Tanis said, “There were sharing segments from J. Herbert Nelson (PCUSA), Alessandra Trotta (Waldensian Church, Italy), Bisan Mitri (Palestinian Christian), and Gloria Ulloa (Reformed Church in Colombia).”
The process will continue with digital events occurring at four points in the liturgical year, leading to a conference in September 2021. The aim is to involve the whole Communion, Tanis said, so the gatherings will include regional and other constituency groups sharing from their respective contexts at each stage.
General Secretary Chris Ferguson said, "Discerning requires us to read the signs of the time biblically and theologically, locally, regionally, and globally together to mobilize our whole communion as a confessing, witnessing family committed to our own transformation and radical change in service to the God of life."
About 60 participants joined the Dec. 9 event and the recorded livestream had more than 900 views on Facebook.
The WCRC includes more than 230 member churches. Its general council, which last met in Leipzig, Germany, in 2017, convenes every seven years. No CRC members currently serve on the WCRC’s executive committee.