This week we received two volumes of reports for our upcoming CanRC synod. There are lots of interesting things that I could comment on, but for today I wanted to mention something in the report from the Committee for Contact with Churches in North America (CCCNA).
When I was a university student in Edmonton, the Canadian Reformed Churches entered into a relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship with the Free Church of Scotland. That happened in 1993. At that time, there was an FCS congregation in Edmonton. We visited their evening service a few times and became good friends with many of the people there. In fact, we worked closely together on a campus evangelism project. One of our friends was the pastor, who happened to be on loan from the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA). Around the same time that I started seminary studies Hamilton, he and his family went back to the RPCNA and he became the theological librarian at the RP seminary in Pittsburgh.
Hamilton is only about a five hour drive from Pittsburgh, so we made the trek down there a couple of times to visit with our friends. On one occasion, I had the opportunity to make a presentation about the Canadian Reformed Churches to a group of (mostly) elderly folks at an RP rest home. In my presentation, I expressed my hope that some day our churches would get to know one another better and perhaps even enter into ecclesiastical fellowship.
So, I’m very pleased to see that our CCCNA has been busy getting to know the RPCNA. I’m even more pleased to see their recommendation 7, “To offer a relationship of ecclesiastical fellowship to the RPCNA under the adopted rules.” That’s music to my ears. Recommendation 6 is not really a recommendation but an observation: “That ecclesiastical fellowship with the RPCNA has the potential to be meaningful and practical at the local level.” The report notes the existence of RP congregations in Ottawa, Denver, and Waterloo — all places that either have or are nearby CanRC congregations. My prayer is that this recommendation will find support among the churches and from the delegates at synod and we can continue to get to know one another even more — mutually encouraging one another as much as possible.