The Rev. Jerry Pillay of the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, was elected the first president of the fledgling World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) June 24.
Delegates to the WCRC's Uniting General Council also elected four regional vice-presidents, a general treasurer and 16 members to its Executive Committee. Included among them was the Rev. Gradye Parsons, General Assembly stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
More than 300 delegates from 108 countries met here June 18-26 for the founding meeting of the new organization, which represents 80 million Christians from Presbyterian, Uniting and United, Reformed and Waldensian churches worldwide.
Joining Pillay on the WCRC presidium are vice-presidents Lu Yueh Wen of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, Yvette Noble Bloomfield of the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, Bas Plaisier of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands and Helis Barraza Diaz of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia, and General Treasurer Gottfried Locher of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches.
The executive committee also includes the two presidents of the organization’s predecessor bodies — the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) — and the moderators of WARC’s five regional councils to form a 29-member governing body.
Of the 22 Executive Committee members elected, 14 are ordained clergy, 13 are men and two are under 30. Eighteen are previous WARC members and four were also members of REC. They come from 18 countries in all eight designated regions of the world.
"We have struggled to fulfill all the requirements in our rules within the framework of 22 positions," said Nominations Committee co-moderator Judi Fisher of the Uniting Church in Australia. "The task has been both sizable and difficult, but we believe we have done all that is possible."
No counter-nominations were proposed, but delegates to the UGC approved revised procedures to ensure that future slates proposed by regional groups to the Nominating Committee will be more flexible and balanced.