The Executive Committee of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) has voted to relocate its offices from Geneva, Switzerland to Hanover, Germany. The results of the vote taken via email were announced Nov. 5 by WCRC President Jerry Pillay.
“We welcome the move to Hanover which allows WCRC to continue to live out its mission as a communion of churches. We will remain focused on our mandate of seeking church unity and justice in society and the economy and respect for the environment,” Pillay said in a statement.
The move comes in response to concerns about the cost of running an organization in Switzerland. These include staff salaries and the high value of the Swiss franc. Most WCRC membership fees and donations are made in Euros or American dollars that have dropped in value in the past several years against the strong Swiss franc.
The move to Hanover is scheduled for the end of December 2013. The new offices will be located at the Calvin Center owned by the Evangelical Reformed Church of Germany where the Reformed Alliance has its offices. WCRC has a seven-member staff.
WCRC general secretary, Setri Nyomi, says: “I am grateful for the dedicated staff team of the WCRC who have faithfully given themselves and their professional gifts to the Reformed family of churches worldwide and have been at the forefront of making a difference in the world. They are the ones called upon to make new sacrifices at this time of relocation.”
The Reformed church movement has had its offices in Geneva since 1948 when the World Presbyterian Alliance (a WCRC predecessor organization) moved from Edinburgh, Scotland. At the time the World Council of Churches was in formation and Reformed church leaders felt it important to be close to colleagues in the global ecumenical movement.
In responding to the decision, WCRC Vice-President Yvette Noble-Bloomfield said: “The World Communion of Reformed Churches, in making the decision to relocate from Geneva to Hanover, has demonstrated the desire to place itself in a position to deepen its core calling and interpretation of character that can further its response to the history, life and purpose of member churches. There must be a desire and a hope for a future that is redemptive and passionate even in the face of the challenges of change and the costly risk of relationships.”
According Nyomi, the move to Hanover is expected to save WCRC CHF200,000 ($214,000) annually.
WCRC represents 80 million Christians in 108 countries. Its member churches are active worldwide in initiatives supporting economic, climate and gender justice, mission, and cooperation among Christians of different traditions.