The officers of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) have agreed to a draft statement of key programmatic objectives for the coming seven-year period based on input from member churches, partner organizations, regional councils of churches, and the WCRC Executive Committee.
WCRC General Secretary Setri Nyomi says he is pleased with the recommendations, adding that the key programmatic objectives set the framework within which to develop plans for the period leading up to the next meeting of the General Council in 2017.
The WCRC was created in June 2010 through a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC). Its 230 member churches representing 80 million Christians are active worldwide in initiatives supporting economic, climate and gender justice, mission, and cooperation among Christians of different traditions.
“We have received a clear message from our member churches with their vision for the WCRC,” says Nyomi. “Development of a comprehensive strategic plan is well underway thanks to input from member churches and WCRC regional councils.”
The key programmatic objectives are: mission, theology, justice, ecumenical engagement and communion (close unity among member churches).
The objectives were formulated by a group meeting here Nov. 23-27 charged with drafting a strategic plan for the organization following its founding meeting in Grand Rapids, MI in June.
The team, whose members come from WCRC member churches in Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Europe, based their proposals on responses to a questionnaire sent to just under 300 respondents. Approximately 20% replied.
In presenting the draft report to the officers at the conclusion of the meeting of the strategic planning team, the team’s facilitator, Omega Bula, underlined the vital importance of the role of regional councils in carrying out the organization’s key objectives.
“Regional councils should be the locus of much of WCRC’s work, and thus the Executive Committee and staff should develop methods for empowering Regional Councils,” the team’s report says in citing recommendations from the policy report adopted at the WCRC founding general council.
WCRC President Jerry Pillay too welcomes the report’s recommendations.
“The WCRC will come alive and touch the lives of people in parishes when programs are rooted at the local level,” says the South African church leader.
The strategic plan will be presented to the organization’s executive committee for approval at meetings here in May 2011. Meanwhile, the recommendations received by the officers will form the basis of WCRC program planning for the first half of 2011.
These include dialogue between Reformed Churches and the Roman Catholic Church, solidarity and relationship-building visits to member churches by the Nyomi and Pillay, production of a book of Caribbean women’s Bible studies, and disbursement of funds from the Partnership Fund for church-initiated development projects.