What does the Lord require of us in the time of COVID-19?
This grounding in Micah 6:8 is the primary question the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is exploring through a yearlong process titled “What Does God Require of Us? Discerning, Confessing, and Witnessing in an Age of COVID-19 and Beyond.”
The discernment is providing space for WCRC regions, focus groups and program networks to engage and give voice to the pandemic crisis. The process is built around the liturgical year, as stories from every corner of the world are shared through a series of listening sessions and public plenaries. The first plenary, titled “Discerning Circle,” was held in January to cap the Advent and Epiphany season.
The next public plenary, for Lent and Easter, will be “Confessing Circle” on March 24.
The discernment is designed to examine “where the church is going to go after this intense time of COVID-19 and all the ‘isms’ we have uncovered because of it,” said Dianna Wright, director of ecumenical and interreligious relations in the Office of the General Assembly. “We know that the isms have always been there, but COVID has brought them all to light at once, giving us this opportunity to work our way through all the things that dehumanize God’s people and prevent them from experiencing the abundant life God promised,” reflecting John 10:10.
Wright said that during the sharing sessions, people have been describing what’s happening in their regions. “We’ve heard stories from Brazil, India, Asia, Europe. And it’s the same story: Everyone is experiencing the same or deeper levels of racism and poverty and violence against women. All those things are happening all around the world. How does the church hear these stories of people long-silenced and then work together to make a difference?” she said.
Hundreds of people from five continents are engaged in the process by sharing their voices in multilingual Zoom sessions or watching livestreams. The plenary for “Witnessing Circle,” for Pentecost, will be on June 9. “Circle on Being Reformed” will be held during Ordinary Time, with the plenary scheduled for Aug. 4. The WCRC said it plans to culminate the process with a conference in September to “channel the energy” and prepare an agenda based on the voice-sharing for the 2024 WCRC General Council.
For more information or to watch the livestreams, visit wcrc.ch/require.
The World Communion of Reformed Churches is comprised of 100 million Christians and 233 Congregational, Presbyterian, Reformed, United, Uniting and Waldensian churches, actively supporting theology, justice, church unity and mission in more than 105 countries.