“This move towards unity is a fitting tribute to Calvin by his modern-day heirs,” said Peter Borgdorff, president of the U.S.-based Reformed Ecumenical Council in a statement.
The meeting of the executive committees of the Geneva-based World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the REC marks the first time the two groups have met in the city where Calvin nearly 500 years ago promoted the Protestant Reformation.
“How appropriate that these meetings should coincide with celebrations of the 500th anniversary in 2009 of John Calvin,” noted WARC President Clifton Kirkpatrick. “It is proof of his enduring legacy for the worldwide Church.”
A group of 40 leaders from 37 churches will gather at Geneva’s John Knox Centre May 21-31 to lay the foundations of an organization which will unite 75 million Reformed church members around the world.
Discussions will focus on plans for the merger of the two organizations to form the World Communion of Reformed Churches. This is scheduled to take place at Grand Rapids, Mich. in June 2010.
“We will be looking at ensuring the financial base of the new organization in light of the current financial climate,” said Borgdorff. “This means shaping the structure so that we can meet the challenges of today while planning for the future.”
Kirkpatrick said, “The objective is sustainability.”
The joint executive committee will receive proposals for the staff structure for the WCRC, the location of the organization’s offices and the budget. Program discussions will include decisions about the future directions of WARC initiatives on economic and environmental justice along with theology, and ecumenical involvement.
The proposal to merge came in February 2006. The organizations’ executive committees approved the proposal at meetings in 2007. In October 2008, WARC and REC affirmed a draft of the constitution and preliminary plans for transition.