New WCRC General Secretary stresses solidarity to bring change

LOUISVILLE (PNS) One of the main goals the Reverend Christopher Ferguson has as the new general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is strengthening the common witness of the communion in order to be a greater force for global change.

“It’s the transformation of the church for the transformation of the world,” he said. “The changes that need to be brought, none of us alone can muster the power for those actions. We must consciously seek God’s accompaniment, but we also need each other.”

Ferguson worked on strengthening that collaboration last week during a visit to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) offices in Louisville and Southern Indiana. A range of staff, including Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons, shared details of the PC(USA)’s mission and ministry, and Ferguson related his vision for the future of the WCRC.

It’s important to recognize the identity and witness of the churches of the Reformed family, the wide diversity they bring, and the ways in which they are “radically engaging in the world,” said Ferguson, who was ordained to the ministry in the United Church of Canada. The WCRC consists of 229 denominations in 108 countries.

Equally important is to be in solidarity with churches that are suffering, solidarity with all of humanity, and solidarity with the earth itself, he said. “Unless we are together we can’t see the whole problem,” which includes economic, racial, and gender injustice, Ferguson said.

“We have to see the world as it is, and if God’s theater of grace is the whole world, then we have to bring all our resources together,” said Ferguson, who has served in ministry in Canada, the Middle East, various parts of Latin America, and at the United Nations.

Prior to beginning his new position as general secretary in August, Ferguson served in Columbia for the United Church of Canada. He was part of an ecumenical project to do accompaniment in the midst of violence.

Ferguson lauded the PC(USA) for the gifts and talents it has provided to the WCRC, and for being a motivating force, particularly “around issues of being a radically inclusive church. … Doing what you do in your own context has been an inspiration.”

Former PC(USA) Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick, who previously served as president of WCRC, was convener of the general secretary search committee. He and Parsons are current members of the WCRC executive committee.

by Toya Richards Jackson