The following are two overtures from Classis Pacific Northwest to Synod Wyoming 2016, to be held on June 13-17, at Bethany URC in Wyoming, Michigan.
Overture re union with the Canadian Reformed Churches:
Classis Pacific Northwest overtures Synod Wyoming 2016 of the United Reformed Churches to direct CERCU to discontinue all further action, advancement, processes, efforts or steps towards unification with the Canadian Reformed Churches and specifically advancement to Phase Three, Step A.
1. URCNA was formed as a separate denomination in 1996; only 18 years ago and we are thus a very young federation.
2. From very early in the existence of the URCNA there have been efforts to pursue both unity and union with the Canadian Reformed Churches.
3. The URCNA presently enjoys Phase II Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the Canadian Reformed Churches.
4. Efforts to move forward to full unity have been met with hesitancy and resistance by a significant majority of members and consistories in the URCNA (CERCU Report to Synod Visalia 2014, Provisional Agenda p. 77.)
5. Notwithstanding this resistance CERCU has continued to pursue full unification with the Canadian Reformed Churches culminating in a CERCU’s proposal to Synod Visalia 2014 that Synod Visalia encourage CERCU in its plans to recommend to Synod Wyoming 2016 that the URCNA proceed to Phase Three Step A of church unity with the Canadian Reformed Churches.
6. Synod Visalia 2014 voted to table indefinitely CERCU’s proposal.
1. This Overture is appropriate because this matter cannot be settled in any narrower assembly, Church Order, Article 25.
2. By CERCU’s own advice, two-thirds of the federation does not approve of unification with the Canadian Reformed Churches and is resistant to CERCU’s proceedings. Provisional Agenda, Page 77, Synod Visalia 2014
3. The URCNA’s current Phase II status of unity with the Canadian Reformed Churches is altogether satisfactory and effective and no compelling need to proceed to total union is presented.
4. No cogent affirmative case for pursuing union has been made by CERCU.
5. The process of pursuing union with the Canadian Reformed churches has been significantly distracting and has drawn important attention and resources from other critical matters such as missions, evangelism and the very unity that we now do share and appreciate with the Canadian Reformed Churches
6. Phase II Ecclesiastical Fellowship with the Canadian Reformed Churches presently satisfies biblical requirements for pursuing Christian unity.
7. The URCNA federation is still very young and continues to finish and perfect within its own broader assemblies the processes of complete and effective union in matters such as improvement of the current
Overture re the proposed joint church order being unusable.
Classis Pacific Northwest Overtures Synod Wyoming 2016 of the United Reformed Churches to declare that the Proposed Joint Church Order (a church order proposed for use in the prospective union of the United Reformed Churches with the Canadian Reformed Churches) is unusable for that purpose.
The church order we currently use or any future church order which we might adopt, cannot so thoroughly vacate a principle (principle #5) that we hold dear, a principle which we find thoroughly scriptural in its foundation. We note specifically:
1. The Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government of the URCNA are derived from Holy Scripture.
2. The church order that is currently in use by the URCNA closely follows these Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government.
3. Any future church order which we might adopt, either within the United Reformed Churches or in a proposed federation with other orthodox reformed churches must also closely follow these Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government.
4. The Proposed Joint Church Order with the Canadian Reformed Church does not closely follow these Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government.
For greater certainty, Principle #5 is quoted below:
5. The Lord gave no permanent universal, national or regional offices to His church. The office of elder (presbyter/episkopos) is clearly local in authority and function; thus, Reformed church government is presbyterial, since the church is governed by elders, not by broader assemblies.
Acts 14:23; 20:17,28; Titus 1:5.