How well do you know the denomination or federation to which you belong? As far as that goes, how well do you know the congregation of which you are a member?
Many churches publish an updated church directory on an annual basis, listing not only the names of their families and individuals but also their addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and other details. I always am surprised how many changes occur in just a year’s time within a congregation. Members move, or they get different phone numbers, new children are born, new persons join, members die, and people leave for other churches. So it is not only interesting but important to own a church directory. It keeps us up to date on the latest facts and circumstances of our fellow church members.
Much the same could also be said as regards denominational directories. They keep us up to date on the latest facts as regards the broader body of churches to which we belong.
The Reformed Fellowship has had the privilege to publish the church directory for the United Reformed Churches for several years now. The latest such directory will soon be coming out. It will show the latest information available on the churches in the URC federation, their pastors, their officers, their membership, and more. It will also provide an overview of the federation as a whole in terms of its total members, baptisms, professions of faith, and deaths for the last year.
I believe it is important for all our families to own such a directory. Let me offer some reasons.
1. It keeps you informed about the URC and how it is doing. It tells you whether it is growing or declining or staying about the same numerically. It tells you which ministers are serving in which congregations. It gives you knowledge as to how you can contact particular churches or pastors.
2. A URC directory is very handy to have with you when you are traveling or going other places, so you can know, for example, where you can find such a church to visit on a Sunday.
3. It is good for every consistory member to have such a directory, because it also gives information on the congregations within the classis to which their church belongs. In addition, if a church is vacant, it provides information on ministers who might be available for a call. Some churches have the practice that whenever new council members are installed, they receive the latest denominational directory. In that way, all the council members can keep abreast of information they need to know about their federation.
4. It enhances that precious church unity we must all have with our fellow believers. That’s what a local church directory does for the members of a particular congregation. It is also what a denominational directory does for those who belong to that denomination.
It is for such reasons that Reformed Fellowship is eager to publish an updated directory for the URC once again. We trust it will serve churches and members well.
One note should be added: The information within the URC directory does not come from the Reformed Fellowship but from statisticians of the URC itself. And they, in turn, are dependent on local church statisticians for their information. We hope that such information is accurate, and publish the directory in that confidence. So, if information is missing or in error, you may let Reformed Fellowship know, but we can only pass it on to those who alone have the authority to make the needed changes.
Rev. James Admiraal
is a member of the board of Reformed Fellowship, Inc.