Unity Among Brothers and Sisters

For several years the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA) and the Canadian Reformed Churches (CanRef) have been discussing a merger of churches. The two federations currently have ecumenical relations which allow them to do a variety of tasks together for the kingdom of God. Although most people within both federations agree on many different issues within the body of Christ, there still remains a hesitancy to make the final step toward complete unity. Most of the friction between the two federations have centered upon theological education, church polity, and church music.


The Outlook is pleased to present two articles that look at two different aspects of the merger effort. One article focuses on where the two federations agree; the other where they differ.

The first, by Rev. John Bouwers, is entitled “California Covenant Conversation.” It outlines a major event that took place at the URCNA synod last year in Visalia, California. At that synod, four prominent leaders, two from each federation, presented their views of the covenant. The conversation focused on the theological views of the two federations. It was both pleasant and informative.

The second article, “Why the PJCO Won’t Work,” focuses on another aspect of the merger. While both churches may agree theologically, they have a similar but somewhat different view of church government. For several years a committee has been working on a Proposed Joint Church Order (PJCO) to combine the two. Mr. Leonard Lodder has written about an overture that Classis Pacific Northwest (URCNA) is sending to its synod for consideration. This article explains why at least one URCNA classis has effectively decided that the PJCO is unacceptable as an organizational document for unity.

The Outlook presents both of these articles without prejudice.

Also, following these article postings, are the California colloquium and a copy of the overtures from Classis Pacific Northwest to the 2016 URNCA synod.