Through involvement with the WRF, member organizations are providing channels for networking and forming partners to share gifts and resources and to make pressing needs known to the larger body of Christ.
As one example, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is starting a new ministry which they call T3 Mobile Theological Education. The ARP sees this is one way of fulfilling their obedience to the Great Commission. Through this ministry they are recruiting and sending out “visiting professors” to small pastoral training institutions in poorer countries of the world to assist them in the training and sending out of indigenous pastors, missionaries and church planters. This ministry was advertised through the channels of WRF. Mukhanyo Theological College and Community Developments Centre in South Africa (which is affiliated with the WRF) had exactly that need and a link was established.
As a result a partnership relationship is now being developed whereby T3 Mobile Theological Education of the ARP will send faculty at their cost to teach a minimum of four (4) courses each year at Mukhanyo. They also want to provide a minimum of two (2) continuing education events at each partner institution for indigenous pastors who are affiliated with Mukanyo. Furthermore they are willing to provide academic and administrative counsel to Mukanyo by a minimum of two (2) sessions each year with MTC faculty and/or staff.
This specific example, and all of the activities of the WRF in Africa and around the world, embody the best of Reformed Ecumenism.
Or, as an African might say it, “Those who want to go fast, go alone; those who want to go far, go together.”
In addition to the above-mentioned partnership relationship, the African Regional Ministry Advisory Board is planning an African Regional Conference which will deal with several topics related to the general theme of “Being a Bible-Centered Christian in Africa Today.” It is likely that this conference will be held during the summer of 2008.
For further information about the activities and plans of the Africa Council, contact Dr. Flip Buys or Dr. Derrick Mashau through the "Contact us" section of this website.
MEMBERS OF THE AFRICAN REGIONAL MINISTRY ADVISORY BOARD:
- Dr. Flip Buys, Chairman
- Prof. Derrick Mashau, Secretary
- Prof. Christopher Rabali
- Rev. Colin Mbawa
- Rev. Peterson Sozi
- Rev. Richard Verreyne
Asia Regional Ministry Advisory Board
This section is currently under development.
For information, contact Dr. Benyamin Intan.
Australia / New Zealand
Two denominations from this region are presently members of the World Reformed Fellowship - The Presbyterian Church of Australia and Grace Presbyterian Church in New Zealand.
Meetings have been held between these denominations (in June of 2007) and mutual activities and support are being developed.
In September of 2007, at the annual General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, Dr. Andrew McGowan, Vice-Chairman of the World Reformed Fellowship, brought the daily biblical expositions and met with interested parties to describe the work of the WRF.
WRF in Australia and the South Pacific is only just starting to develop. We already have strong links with some churches in the region (such as the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu).
For more information, contact Dr. Allan Harman.
The inaugural meeting of the European Regional Ministry Advisory Board of the WRF took place in London on 20th March 2002. At that meeting a Board of Reference and a Steering Group were established. The members of the Board of Reference are effectively the ‘patrons’ of the European Regional Ministry Advisory Board and the members of the Steering Group are the ones who manage the work on a day to day basis. Those who agreed to serve on the Board of Reference are: The Rev Eric J. Alexander; Dr Sinclair B. Ferguson; Dr John Blanchard; Professor Dr Jochum Douma; Professor Dr Eric Peels; Dr Jan van der Graf; The Rev Daniel Szabó and Professor Henri Blocher.
Those present at the London meeting formed a Steering Group and a committee was chosen. There have been further meetings in Scotland, in the Czech Republic and in Holland. The current members of the committee are: Chairman: Professor David McKay (Northern Ireland); Vice Chairman: Dr Leonardo de Chirico (Italy); Secretary: Professor Andrew McGowan (Scotland); Additional Members: Dr Jan van der Graaf (Holland); Dr Emil Bartos (Romania); Professor Paul Wells (France).
The European Regional Ministry Advisory Board is at a very early stage in its development but did host a conference in the Netherlands in October of 2007 The theme of that conference was “The Challenge of the New Europe.” Speakers at the conference included Lord MacKay of Clashfern, former Lord Chancellor of the UK; Sir Fred Catherwood, former Vice President of the European Parliament; Professor Roel Kuiper, Professor at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam and member of the Senate of the Dutch Parliament; Professor Henri Blocher, French theologian and Chairman of the Fellowship of European Evangelical Theologians; Dr Peter Jones, New Testament scholar and founder of CWiPP (Christian Witness to a Pagan Planet); Professor Paul Wells, a systematic theologian who teaches at Aix en Provence; Dr Emil Bartos, pastor and theologian from Romania; and Dr Leonardo de Chirico, theologian and vice president of the Italian Evangelical Alliance.
For further information, contact Dr. Andrew McGowan.
The World Reformed Fellowship had its beginning in 1993 as the World Fellowship of Reformed Churches (WFRC) when the concept of a worldwide confessional fellowship of Reformed churches took concrete form. Talks between the Presbyterian Church in America, the Igreja Presbiteriana do Brasil, and the Iglesia Nacional Presbiteriana de México led to the invitation of other churches from all over Latin America and the world to join the Fellowship.
La Confraternidad Latinoamericana de Iglesias Reformadas (CLIR) was the first regional fellowship the WRF organized with an original vision of creating a fellowship for evangelical Reformed and Presbyterian churches. CLIR leaders in Latin America created opportunities for church denominations to work together in seminars, publishing, and encouraging the development of theological institutions, with the result that for the first time in history the paths of cooperation in Latin America began to run east and west rather than exclusively north and south. In recent years CLIR has desired to focus more exclusively on denominational relationships between Latin American churches, and the WRF is pleased to see that occur, while we develop and expand a new and wider regional fellowship throughout Latin America.
Latin America has experienced tremendous change in the past 30 years. These changes have helped the Gospel to be spread in many cases, but have also brought many and different challenges for Reformed churches of the region. Specific challenges include: the growth of New Age religions and the re-emphasizing of ancient pagan spirituality; increasing secularism and consumerism as the Roman Catholic Church loses power; the rise of feminism and homosexualism and the social changes occurring because of this; the tendency for many of the charismatic churches to adopt a ‘Health and Wealth’ message, influencing vast sectors of the Protestant church. These religious and social movements are tied to much unrest and pressures in the economic and political spheres of Latin countries. The Reformed churches of Latin America have traditionally not worked closely with one another due for the most part to different past histories. However, almost all of them face the same issues. The goals of the WRF are to bring confessionally Reformed churches, institutions and people into contact with one another to assist each other in missions, theological education and the defense of the faith.
Future challenges are many. The Latin America political scene is changing very fast. The role of churches in the future is still uncertain. Latin society is ‘globalizing’ at breakneck speed, bringing both the good and bad aspects of globalization. Churches often lag behind in analysis and response to these changes. Another aspect is the critical need of resources for leadership training, Christian schooling, Reformed commentaries and theological works, as well as works of apologetics. Reformed radio and television is almost non-existent. It is exciting to see many church leaders catching more and more a dynamic vision for the Church’s mission and seeking one another out to assist one another. May God be glorified and His Church edified!
We believe a North American regional fellowship would be a force for unity and mission. Separated as we are by denominational and other divisions, it is often difficult to work together. The WRF brings together brothers and sisters who share a commitment to the Reformed tradition in its various manifestations but who otherwise might have little fellowship with one another. The sharing of ideas, dreams, ministry models, stories, etc. is a powerful tool for the mission of the church. Hence, the WRF fills a need not met by the more broadly-defined interdenominational organizations (such as the NAE) nor the more narrowly-defined organizations (such as NAPARC).
Harvie Conn, in his magisterial work Eternal Word and Changing Worlds, said, “The Third World church will find its greatest struggle in learning to be a teacher of the West. The Western church will find its greatest agony in being taught to be a learner.” We North American Christians need our brothers and sisters in the developing world more than they need us; we have much to learn. We do, however, want to see the WRF in North America serve the church in the developing world out of the abundance of resources with which we have been blessed. For example, many from North American participated in the 2006 General Assembly in Johannesburg, while many from Africa were unable to attend due to limited financial resources. We want to work to see more of our brothers and sisters from the developing world participate in the 2010 General Assembly in Scotland.
- We intend to communicate with a number of individuals—men and women, ordained and lay, from the mainline and “separated” churches, and from Anglican, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Reformed ecclesial backgrounds—to help form a steering committee for a North American regional fellowship. Much of this will be done by phone and email, although it is hoped that a face-to-face gathering can take place.
- We intend to hold events which will connect pastors who have the potential of influencing and sharpening the effectiveness of the entire Reformed Church in North America. We are also considering the possibility of gathering the leaders of Reformed seminaries and colleges [in coordination with the WRF Commission on Theological Education] and the leaders of Reformed missions agencies and ministries [in coordination with the WRF Commission on Missions and Evangelism] to discuss ways in which we all may together work toward building the influence of evangelical Reformed theology on the North American continent.
- Under the leadership of several of our members (Dr. Diane Langberg, Dr. Phil Monroe, Dr. Sam Logan, Mrs. Susan Logan, Rev. Richard Tyson, and Mrs. Bethann Tyson), we have been working for the better part of two years toward the development of resources for ministerial leaders in crisis. When 18,000 ministers of the Gospel in the United States leave the ministry each year, the church has a problem. And the problem is not restricted to those in pastoral positions. All kinds of ministry leaders seem under attack. We intend to work toward the creation of a program and a facility which will provide assistance to ministry leaders - before, during, and after times of actual crisis. Consultations with such organizations as Focus on the Family, the Association of Theological Schools, the Lilly Endowment, and numerous specific denominations have been done -- and continue. An ever-widening network of people and organizations are becoming involved. Weekend retreats/consultations for ministry couples were held in 2011; others are planned for 2012.
In March of 2008, the WRF Board of Directors approved the recommendation of the North American Regional Board that the WRF assume sponsorship of Women in the Word: A Workshop. This new oversight created the potential for training women from a wide variety of evangelical Reformed denominations, not only in the United States and Canada but from further abroad. The Workshop is an annual two-day event that serves the church by helping women grow in their understanding of Scripture, strengthening both those who teach and those who study on their own. In large group sessions and interactive Study Groups, it focuses on women helping women interpret, apply and present the Bible to others.
The twelfth Women in the Word Workshop will be held on October 13 and 214, 2017 at Calvary Presbyterian Church, in Willow Grove, PA.
In the early 2000’s, over several years, a dozen American women participated in a U.K. conference organized by Proclamation Trust. (See http://www.proctrust.org.uk.) In 2006, some of these women worked together to offer the first “American version” of the British conference. Sixty women from across the U.S. attended that first year. In 2015, at our tenth Workshop, over 100 women participated!
Women in the Word is committed to helping women learn to "correctly handle the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15) so that God's Word can bring joy, understanding, and revival to their hearts, and to others. The preparation that is required of participants before the Workshop is actually part of the whole Workshop experience! In 2010, aiming to help not only women Bible teachers but also those who “just want to be better Bible students,” the Workshop provided Study Groups in both a Teacher Track and Personal Study Track format. For more details, see Women in the Word under “Resources.” The Word is worth the work!
Go to this same area of the WRF web site for must-read articles and audio recordings from Workshops. (You'll want to have your Bible in hand as you read or listen!)