CRCNA and PCCAffirming our Relationship

In 2009, the General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC) and the Synod of The Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) affirmed the relationship between our churches.

Affirmation of CRCNA-PCC Relationship
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We’ve provided sketches of our churches below. As you read, we hope you’ll get to know each church better, and see why a strong relationship between our churches can be celebrated.

Who We Are

History and Demographics

Both our churches trace their roots in the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, and to the teachings of John Calvin. Calvin’s teachings and the Reformation spread across Europe, and were interpreted in slightly different ways wherever they took root. Since the 18th century, immigrants from these nations began migrating across the Atlantic, bringing their faith with them.

Early on, our churches functioned as bridges with the immigrants’ homeland, and so were influential in creating communities for these ethnicities in their new home. However, expressing Christian hospitality, both also entered an era of increasing diversity by making intentional efforts to welcome others.

Our Values and Mission

Our similar history and theological heritage has resulted in a similar understanding of our values and mission.

CRCNA

“We are a church that seeks to meet the needs of all members: male and female, old and young, married and single. The Word of God is central to our worship services. We believe that all of life is governed by our faith. We have a strong commitment to Christian outreach.”

PCC

“We are disciples of Christ, empowered by the Spirit, glorifying God and rejoicing in service. So, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, we proclaim the love and good news of Jesus Christ through our words and actions, relying on the scriptures, for God’s guidance into the future. We approach this future with wonder and anticipation, knowing God is with us. As worshipping communities joyfully celebrating the sacraments, we are supported, strengthened and equipped to share the love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.”

Our Beliefs

Both our churches revere the Bible as our primary source of revelation, and the authoritative lens for how we understand God. We

Creeds

CRCNA
Apostles’
Nicene
Athanasian

 

PCC
Apostles’
Nicene

Confessions

CRCNA
Heidelberg
Belgic
Canons of Dort

 

PCC
Westminster
Scots
Heidelberg

 

Contemporary Statements of Faith

[row][col_three]CRCNA[/col_three][col_three]PCC[/col_three][/row]
[row][col_three]Our World Belongs to God[/col_three][col_three]Living Faith[/col_three][/row]

[row][col_three][/col_three][col_three]The Statement Concerning Church and Nation[/col_three][/row]

How We Worship

The weekly worship gathering is central to the life of our communities. It is an important part of how we orient ourselves to God at work in our lives and all creation.

Our heritage and anticipated future intersect in worship as we sing, pray and think about our calling. What our communities have been and what we are becoming in Christ is experienced as we gather together.

Both churches now worship in a variety of ways, with diverse people present, building on how Reformed worship was interpreted in our countries of origin.

Who We Are

Christian Reformed Church in North America

The earliest Christian Reformed Church was founded by Dutch immigrants in Graafschapp, Michigan, in 1857. The first in Canada began in Nobleford, Alberta, in 1905. Today, the CRCNA includes just over one thousand congregations on both sides of the Canada-US border, with 262 in Canada. There are 268,052 members in the CRCNA, with 78,400 in Canada.

Worship takes place in Korean, Navajo, South-East Asian, Hispanic-American and African-American congregations, as well as many congregations that include more than just surnames beginning with “Van” on the membership roll.

The Presbyterian Church in Canada

The earliest Presbyterian worship was among German settlers, a Scottish Highlanders regiment and “Protestant Dissenters” in the 1740s and 1750s. With more immigration, very often from Scotland, Presbyterians continued to worship in a variety of denominations until these united in 1875. Together, they formed The Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC). In 1925, some Presbyterians joined with Methodists and Congregationalists to form the United Church of Canada. Many of the Presbyterians who continued had names beginning with “Mc” or “Mac,” and the PCC was often referred to as the Scottish church.

Today, the PCC includes 935 congregations across Canada, with over 113,000 members. While the Scottish flag still flies in many sanctuaries, celebrating Scottish contributions, an increasing number of Presbyterian congregations enjoy people from around the world in worship. There are also distinctly Hungarian, Ukrainian, Ghanian, Arabic and Korean congregations.

How We Worship

Christian Reformed Church in North America

We understand the worship service as a conversation between God and people.

Originally based on Isaiah 6, the worship liturgy had been identical across our churches. It included a Call to Worship, God’s greeting, a Service of Reconciliation (including Confession, Repentance and Assurance), and God’s Word (the reading and proclaiming of scripture). Just before the message, rustling could be heard as King or Wilhelmina peppermints were passed down the pew.

Now, worship includes a variety of styles from traditional to blended to contemporary. The organ is no longer the primary instrument, but corporate worship is still understood as a dialogue between God and people: God speaks in one part of the service, the people respond in another. As our churches become more ethnically diverse, the peppermint tradition is not what it once was, though many still pass them out (some things are slow to change).

The Presbyterian Church in Canada

We also understand worship as a conversation between God and people.

Before 1875, the Presbyterian Church within Canada had different ethnicities and denominations represented. While we never experienced a uniform worship service, there was a great deal of similarity between our liturgies. God called us to worship with the scriptures, we responded by acknowledging our sin and asking forgiveness. God responded with assurance and spoke through the Word prompting our response.

Today, our worship includes a variety of styles from traditional, to blended, to contemporary. Yet, it remains a conversation between people and God. Reading and explaining scripture has a central role in worship, reflecting our continued identity as Reformed Christians.

How We Govern Ourselves

A similar court structure is used in both our churches.

 

Local:
Regional:

Denominational:

PCC

Sessions
Presbytery
Synod
General Assembly

CRCNA

Councils
Classis

Synod

 

Christian Reformed Church in North America

Councils oversee the work of our local congregations. These are made up of ministers and elders caring for the spiritual needs, and deacons who care for physical needs. The council elects a minister and an elder to attend the classis, a meeting of representatives from the churches in a geographical area. This is held 2-3 times per year. From the classis, delegates are elected to attend an annual Synod meeting, the highest governing body in our church.

The Presbyterian Church in Canada

Sessions provide oversight for our local congregations. These are made up of ministers and elders, also called teaching elders and ruling elders, who care for the spiritual needs of the congregation. Some congregations have a committee of the session which oversees the congregation’s material needs. Others use a separate board of managers. From the session, all ministers and an equal number of elders sit on the presbytery, a collection of churches in a geographic area. In some synods, all ministers and an equal number of elders in the presbytery may attend, while in other synods, presbyteries send a specified number of commissioners. The General Assembly, a meeting of commissioners from each presbytery, meets annually. Commissioners to any of these courts must include an equal number of teaching and governing elders.

How We Serve

 

CRCNA

Locally: Home Missions
Network for Congregations
Globally: World Missions
Back to God International
Short-term: Disaster Relief Services
Long-term: World Relief Committee
Many Dimensions: Aboriginal
Abuse prevention
Chaplaincy
Disability
Social justice
Hunger action
Race relations
Ministry to refugees
All areas of life: Government – committee for contact with the government
Education: Calvin College & Seminary, Faith Alive Christian Resources
Finances: Loan fund, Christian Stewardship services
 

PCC

Locally: Home Mission through Canada Ministries
Networking through synodical, regional and national staff
Globally: Equipping & Supporting Partners through International Ministries
Development and relief through Presbyterian World Service and Development (PWS&D)
Short-term: Emergency relief through PWS&D
Long-term: Partnering with indigenous ministry through PWS&D
Equipping and supporting partners through International Ministries
Many Dimensions: Native Ministries
Healing and Reconciliation with Aboriginal Peoples
Chaplaincy
Social Justice
Refugee Sponsorship
All areas of life: Government: our General Assembly through the Moderator
Education: three colleges (Presbyterian College, Knox College, St. Andrew’s Hall/Vancouver School of Theology), the Elders’ Institute, the Resource Centre
Finances: Loan Funds, Stewardship services
 

Other Partnerships

CRCNA & PCC Shared Partnerships

CRCNA’s Other Partnerships

PCC’s Other Partnerships

Affirmation of CRCNA-PCC Relationship