This agreement can be seen as a long-delayed response to the Presbyterians who decided not to enter the union that produced the Uniting Church in 1977. That led to the re-emergence of the Presbyterians as a more conservative church. The CRCA was founded by Dutch migrants in 1951. They had no desire to form a new church but found the old PCA was too liberal for them, and other Presbyterian churches had forms of worship (such as restrictions on music) that were too strict for them.
Here’s a promise of greater unity in the conservative reformed part of Australian Christianity. Two church groups – the Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA) and the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia (CRCA) have signed an agreement to work more closely “together in God’s Kingdom”.
This week a Memorandum of Understanding between the PCA and the CRCA was signed on behalf of both denominations by Andrew Nugteren, secretary of the CRCA Committee for Ecumenical Relations, and Peter Barnes, Moderator-General of the PCA.
This step towards co-operation took place at the Presbyterians’ national gathering – their General Assembly – held at Hurstville, Sydney, this week.
“As reformational and confessional churches this Memorandum of Understanding seeks to foster a closer and more formal relationship between our two denominations within the Australian cultural context,” the agreement says.
“At a local level, such engagement would include:
– combined services where suitable and desired;
– receiving of one another’s members;
– recognition of one another’s Ministers for preaching duties;
– working together in local evangelism;
– focusing church planting work with consideration for one another;
– combining and/or assisting with local diaconal/mercy ministries where possible.”