World Communion of Reformed Churches
27 October 2011
The church today needs to be a "living church" which continues to be renewed so that it can be a source of transformation in a dramatically changing world, says the General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC).
"It is a tragedy, therefore, when we cling on to how we have always done things without opening ourselves to how the Lord of the church might want to renew the church", Setri Nyomi writes in a message to WCRC member churches to mark Reformation Sunday, 30 October.
The last Sunday in October is the occasion for churches in the Lutheran and Reformed traditions to commemorate a key date in the Reformation movement in 16th-century Europe. On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther, a Catholic cleric, posted a note of protest to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany * an act that provoked reaction in church and state circles throughout Europe and fed into the movement that led to the creation of the Lutheran and Reformed churches.
Nyomi emphasizes in his message that today's world is facing tough times, citing the economic crisis and natural disasters that have devastated communities worldwide.
"Racial, gender, economic, climate and other forms of vicious injustice continue to plague the world," Nyomi writes. "In a world of this kind, the church needs to be a living church which is in touch with the gift of Reformation and continues to be renewed."
Referring to WCRC's commitment to programmes addressing economic, gender and climate concerns as an expression of Christian faith, Nyomi says: "As a communion (church family) committed to justice we cannot stay silent while people suffer injustice."
The full text of the General Secretary's message:
I bring you greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ as we near the 2011 Reformation Day - October 31. As churches mark this day on Sunday and Monday, it is time for us to reaffirm our openness to Gods renewal. We are Ecclesia Reformata et Semper Reformanda.
The work of renewal did not finish in the sixteenth century. We do not simply belong to a tradition. As Reformed, we believe the
Church of our Lord Jesus Christ is a movement that continues to be renewed - always reforming.
It is a tragedy, therefore, when we cling on to how we have always done things without opening ourselves to how the Lord of the church might want to renew the church. The work of the WCRC on Spiritual renewal is one expression of openness to renewal in the worship life of Reformed communities. We are grateful to the Calvin Institute for Christian worship for their leadership in this.
A church that is Reformed and always reforming is effective as the salt and light of our communities. The world is facing tough times - a harsh economic climate, earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters, have devastated a number of communities. Racial, gender, economic, climate and other forms of vicious injustice continue to plague the world. Peace has become very illusive. Violence, in many shapes and forms (including domestic), is more prevalent than many care to admit.
In a world of this kind, the church needs to be a living church which is in touch with the gift of Reformation and continues to be renewed, to be a source of transformation of society. Our theological reflection, as well as our prophetic witness, should give us renewed openness to Gods work of continuing transformation. As a communion committed to justice, we cannot stay silent while people suffer injustice.
Our world is familiar with division and fragmentation. Unfortunately, even in the church, we continue to allow ourselves to be divided and to express differences by developing new reasons for justifying separating from sisters and brothers. The spirit of Reformation Day beckons us to remember John Calvins commitment to Christian unity. He was ready to cross ten seas for the sake of Christian unity. Let us allow God to renew us and to strengthen us in a search for new ways of resolving conflicts within the church that will not fragment the church.
Happy Reformation Day. May God bless you as you reflect semper reformanda.
Rev. Dr. Setri Nyomi
World Communion of Reformed Churches
WCRC was created in June 2010 through a merger of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC). Its 230 member churches representing 80 million Christians are active worldwide in initiatives supporting economic, climate and gender justice, mission, and cooperation among Christians of different traditions.