The Reformed Church in America has a long history of collaborating with other Christians. Whether in hospitals founded by missionaries, in a local VBS hosted with neighboring churches, or in dialogue with other communions, we partner with other believers in order to advance Christ’s mission on earth. Our common, unifying work is a response to Jesus’ prayer that we “may all be one” (Jn. 17:21). In the Bible, Christian unity is described as a gift and a call. It is a gift that has already been realized by Jesus Christ, who has broken down the dividing walls of hostility (Eph. 2:14). It is a call to bear one another’s burdens so as to make visible to all a unity that God already sees (Gal. 6:2).
The word ecumenical comes from the Greek “oikoumenous,” which refers to the “whole earthly family.” Thus, the work of Christian unity, of ecumenism (ek-yoo-men-ism), is the ministry of reconciliation and cooperation with the whole family of God. Ecumenical relationships at the denominational level are facilitated by the Ecumenical Associate, Monica Schaap Pierce and a host of RCA representatives to councils, convocations, and assemblies of our partners. Perhaps most significantly, the work of church unity also takes place at the local level—with ecumenically staffed food pantries, ecumenical worship services, community Bible studies, pastors’ groups, and many other expressions.
The urgent work of reconciliation and cooperation requires renewed strength and courage, which we can only find in God. It necessitates trust in, and openness to, the Spirit. It demands an unqualified, intentional, and prayerful commitment to heal the brokenness of the Body of Christ. Stressing the importance of Christian Unity, John Calvin once wrote, “Christ cannot be divided. Faith cannot be rent. There are not various baptisms, but one, which is common to all… Faith, baptism, and God the Father, and Christ, ought to unite us, so as almost to become one person.”
The Christian Unity Project—the public face of the RCA’s Commission on Christian Unity, which is staffed by the Ecumenical Associate—strives to equip all congregations, classes, and the denomination for this urgent work. Come join us. #UnityIsCalling