NORTH AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN AND REFORMED COUNCIL

NAPARC is composed of 13 member churches (denominations or federations of churches) which together represent about 3,600 organized and mission congregations and about 584,000 members including baptized covenant children.  Each member church may send up to four delegates and they meet annually “to advise, counsel, and cooperate in various matters with one another, and to hold out before each other the desirability and need for organic union of churches that are of like faith and practice.”[1]

The basis of NAPARC’s fellowship is “Confessing Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Sovereign Lord over all of life, we affirm the basis of the fellowship of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches to be full commitment to the Bible in its entirety as the Word of God written, without error in all its parts, and to its teaching as set forth in the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms.”[2]

The 43rd annual meeting of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) convened on a Tuesday afternoon on the campus of the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Chairman Rev. Bartel Elshout led the opening devotions during which the delegates and guests sang heartily from Psalm 67, O God to Us Show Mercy.

A large portion of time was spent on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning with each member church giving an oral report on the state of its church.  Following each report delegates could ask questions and a designated delegate led the group in prayer for the church that had reported.  One theme was repeated in several reports, that the work of missions is thriving among the churches.

On Tuesday evening, Rev. Mark Kelderman of the Heritage Reformed Congregations (the host church this year) led a devotional service.  He encouraged the assembled with a message based on Revelation 1.

On Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, a discussion took place on four topics suggested by member churches.  The discussion revealed different ideas but also a common commitment to giving visible expression to that unity which is already ours in Christ.  The discussion was helpful in reminding delegates of the two-fold purpose of NAPARC, but also of its limitations.  NAPARC continues to provide a venue for its member churches to talk with one another.  It has strengthened fraternal bonds and spurred greater cooperation in missions, diaconal services, theological education, and youth ministry.

On Wednesday evening, Rev. Dr. Joel Beeke gave an inspirational address, “An Earnest Call to Help Restore Family Worship among Our Church Families.”

The NAPARC schedule runs from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday Noon and provides time slots for  meetings between the inter-church committees of the member churches.  These smaller meetings have proven fruitful for member churches to grow closer together and manifest more fully their oneness in Christ.

Rev. Ralph A. Pontier, NAPARC Secretary

 

[1] NAPARC Constitution, III. Purpose

[2] NAPARC Constitution, II. Basis