Consultation on “Church fellowship”

Elspeet, 5-8 Feb 2015

Thirty participants from 19 of the CPCE’s member churches and two participating churches met for a consultation as part of the doctrinal discussion on “Church fellowship” between 5th and 8th February 2015. The representatives travelled from thirteen European countries to Elspeet in the Netherlands at the invitation of the Protestantse Kerk in Nederland and the Remonstrantse Broederschap in Elspeet.

The discussion focused on the first draft text compiled by the preliminary group examining the subject of church fellowship. The paper is sub-divided into four chapters consisting of a summary of progress to date, a theological reflection on church fellowship, current major challenges and initial recommendations for the future development of church fellowship.

The text was discussed mainly in working groups, in which the pivotal role of worship was repeatedly emphasised. One of the consultation group’s recommendations was that joint services of worship, which have developed into such a natural part of the CPCE’s international church gatherings over the years, should also be arranged more frequently at a local level.

The CPCE’s role as a fellowship of teaching and learning is closely tied in with the fellowship of worship. Readdressing the issue of visible unity and reflecting upon its ecclesiological foundations is a key objective of this doctrinal discussion.

The consultation group strongly recommends reinforcing the existing form of the CPCE, amplifying the reception process and intensifying the interconnection between the CPCE and its member churches. Greater collaborative efforts are needed in terms of training and continuing education, and more opportunities should be created for informal encounters. The consultation group is confident that the work on the draft document, which will be continued in preparation for the General Assembly in 2018, will generate sparks of inspiration for strengthening and deepening the fellowship even further.

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