“Voluntary associations” already exist in the PCC, committee told.
Among the tasks given by General Assembly to a special committee in response to racism last year was to look into the idea of establishing voluntary associations to provide places of community. Renewal Fellowship’s response was sent in late January.
To the Special Committee on Listening, Confession and Associations:
Thank you for the work you are doing to raise awareness of the vital need to address marginalization. Along with you, we recognize that courts, congregations and ministries within the PCC are not always welcoming to those who do not belong to the majority, whether cultural or theological.
Since 1983, The Renewal Fellowship within The Presbyterian Church in Canada (RF) has existed as a voice for those who are concerned about the theological drift in the denomination from orthodoxy to liberalism. Those who adhere to a traditional understanding of scripture and practice continue to be marginalized. This is especially true following the approval of parallel definitions of marriage in 2021, which marked a formal shift in theology.
We agree with the suggestion in your November 2022 discussion document that “relational connections” are needed. We specifically point to your example of “places of theological and missional companionship” where “voluntary associations could be places where theologically diverse Presbyterians find belonging.” Such a body already exists. The Renewal Fellowship is a national, self-supporting grassroots organization. We have a part-time paid executive director, an administrative assistant, webmaster, prayer coordinator, a board of directors and members and supporters from coast to coast. Our message to those in orthodoxy is that “you are not alone.”
We speak not only for ourselves but for any volunteer organization which provides community and support to minority voices. We would ask that General Assembly:
- encourage the courts and congregations of the denomination to lend support to any volunteer association through generous use of buildings, prayers, co-operative ventures and other relevant means; and
- provide visibility to RF (and other similar voluntary associations) on the floor of GA and on the presbyterian.ca website.
A complete description of our doctrinal basis, vision, mission and concerns can be found on our website, renewal-fellowship.ca, along with an overview of our recent activity.
In Christ alone we stand,
Rev. Andy Cornell