Case Statement

The World Reformed Fellowship: A Brief Case Statement 


Why a World Reformed Fellowship? 

The mission of the World Reformed Fellowship is to promote understanding, cooperation and sharing of resources among our membership of evangelical and reformed Christians in the advancement of the Gospel.   

The vision of the WRF is simple - "That the strengths of some might become the strengths of all in the service of Jesus Christ" (see Paul's prayer in Ephesians 4: 11 - 13).

The Biblical and Confessional Foundation of the World Reformed Fellowship 

The WRF vision is to live out one of the clearly stated but often neglected themes of the great Reformed confessions of the church. The Westminster Confession of Faith (XXV, 2) affirms that there is "a visible universal church which consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion." The Belgic Confession (Article 27) emphasizes that "the one single catholic or universal church . . . is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain persons. But it is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world." 

While specific regional or national expressions of the universal church do, in many ways, embody characteristics of the Body of Christ, there are other characteristics of that Body which transcend those expressions. It is those other characteristics that the WRF seeks to set forth in its commitments and in its activities.

The Affirmations of the World Reformed Fellowship

  • The essence of the true religion (and of Reformed theology) is adoration and worship of the Triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
  • This Triune God is worthy of the praise and service of all of creation
  • Christians in many places and many denominations who share these first two commitments will find their worship and service of the Lord God enhanced by contact with others of like mind

The Formal Doctrinal Basis of the World Reformed Fellowship

  • We affirm the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the God-breathed Word of God, without error in all that it affirms.
  • We stand in the mainstream of the historic Christian Faith in affirming the following catholic creeds of the Early Church: The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chalcedonian Definition.
  • More specifically, every voting member of the WRF affirms one of the following historic expressions of the Reformed Faith: The Gallican Confession, The Belgic Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism, The Thirty-Nine Articles, The Second Helvetic Confession, The Canons of Dort, The Westminster Confession of Faith, the London Confession of 1689, or the Savoy Declaration.  

The Services of the World Reformed Fellowship

For those who share our affirmations and our doctrinal base, the World Reformed Fellowship seeks to provide:

  • A network for communication and sharing of ministry resources among such Christians
  • A forum for dialogue among such Christians on current issues
  • The opportunity for such Christians from one region of the world to share their unique spiritual and theological perspectives with such Christians from other regions of the world, all within the framework of the evangelical Reformed faith
  • Regular occasions, some for such Christians in specific regions of the world and some for such Christians world-wide, to come together for worship and dialogue and resource-sharing 

The Structure and the By-Laws of the World Reformed Fellowship 

The WRF holds General Assemblies at least once every four years. The most recent General Assembly met in Edinburgh, Scotland, in April of 2010. The next General Assembly will be held in Sao Paulo, Brazil, from November 10 through November 15, 2014. At General Assemblies, all WRF members vote on major policy issues and elect the members of the WRF Executive Committee. Also at General Assemblies, issues of importance for the evangelical Reformed church world-wide are addressed.

THE WORLD REFORMED FELLOWSHIP

By-Laws
As Ratified by 3rd General Assembly
Edinburgh, Scotland
April 14, 2010
and
As Amended by the Board of Directors
March 29 – 31, 2010
Bethesda, Maryland

PREAMBLE

With gratitude to God, the International Reformed Fellowship joined the World Fellowship of Reformed Churches in October 2000 which then changed the name to World Reformed Fellowship. Both fellowships were formed in the early nineteen nineties to seek to promote the Reformed faith as a witness to the world of the Sovereignty of God in the redemption of his people through the Lord Jesus Christ. This people of God, with diversified cultural and ethnic backgrounds, are one in Christ. God has enabled us to express the unity of the church in the bonds of peace through cooperative agreements, having the same biblical, evangelical and missionary vision. Thus, believing that these are but expressions of a well thought out reformed perspective, we would invite other Reformed churches, agencies, institutions and individuals to join with us under the following principles.

The World Reformed Fellowship makes the distinction of being a fellowship, not a council. The World Reformed Fellowship recognizes that barriers of distance, culture and language often make it difficult for a church to develop and maintain binding ties with a church or churches of another country, which is essential to the conciliar model. A fellowship provides the context in which churches, ministries and institutions may become acquainted with each other, and where their leaders may develop friendships and trusting relationships leading to closer, mutually beneficial cooperation. Members of a fellowship are not obligated formally to be responsible for one another’s positions or actions, but in an atmosphere of free association, may lovingly influence each other toward greater consistency in Biblical faith and witness.

ARTICLE 1  NAME

The name of this organization shall be The World Reformed Fellowship, hereafter WRF.

ARTICLE 2   AFFILIATION

The WRF shall function in association with the World Evangelical Alliance.

ARTICLE 3  PURPOSE

  1. The purpose of WRF shall be to promote Reformed partnerships worldwide, including in the following ways:
    1. to promote reformed thinking and a Reformed world and life view, 
    2. to inform and encourage churches and people who embrace the Reformed faith, 
    3. to provide a network for communication and the sharing of ministry resources,
    4. to provide a forum for dialogue on current issues,
    5. to offer direction to the evangelical Reformed community, 
  2. WRF will promote its ministry with creativity, flexibility and efficiency. Our mission shall drive our structure and administration, as we adapt to the opportunity and needs of the hour. We shall proactively seek out individuals who can help WRF attain its objectives.

ARTICLE 4   DOCTRINAL BASIS 

  1. We affirm the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the authoritative, God-breathed Word of God, without error in all that it affirms
  2. We stand in the mainstream of the historic Christian Faith in affirming the following catholic creeds of the Early Church: The Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chalcedonian Definition.
  3. More specifically, every voting member of the WRF affirms one of the following historic expressions of the Reformed Faith: The Gallican Confession, The Belgic Confession, The Heidelberg Catechism, The Thirty Nine Articles, The Second Helvetic Confession, The Canons of Dort, The Westminster Confession of Faith, the London Confession of 1689, or the Savoy Declaration. 

ARTICLE 5  MEMBERSHIP AND VOTING

  1. A. Membership in the WRF is free and is comprised of those who apply for such membership. It is to be available both to individuals and to groups.
    1. INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS: Individuals must complete an individual membership form (provided by the International Director) which identifies the following: the specific confessions mentioned in the WRF Bylaws to which he/she subscribes; his/her complete address, including telephone number, e-mail address, the specific ecclesiastical body of which he/she is a member; and a description of any Christian ministry (paid or voluntary) in which he/she is engaged.

      All individual members are entitled to receive the regular e-newsletter, they are listed on the WRF website, and they are entitled to attend and vote at the General Assemblies of the organizations.

      Individual memberships must be renewed annually. Individual members are expected to provide annually to the International Director either (1) at least two descriptions of ministry opportunities or events or relevant publications in their own regions with the understanding that those descriptions may be shared both in the e-newsletter and on the WRF website, or (2) contribute at least $20.00 (US) per month to the WRF, (for members of economically depressed countries, this may be lower at the discretion of the International Director). All individual members are entitled to attend and vote at the General Assemblies of the organization.”

    2. GROUP MEMBERS: To sign up a group for membership, an authorized individual within the organization must complete a group membership form (provided by the International Director), which identifies the following: to which of the specific confessions mentioned in the WRF Bylaws the group subscribes; the address, telephone number(s), and e-mail address of the contact person for the group; the specific ecclesiastical affiliation (if any) of the institution or agency; and a description of the Christian ministry in which the institution or agency is engaged.

      Group membership must be renewed annually. Group members are expected to provide by e-mail to the International Director at least two descriptions each year of ministry opportunities or events or relevant publications with which they have been directly involved with the understanding that those descriptions may be shared both in the e-newsletter and on the WRF website. Groups may request that any or all members of their group receive the WRF e-newsletter and be listed on the WRF website, but the group contact person is responsible for providing and updating this information annually.

  2. All initial membership applications and all membership renewals must be approved by the Board of Directors of the WRF. This approval may be granted via mail or e-mail or it may be granted at an in-person meeting of the Board of Directors.
  3. While membership in the WRF is free and there are no membership dues, members are urged to contribute financially to the work of the WRF as they are able.   
  4. For purposes of voting on policy and bylaw changes, WRF shall have a bicameral system of governance:   (1) a body composed of individual members, and representatives from local congregations, missionary societies, educational institutions, and other agencies, and    (2)   a body composed of church representatives (denominations and associations of congregations).   Such representatives shall be those who are specifically certified before each General Assembly by the member denominations’ or association’s highest judicatories or appropriate committee for ecumenical relations or equivalent. Both bodies must vote in the affirmative for changes in policies or bylaws tio be effected.   All other business shall be transacted in the assembly meeting in plenary session. Members shall have only one vote, whether as an individual member or as a representative of a church.
  5. Group membership shall be based on the following formulas for voting purposes:
    1. Churches whether denominations or congregations, shall be based on total number of ordained ministers. 
    2. Educational institutions shall be based on total number of faculty members.
    3. Missionary Societies shall be based on total numbers of full-time missionaries.
    4. Other agencies shall be based on total number of official staff. 
  6. Groups with membership (as defined above) above 501 members shall be entitled to five votes. Groups with membership between 201 and 500 shall be entitled to four votes. Groups with membership between 101 and 200 shall be entitled to three votes. Groups with membership between 10 and 100 shall be entitled to two votes, and groups with membership of 9 or less shall be entitled to one vote.

ARTICLE 6   THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND THE REGIONAL BOARDS

  1. There shall be a Board of Directors, regional boards and an Advancement Advisory Board. 
    1. Composition of the Board of Directors              

      The Board of Directors shall be comprised of no more than 30 members, elected by the General Assembly, upon the nomination of the retiring Board of Directors acting as a Nominating Committee. Normally, there shall be at least one member from each of the regionals and from the Advancement Advisory Board.   Following the General Assembly, the new Board of Directors shall meet and elect its officers, namely, a chairman, a vice chairman, a secretary and a treasurer. The International Director shall be an ex-officio member of the Board of Directors with power to vote, but may not serve as one of the officers. The Chairman of the Board of Directors and the International Director shall serve as ex-officio members of the regional boards, the Advancement Advisory Committee, and all other committees and commissions established by WRF.

    2. Responsibilities of the Board of Directors

      The responsibilities of the Board of Directors include the following:

      1. Supervising the ongoing operations of World Reformed Fellowship.
      2. Selecting, evaluating, determining the job description and remuneration of and terminating the services of the International Director.
      3. Approving the members and chair of the regional boards and of the Advancement Advisory Board and evaluating the work of those boards.
      4. Approving the annual budget of the WRF.
      5. Developing policies and programs of the WRF.
      6. Establishing the dates, venues and programs for all General Assemblies.
      7. Enhancing communication, collaboration and cooperation among members of the WRF.
      8. Addressing specific issues (such as doctrinal matters) which may be brought to the attention of the Board of Directors by any of the members of the WRF.
      9. Appointing commissions and committees which it deems to be helpful in conducting the work of the Board of Directors and/or the WRF. All commissions, committees and boards shall act “for” the WRF Board of Directors only as authorized by the Board and shall report to the Board of Directors at least annually. 
      10. Having authority to make operational changes to the Bylaws of the WRF between General Assemblies (except the purpose statement and the doctrinal basis of the organization), all such changes shall be ratified by the next General Assembly. 
      11. Nominating members to the Board of Directors for election by the General Assembly, taking into account the representation from the regional boards and the Advancement Advisory Board.
    3. Meetings of the Board of Directors:

      The Board of Directors shall meet at least annually.

      1. A quorum for meetings of the Board of Directors shall be a majority of the members present and voting. This shall apply whether the meetings are in person or by electronic conference connection.
      2. Meetings of the Board of Directors may be called by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, by the International Director, or by the written request of at least five of its members. A minimum of 30 days notice shall be required for meetings of the Board of Directors.
      3. Board of Directors members that fail to attend two meetings without excuse may be removed. Between General Assemblies, the Board of Directors may replace members as necessary, taking into account regional distribution.
  2. The regional boards are organized regionally beginning with individual boards in each of the following areas: North America, Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia and Australasia. Each regional board may have no fewer than five members, each of whom must be either an individual member of the WRF or an official member of a group which is a member of the WRF. The Chair of the Board of Directors and the International Director of the WRF or their designees are ex-officio members with power to vote of all regional boards and ordinarily at least one of these individuals will attend all meetings sponsored by the regional boards at which official decisions will be made. The regional boards have the following responsibilities.
    1. Planning and implementing ministry and fellowship opportunities for members within their own regions.
    2. Soliciting both individual and group members for the WRF within their various regions.
    3. Urging financial and prayer support for the WRF from within their various regions.
    4. Bringing to the WRF Board of Directors an understanding of developments and opportunities for ministry and fellowship in their various regions.
    5. Bringing to the local areas an understanding of developments and opportunities for ministry in other regions.
    6. Identifying ministry needs in their region with which other regions might provide assistance.
    7. Recruiting members for their own boards, with no more than two individuals on any board from the same local church or ministry
    8. Recommending to the Board of Directors (serving as the Nominating Committee) members of the regional boards to be considered to serve on the WRF Board of Directors. 
  3. The Advancement Advisory Board shall have between ten and twenty members, each of whom must be either an individual member of the WRF or an official member of a group which is a member of the WRF. The Chair of the Board of Directors and the International Director of the WRF are ex-officio members of the Advancement Advisory Board and would attend all meetings of the Advancement Advisory Board. The Advancement Advisory Board has the following primary responsibilities:
    1. Raising funds to support the work of the WRF.
    2. Advising both the WRF Board of Directors and the regional boards with regard to the kinds of activities, consistent with the WRF’s purposes, which are most likely to attract funding.
    3. Advising both the WRF Board of Directors and the regional boards with regard to the best ways to promote the work of the WRF (on the website, through the e-newsletter, through press releases, etc.)
    4. Recommending to the WRF Board of Directors individuals who might be considered for membership on the advancement advisory board.
    5. Recommending to the Board of Directors (serving as the Nominating Committee) members from the Advancement Advisory Council to be considered to serve on the WRF Board of Directors.

ARTICLE 7   THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE 

The WRF Board of Directors shall appoint an Executive Committee to carry out the responsibilities of the WRF between meetings.       

  1. Composition of the Executive Committee

    The Executive Committee shall be composed of the officers, namely, the Chairman, the Vice Chairman, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and not more than three more directors chosen by the Board of Directors, plus the CFO.              

  2. Responsibilities of the Executive Committee
    1. The Executive Committee shall be responsible to carry out the responsibilities of the Board of Directors in the interim between meetings of the Board of Directors.
    2. In order to aid the International Director in his tasks, the Executive Committee shall:
      1. Act as advisors to the International Director,
      2. Offer preliminary approval of the International Director’s actions, where such approval would be advisable, pending the next meeting of the Executive Committee, 
      3. Act as a personnel committee to review and evaluate the work of the International Director, and make recommendations regarding the International Director’s remuneration to the Board of Directors,
      4. Aid the process of communication and understanding among WRF members, and
      5. Generally seek to reduce the burden of emails and other communications among the Board of Directors.
    3. The International Director may seek at any time the counsel and advice of any member of the Board of Directors without prejudice to the above advisory and review process.
    4. Shall appoint an Audit Committee on recommendation from the CFO to audit the financial records of the WRF and its regional boards and Advancement Committee.
  3. Meetings of the Executive Committee.

    The Executive Committee shall meet not more than six times per year. A quorum shall be no less than three members. 

ARTICLE 8   THE INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR

  1. The International Director carries out the decisions of the Board of Directors, assists the regional boards, recruits and seeks to motivate the Advancement Advisory Board, raises funds for and promotes the work of the WRF, and provides logistical support for General Assemblies.
  2. The International Director will also bring to the Board of Directors, the regional boards, and the Advancement Advisory Board any proposals which he believes will enhance the ministry of the WRF. 
  3. The International Director is the voice of the WRF. 
  4. The International Director is an ex officio member of the Board of Directors and reports to that Board. He shall serve as an ex-officio member of all regional boards. (See Bylaw 6.B).
  5. The International Director shall be elected and may be replaced by the Board of Directors (see Art. 6,A,2,b). His term shall normally continue until the closing of the next General Assembly. In the event of his death or resignation between meetings of the Board, the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors shall be empowered to appoint an Interim International Director who shall hold the position until the next meeting of the Board of Directors, at which time, the Interim appointment shall either be ratified or changed by the Board 

ARTICLE 9   GENERAL ASSEMBLIES

  1. A General Assembly of the WRF shall ordinarily meet at least once every 4 years. The General Assembly of WRF shall be called by the Board of Directors with a 6 month written notice. A special called meeting of the General Assembly may be called with a 3 month written notice. Since the World Evangelical Alliance meets approximately every 6 years, the Board of Directors shall plan to schedule the meetings of WRF to coincide with that of WEA when possible.
  2. The matters to be voted on by the General Assembly will include the following:
    1. The election of the Board of Directors.
    2. The Purpose Statement of the WRF.
    3. The Doctrinal Basis of the WRF. 
    4. Any ratification of and proposed changes to the By-Laws. 
    5. Reception and approval of the audited financial accounts of the organization.
  3. Parliamentary Rules for General Assemblies, Board, Commissions and Committees:
    1. Majority votes of members present are the ultimate rule. 
    2. The chair/moderator leads and rules in regard to questions about process/procedure; but a procedural decision by the chair/moderator may be challenged by any member present and can be overruled by a majority vote of the members present.
    3. Any member present may request a private ballot vote on any decision and a private ballot vote shall be made upon the request of any member present. 
  4. Nominations and Election Procedures:
    1. The Board of Directors serving as the Nominating Committee, shall ask the Executive Committee to prepare a list of nominees to be elected at the General Assembly to serve on the Board of Directors of WRF. They shall take into consideration the evaluations of current members of the Board of Directors and the overall value and involvement of all potential members.
    2. They shall seek nominations from the membership of WRF, which should include a brief statement of the candidate, the consent of the nominee and willingness to serve if elected. Such candidates must be individual members of the WRF. The slate shall be presented and approved by the Board of Directors acting as the Nominating Committee which then shall be distributed to the membership at large at least one month prior to the General Assembly. 
    3. Additional nominations may be made in writing at the General Assembly to be placed in opposition to any one nominee on the slate presented by the Nominating Committee. Such nominations shall include a brief statement regarding the nominee, his consent to be nominated and willingness to serve if elected.   Such candidates should be individual members of the WRF even though they may be members of a denomination or agency.    The deadlines for such nominations shall be the close of the first business session of the Assembly. 
    4. The time for the election shall be the during the second business session of the Assembly. Only those members present on the floor of the Assembly shall be eligible to vote. The voting procedures may be conducted either by voice vote or by use of ballots. 

ARTICLE 10  BOARD OF TRUSTEES

The Board of Directors shall serve as the Board of Trustees of WRF. 

ARTICLE 11  DISSOLUTION

No trustee shall possess any property right in or to property of the corporation. In the event the corporation holds any property upon its dissolution or winding up, after paying or adequately providing for the debts and obligations of the corporation, the trustees shall distribute all remaining property to an existing evangelical and Reformed fellowship which is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization. In no event shall any earning or other property of the corporation be distributed to or inure to the benefit of any trustee, former trustee, or officer of the corporation, private individual, either directly or indirectly.

ARTICLE 12  AMENDMENT OR SUSPENSION OF BYLAWS

These Bylaws may be amended or suspended by a majority vote of the Board of Directors with the following exception: The purpose statement of the organization and the doctrinal basis of the organization may be changed only by a two-thirds vote at a meeting of a General Assembly. [Note: see Article 5. D re. bicameral voting, and Article 6.A.2.j re. amendments by the Board of Directors.]

Much of the work of the WRF is carried out by its three Commissions and its six Regional Boards.

  • The Commission on Theological Education is chaired by Dr. Ric Cannada, Chancellor and CEO of Refrormed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, and by Dr. Davi Gomes, President of Andrew Jumper Theological Seminary in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The responsibility of this Commission is to identify theological education resources among WRF members and to develop channels of communication and cooperation among WRF members so that those resources can be shared and the cause of evangelical Reformed theological education advanced around the world. 
  • The Commission on Theology is chaired by Dr. Andrew McGowan, Principal of the Highland Theological College in Dingwall, Scotland. The primary responsibility of this Commission is to develop a consistently Reformed and thoroughly evangelical Statement of Faith for the 21st century which will remain absolutely faithful to Scripture and to the theological traditions affirmed in the confessional documents listed under "The Formal Doctrinal Basis of the World Reformed Fellowship" while, at the same time, bringing those central theological truths to bear directly on such modern issues as secularism, poverty, globalization, the challenge of Islam and other non-Christian religious traditions, and various forms of abuse in the contemporary world. This Statement of Faith will be presented for consideration to the 2010 WRF General Assembly. 
  • The Commission on Missions and Evangelism is chaired by Dr. Rob Norris, Senior Pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, Maryland, and by Dr. Tito Lajara, Executive Director of Evangelism Explosion for Latin America.. This Commission is working to develop a strong and effective network of evangelical Reformed missionaries and evangelists around the world. Initially, this network will be web-based and the WRF is building an entirely new and password-protected website which will allow such missionaries and evangelists to train and assist and encourage one another in the work of spreading the Gospel worldwide. 

The Regional Boards of the World Reformed Fellowship