Gathering 2019, scheduled to be held at The King’s University in Edmonton from May 24 to 26, 2019, is a coming together of Christian Reformed members and leaders across Canada to discuss how to move forward as a denomination in an age of changing needs and expectations.
During the Autumn, members of the team working to organize Gathering 2019 visited all Christian Reformed Church classes (regional groups of churches) in Canada to make CRC leaders aware of the event and to elicit participants. Each classis is encouraged to nominate one participant for every two churches in the classes. The cost for attending the Gathering is minimal ($200 per participant), with most expenses being covered by a grant from the CRC in Canada and contributions from a variety of people.
People attending Gathering 2019 will be those who are deeply interested in helping the CRC move into the next stage of its ministry. It started as an immigrant church. Members of this church were deeply involved in proclaiming that Jesus is Lord of all of life, and worked to establish agencies such as Christian schools, Christian labour associations, Citizens for Public Justice, universities and places of higher learning. The Lord has blessed the work of this immigrant church immensely, but the needs of Canadian society have changed and the mission of the church needs to be expressed in contemporary ways to address such needs.
What does this mission look like? What is God telling His people about areas of Canadian society that need the impact of the gospel? What is already happening in the CRC church throughout Canada to address the different needs?
Rather than having “experts” address the questions, it is expected that gatherers will talk about what they see and experience as the new mission of the church, and share ideas and stories about how the church is already fulfilling a different calling in their own towns and regions.
Regional (classis) teams will talk and think about how churches in their areas might respond to God’s call as they see it. It is expected that the classical representatives will come back to their own areas with information and methods that will help empower local churches to carry out their unique ministries. It is expected that classes will bless and empower their classical teams to share their experiences – not only with classis at fall meetings in 2019, but also to be available to local churches with suggestions and support.
Gatherers will participate in a variety of spiritual disciplines as God equips them, and worship throughout the Gathering will be led by Jeremy Benjamin.