What is your church doing with the Belhar Confession? Synod 2009 has recommended that the CRC adopt it as a fourth confession and thus has promoted a three-year process of discussion around the denomination. All that arose after a well-led and participated series of round tables led by the Ecumenical Relations Committee throughout the denomination in the year or more leading up to Synod 2009’s recommendation.
Funny thing, though—after a flurry of presentations around many (probably all by now) classes by members of the Ecumenical Relations Committee; and despite a pretty well-built webpage with resources to discuss the confession, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of public conversation.
This IS important—isn’t it???? Are we quiet about this because we’re thinking? Or are we quiet about it because we’re not really engaging in the discussion except to say we’re “fer it or agin it”? I pray it’s not the latter, because this IS important.
Is your church doing anything to take part in this conversation? A relative's church council looked at the Belhar over the course of a few meetings, but didn't use outside resources to structure that study. A synodical office staff member recently mentioned that requests for Belhar study resources are not what they thought they'd be at this point--even though they've been promoted in a variety of ways (including a flyer and copy of the devotional mailed to every church).
My congregation hasn’t done much with Belhar yet, but we are requesting to Classis Niagara this Wednesday, February 20, that we engage in a “circle discussion” led by members of CRCs from Classes Toronto and Quinte. The idea of this kind of conversation is that, as all are seated in a circle, everyone respond to a series of questions that do NOT pounce on the end issue of whether or not we should adopt Belhar; that seems antagonistic and not a healthy way of facing the real issue at hand. Rather the proposed conversation deals with the question of the importance and need of the doctrines and teachings of the Belhar: “How do you respond to the need for racial reconciliation as expressed in the Belhar?”
OK—today is Valentine’s Day, a day to celebrate love. Doesn’t the best and truest of all love come from God? Can we talk about the love and reconciliation from God among races within the framework of Belhar? Let’s see if we can get some healthy discussion going on this—maybe in a forum, in comments, certainly within our congregations. A video trailer for the resources, plus other links are available at our main Belhar page.
What is YOUR church doing to study The Belhar?