Though many of these points are for those churches joining from the Reformed Church of America (RCA) this guide will provide a path to follow for all churches wishing to join the Reformation Canada Network (RCN). Of course, new or unaffiliated churches will have a more direct path into the RCN through an application process. However, the following gives you ideas of what will be needed. We are developing guidelines for churches that are not with the RCA and will update that information here once completed.
If your church is considering joining us, please contact Ron Opmeer, our President.
Steps to Joining the RCN
(Remember these steps are specific to churches leaving the RCA)
- Please read our RCN By-Laws to understand our structure and how your church will function within our denomination. Before deciding to become an RCN church, be aware that the Covenant Statement on Belief and Practice is to be annually signed by all local church deacons, elders and pastor(s), past and present. All such officers are RCN members, though only elder delegates and serving Congregational or Specialized pastors are voting members.
- If your church is currently with the RCA the Classis process begins when the Consistory submits an “application for leave to withdraw” stating the basic reasons why you want to leave the RCA/Classis and transfer to the RCN.
- the Classis establishes a committee to meet with your Consistory and members for votes of affirmation;
- the RCN will verify in a letter that your church will be received with full rights and privileges;
- the RCN Executive team is provided confirmation that the vote was at least 75% in favour and that you wish to proceed;
- an RCN General Meeting will approve your acceptance before your Classis votes to transfer your church;
- see the BCO, pp. 42-46, for the full Classis process https://www.rca.org/about/government/book-of-church-order/ )
- Also, any RCA pastor who is a member of the Classis will need to ask for demission of their ordination from the Classis/RCA. This demission is completed by vote of Classis once the RCN has recognized the pastor’s RCA ordination or Classis commissioning and the pastor is received as an RCN member.
- The pastor’s extended medical benefits plan can be taken over by the Canadian Centre for Christian Charities (CCCC) as your church applies to become a CCCC member. Monthly premiums will go down and coverage will go up. Your pastor’s pension plan can also be supervised by the CCCC. It’s an easy transition. However, RCA ministers need to ensure the new CCCC coverage is in place before your demission from the RCA as your previous benefits coverage ends at the end of the same month.
- Your pastors will apply for membership with, the Christian Ministers Association who is our partner for providing provincial clergy marriage licensing credentials for our ministers throughout the country.
- Once transferred into the RCN, your church will update its by-laws to reflect membership in the RCN and may change terminology accordingly (e.g. “Consistory” to “Council”, etc.)
- Former RCA churches must include a clause on property reversion to RCA ownership (if you dissolve as a church within five years) which is to be added to your church’s revised by-Laws. An example of revised By-Laws can be provided or simply refer to the Minutes of General Synod 2021 to see examples of the required language.
- The RCN requires annual assessments of 1.5% of a church’s previous year’s expenditures (excluding mission disbursements outside of congregational use) and it is paid quarterly. Also, for the first year after departure, the RCA/RSC/Classis will also require per member assessments unless alternate arrangements are made within your classis.
- The RCN’s General Meetings take place on Zoom at least twice a year and occasionally happen in person. We also encourage annual regional gatherings for fellowship and equipping.
- Ministerial students under care of Classis can apply to be received as a student under the RCN.
- The RCN is developing its own Policy Manual.