The 2023 annual meeting of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) was held in Rhode Island this November 14-16. It was a great honor and privilege for our small denomination to host the 62 delegates from 13 different denominations who attended this year. All together there were over 3,500 organized congregations and mission works represented with over 600,000 members.
The basis of NAPARC’s fellowship is “Confessing Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Sovereign Lord over all of life, we affirm the basis of the fellowship of Presbyterian and Reformed Churches to be full commitment to the Bible in its entirety as the Word of God written, without error in all its parts, and to its teaching as set forth in the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confession of Faith, and the Westminster Larger and Shorter Catechisms.”
The basic purpose/mission of the Council per the official statement is, “That the adopted basis of fellowship be regarded as warrant for the establishment of a formal relationship of the nature of the council, that is, a fellowship that enables the constituent churches to advise, council, and cooperate in various matters with one another and hold out before each other the desirability and need for organic union of churches that are of like faith and practice.”
Much of the time in the meetings is spent in presenting oral denominational reports followed in each case by questions and prayer for the denomination. There is no doubt that there is a growing camaraderie and respect among the men as we each labor in our particular corner of our Lord’s vineyard with many similar pressures and concerns. Additional time is spent in bilateral meetings where churches meet in smaller groups to discuss particular matters related to their denominations. The PRC sent 3 delegates this year; Pastor Michael Ives, Pastor Timothy Worrell and Elder Vincent Gebhart. In our bilateral meetings we met with the OPC, RPCNA, HRC, FRC and URC.
One of the highlights of the meeting for everyone occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday following the evening meal. As the hosting church we were able to lead the devotional time on Tuesday and present a lecture on Wednesday. Both meetings featured a time of Scripture reading, prayer, teaching and a capella Psalm singing which was truly awe inspiring. On both nights our men presented material related to Professor John Murray who was instrumental in founding the PRC back in 1965 and who is very well known and respected among these Reformed brethren. The material we presented is available in audio here:
Upon departing, many of the delegates made a point of thanking us for the convenience of the fine hired facility and our warm hospitality which together helped make the 2023 meeting a great success. The PRC in spite of our size represented itself well.