World Communion of Reformed Churches

World Communion of Reformed Churches
TheologyReformed Christianity
PresidentNajla Kassab
Interim General SecretaryRev. Dr. Setri Nyomi
Origin2010; 14 years ago (2010)
Members80 million
Official Edit this at Wikidata

The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) is the largest association of Reformed (Calvinist) churches in the world. It has 230 member denominations in 108 countries, together claiming an estimated 80 million people,[1] thus being the fourth-largest Christian communion in the world after the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion.[2] This ecumenical Christian body was formed in June 2010 by the union of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC).[3]

Among the biggest denominations in the WCRC are the Church of South India, Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Presbyterian Church of Korea, Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus, Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, Protestant Church in Indonesia, Presbyterian Church (USA), Evangelical Church of Cameroon, Borneo Evangelical (SIB Malaysia) and the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. Its member denominations on the whole could be considered more liberal than the member denominations of the International Conference of Reformed Churches or the World Reformed Fellowship, which are also large ecumenical Calvinist organizations.


The WCRC traces its origins to 1875, with several unifying Reformed organizations emerging in London, England.

After a two-day meeting ending on 1 February 2006, Douwe Visser, president of the Reformed Ecumenical Council, and Clifton Kirkpatrick, president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, said in a joint letter to their constituencies, "We rejoice in the work of the Holy Spirit which we believe has led us to recommend that the time has come to bring together the work of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the Reformed Ecumenical Council into one body that will strengthen the unity and witness of Calvinist Christians."

After first calling the potential body "World Reformed Communion", this was modified into "World Communion of Reformed Churches".

A Uniting General Council of the WCRC, bringing the organization into existence, took place from 18–26 June 2010 at Calvin College, located at Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States. The council focused on the "Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace" mentioned in Ephesians as its main theme, setting a tone of true mutual understanding and acceptance amongst member churches and associates, laying aside differences and other issues as they embark on this shared journey with one another as each seeks to discern the will of God and continue their struggle for justice and peace in the world. The World Communion of Reformed Churches has not taken a position on the issue of homosexuality but includes denominations that affirm same sex marriage.[4]


The 2010 Uniting General Council stated that the WCRC should be "called to communion and committed to justice." Its two main program offices are thus focused on these aspects, with theological work included with communion. The Theology and Communion office serves as coordinator for official dialogues with other religious organizations, organizes a bi-annual Global Institute of Theology, and brings Calvinist theological scholars together for various discussions. The Justice office promotes economic, ecological and human rights, basing much of its work on the Accra Confession, a statement adopted at the 2004 General Council of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches and re-endorsed at the 2010 Uniting General Council.

The WCRC also has a General Secretariat which includes the general secretary's office, the communications office and other organizational responsibilities. Through the General Secretariat, the WCRC promotes dialogue between churches, advocates for causes on a global scale and supports the activities of its member churches.

The global headquarters of the WCRC are located in Hanover, Germany, with a North American non-profit subsidiary based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Originally based in Geneva, Switzerland, which played host to John Calvin and earned a reputation as the "Protestant Rome", the group's Executive Committee announced on 8 November 2012, that they would relocate the headquarters to Hanover, Germany, by December 2013, due to overbearing financial strains caused by the high value of the Swiss franc.[5]

Organization positions[edit]

Ordination of women[edit]

In 2017, WCRC published the Declaration of Faith Concerning Women's Ordination, in which it supports the practice of women's ordination and encourages its 42 member denominations that do not ordain women to change their position.[6][7][8] The National Presbyterian Church in Mexico and National Union of Independent Reformed Evangelical Churches of France protested against the declaration, while the Presbyterian Church of Chile abstained.[9]

Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification[edit]

In the same year, WCRC became the 5th signatory of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, after the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (of the Roman Catholic Church), Lutheran World Federation, World Methodist Council and Anglican Communion.[10]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

The WCRC has no official position on human sexuality. However, many of its member denominations promote same-sex marriage or bless same-sex unions, such as the Remonstrant Church, Spanish Evangelical Church, United Church of Canada, Uniting Church in Australia, Uniting Church in Sweden, United Church of Christ, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Evangelical Church of the River Plate, Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren, Protestant Church in the Netherlands, United Protestant Church in Belgium, United Protestant Church of France, Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine, Protestant Reformed Church of Luxembourg, Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa (NGK), Reformed Church in Austria, Reformed Church in America, Swiss Reformed Church, Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, Reformed Alliance, Church of Lippe, Evangelical Reformed Church in Germany, United Reformed Church, Presbyterian Church in Canada, Presbyterian Church (USA), Church of Scotland, Presbyterian Church of Wales, Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa, Waldensian Evangelical Church and Waldensian Evangelical Church of the River Plate.[9]

Leadership and General Council[edit]

General Councils[edit]

Council year City and country Theme
2010 Grand Rapids, U.S. Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace
2017 Leipzig, Germany Living God, Renew and Transform Us[11]
2025 Chiang Mai, Thailand Persevere in Your Witness[12]


WCRC presidents are ordinarily elected for a term of seven years at every General Council:

Year Name Church affiliation
2010–2017 Jerry Pillay Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa
2017–2025 Najla Kassab National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon

General Secretaries[edit]

WCRC general secretaries are elected for seven years at every General Council (held septennially):

Year Name Church affiliation
2010–2014 Setri Nyomi Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana
2014–2021 Chris Ferguson United Church of Canada
2021–2023 "Collegial General Secretariat" (see below)
2023–2025 Setri Nyomi Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ghana

Setri Nyomi's term was a continuation of his term as general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. Upon the conclusion of Chris Ferguson's term as general secretary in August 2021, the WCRC Executive Committee appointed a "Collegial General Secretariat" originally composed of the three executive secretaries: Hanns Lessing (Secretary of Communion and Witness, Evangelical Church of Westphalia), Philip Vinod Peacock (Secretary of Justice and Witness, Church of North India), and Phil Tanis (Secretary of Communications and Operations, Reformed Church in America).[13] They were joined in the Collegium by Muna Nassar (Secretary of Mission and Advocacy) in December 2022.[14] In 2023, Setri Nyomi was installed as interim general secretary, to serve until the 2025 General Council.[15]

Member churches[edit]

Red countries are home to at least one member of the World Communion of Reformed Churches

This is a list of members of the World Communion of Reformed Churches as of February 2016:[16]

Former members[edit]

On June 22, 2023, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church approved a resolution by which it withdrew from the World Communion of Reformed Churches.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Called to communion. Committed to justice" (PDF). World Communion of Reformed Churches. Retrieved 7 August 2021.
  2. ^ "World Communion of Reformed Churches | World Council of Churches". Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  3. ^ "WCRC History". World Communion of Reformed Churches. Retrieved 28 March 2017. The World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) have merged to form a new body representing more than 80 million Calvinist Christians worldwide.
  4. ^ "26th General Council of the World Communion of Reformed Churches" (PDF). 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2023.
  5. ^ Steffan, Melissa. "'Protestant Rome' No More: Reformed Group Abandons Geneva". News & Reporting.
  6. ^ "World Communion of Reformed Churches publishes declaration of faith supporting female ordination". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Declaration of Faith on Female Ordination of the World Communion of Reformed Churches" (PDF). Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  8. ^ "World Communion of Reformed Churches calls for member denominations to accept female ordination". Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  9. ^ a b "26th Assembly of the World Communion of Reformed Churches" (PDF). Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  10. ^ "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification" (PDF). 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  11. ^ {{}}
  12. ^ {{}}
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Members".
  17. ^ "ECO received as a member-church of WCRC" (June 3, 2013), The Layman Online. Accessed June 5, 2013.
  18. ^ "Provisional Minutes of the 43rd General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (USA):Recommendation 43-10 of the Committee on Interchurch Relations" (PDF). 22 June 2023. p. 226. Retrieved 26 June 2023.

External links[edit]