West Coast Ecclesias identify Central’s fellowship practice, recognize the need to make the BASF the basis for inter-ecclesial fellowship, and to restrict fellowship to Central ecclesias
PACIFIC COAST CHRISTADELPHIAN AMENDED REUNION COMMITTEE
November 21, 1995
Dear brother _______________,
Greetings in our Lord Jesus Christ.
While attending the recent TIDINGS MAGAZINE committee meeting, two brethren from the Pacific Coast Christadelphian Amended Reunion Committee PCCARC) realized, during discussions with brethren from eastern ecclesias which are contemplating unity with Unamended ecclesias, that it might be helpful for the PCCARC to prepare and distribute a summary of the unity activities which took place in California since the late 1980’s.
We have prepared such a document and include a copy with this letter. We hope it will be helpful in your unity activities.
If you would like to pursue the matter further by correspondence or personal discussions, we would be happy to offer our services. The committee members are: Jim Land, Robert Lloyd, John McColl, Richard Patterson, Phil Snobelen, Ken Sommerville and Robert Stodel.
With love in the One Hope.
2905 Kalamalka Drive
Coquitlam BC Canada V3C 5Z7
SUMMARY OF CALIFORNIA UNITY ACTIVITIES
There is a long history of study weekends in which certain members of the California Central and Unamended ecclesias met together for mutual Bible study. Breaking of bread services were either not involved or occurred separately. These activities served to develop understanding and trust.
In the late 1980’s a Southern California committee formulated a “California Unity Proposal” that was approved by the arranging brethren of the Southern California ecclesias and also by the Pacific Coast Amended Reunion Committee (PCCARC). The proposal was to form the basis of uniting the Central and Unamended ecclesias in California. This proposal was not accepted by the Unamended ecclesias because of their inability to agree to the provision on fellowship practice.
In the January 1992 Tidings magazine correspondence between the San Francisco Central Ecclesia and the Belmont and Mendacino Unamended Ecclesias was published which announced the uniting of the two former Unamended ecclesias with the Central Fellowship.
In that correspondence the following statements were included. “We agree that the doctrines to be believed and taught by us, without reservation, are the first principles of the One Faith as revealed in the scriptures, of which the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith gives a true definition. We agree to use the BASF as our basis of inter-ecclesial fellowship and to follow the inter-ecclesial fellowship practices of the Central community as defined in the Ecclesial Guide.”
Subsequently the Mariposa and Merced ecclesias united with Central on the same basis. (These four ecclesias will be referred to as “Belmont” for convenience.)
In the spring of 1992 some California Central ecclesias expressed concern about Belmont’s fellowship practice.
The PCCARC met in January 1993 to review the Belmont fellowship practice.
PCCARC determined that a careful reading of the BASF and the Ecclesial Guide reveals that inter-ecclesial fellowship practices are not defined in these documents.
PCCARC agreed that Central ecclesias follow a generally accepted, but unwritten, fellowship policy as follows:
When traveling, members of Central Ecclesias will attend and break bread only at ecclesias which use the BASF as their basis of beliefs
Central Ecclesias will welcome to participate in their breaking of bread service, only visitors from ecclesias which use the BASF as their basis of beliefs
The then current Belmont practice was aired and discussed. It was decided to enter into an 18 month transition period during which Belmont was asked to address the concerns of the brotherhood and provide assurance that their fellowship practice would conform to the generally accepted Central practice defined above.
After several ecclesial meetings, some of which were attended by members of the PCCARC, Belmont formulated and forwarded to the PCCARC a letter. After reviewing the letter, having discussions with representatives of Belmont and holding a public meeting of the PCCARC in April 1994, the members of the PCCARC concluded:
The doctrinal position of Belmont is entirely consistent with that of the world wide Central Fellowship.
Belmont plans to conform to the generally accepted fellowship policy of the world wide Central Ecclesias as stated above. (It is understood that they will deal with internal issues arising from their new fellowship position in a way that will be helpful to preserve the unity that exists among Central ecclesias.)
The PCCARC notified west coast ecclesias of these conclusions in April 1994. A notice was also published in the Tidings magazine.
Belmont and the west coast ecclesias, as well as the brotherhood at large, have greatly benefited from the personal and ecclesial interchange resulting from these unity efforts.
Thirty three of the thirty six west coast ecclesias have accepted the PCCARC conclusions, however, we are sorry to report that three ecclesias have chosen not to fellowship Belmont members.
PACIFIC COAST CHRISTADELPHIAN REUNION COMMITTEE