Touch: The Dialogue Powering Revision

2013. április 19., péntek

The Church Revision Committee of the Reformed Church in Hungary was created to examine the lives of local congregations and through dialogue determine a national strategy. After its approval during the last Synod meeting in November 2012, the Revision Committee set about examining the best way to create meaningful discussion among the RCH's 1,249 congregations.

While considering the best way to collect information on the life of the church, the committee, which is made up of 13 people, decided upon a program with a series of questions created to develop a forum for frank discussion about the congregation's life, mission and vision for the future. A packet with discussion material and a short questionnaire was sent to every congregation in the RCH and outlines how best to conduct the meetings and complete the process. The committee suggests the material in the packet, entitled "Touch," be covered in three separate meetings. Furthermore, every member of the congregation is invited and encouraged to participate in the vision discernment process.

This format creates a dialogue between the national church and local congregations instead of relying on information from third-party experts attempting to observe congregational life and structure from an outside perspective. Aside from providing information to the national church, this program gives individual churches the opportunity to examine their life and goals for the future. It also asks congregations how the church, as it is, can best help them in their life, or if the structure makes their church life more difficult, what the church should change.

The congregations have until July to complete the packet. Once they have finished it, the questionnaire portion can be removed and sent back to the national church individually. The committee will compile and analyze these reports in the hopes of identifying common threats and goals among the congregations. The Revision Committee is also collecting information from other branches of the church, such as its institutions, schools and diaconia, which will be integrated with outside, sociological research and the feedback from congregations in order for the committee to construct an "action plan." This plan will detail the next step in the RCH's revision process and the ways in which a national strategy could be conceived from the collected discussions. Once completed, the committee will then present it to the Synod, the highest decision-making body of the RCH, in November.

Mark 5: 25-34, the story of the woman who touches Jesus' cloak, serves as the inspiration for this revision process. The committee identifies the Reformed church with the woman who has been bleeding for 12 years because the church, regardless of history and tradition, is losing members and literally watching its life flow away. But when the woman fell before Jesus and told Him the whole truth, she was assured; her life was restored. The committee believes that now is time for the church to come before Christ with every hope or struggle and search for an answer to this uncertain time in His powerful touch.


Amy Lester

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