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More seceded independent Reformed churches affiliate with URC

Once influential Alliance disbands

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

DUTTON, Michigan - The Alliance of Reformed Churches which in recent years suffered a dwindling attendance at its periodic gatherings, has unexpectedly decided to disband. The group which served as a quasi Classis for the formerly Christian Reformed consistories, shrunk considerably when the majority federated as the United Reformed Churches in 1995.

The vote to disband was preceded by a debate about the function of the Alliance with the remaining majority wishing for a clearly defined ecclesiastical purpose. One of the churches, Covenant Independent Reformed of Wyoming, since was admitted into the United Reformed federation by its Michigan Classis. Meanwhile, Dutton Independent Reformed, the largest remaining congregation of the Alliance, overcame its reluctance to join another federation and has requested admittance to the URC as well.

Once the URC was established, most Christian Reformed congregations that seceded afterwards - some of which also a member of the Alliance - affiliated quickly with the URC. Last year, the URC already had over seventy congregations with a membership of more than 16,000.

The Alliance played a key role among orthodox consistories belonging to the Christian Reformed Church while battling against the move toward opening up the offices of minister and elder to women. Opponents of such changes generally blame this on a shift in the churches concerning the authority of Scripture.