On this day in 1993 the Orthodox Presbyterian Church was received into the membership of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC). The first two regular meetings of the ICRC were held in 1985 and 1989. The Third Assembly (1993) met in Zwolle, the Netherlands September 1-9 and was hosted by the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated). At the time, the ICRC had eleven member churches: The Canadian Reformed Churches, The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ireland, The Free Church of Scotland, The Free Churches in South Africa, The Free Reformed Churches of Australia, The Free Reformed Churches in South Africa, The Gereja Gereja Reformasi di Indonesia, The Presbyterian Church in Korea (Kosin), The Presbyterian Church of Eastern Australia, The Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated), and The Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland.
In 1993 the addition of The Free Reformed Churches of North America, The Free Reformed Church of Central India, The Reformed Church in the U.S., and The Orthodox Presbyterian Church brought the total membership to fifteen. Representatives from more than twenty churches were also present as observers. The members of the OPC Committee on Ecumenicity and Interchurch Relations who attended were Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., Jack J. Peterson, and G.I. Williamson.
The most prominent themes of the Third Assembly were missions and preaching. Several papers related to these themes were presented and discussed resulting in greater mutual understanding between participating churches. According to the official press release: "An excellent spirit of fellowship was characteristic of the entire meeting, which reflected a pronounced international flavor."
The ICRC currently has thirty member churches from around the world and continues to meet once every four years. The stated purpose of the conference is "to express and promote the unity of faith that the member churches have in Christ; to encourage the fullest ecclesiastical fellowship among the member churches; to encourage cooperation among the member churches in the fulfillment of the missionary and other mandates; to study the common problems and issues that confront the member churches and to aim for recommendations with respect to these matters; to present a Reformed testimony to the world."
Picture: The 1997 ICRC meeting in Seoul, South Korea.