Canadian Council of Churches - 75 Years

Dr Robert Steffer, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Canada

The level of participation in the worldwide body/community of Christ determines her current vitality and effectiveness in intervening to encounter the forces of evil. As a corollary, it is confession of societal and individual sins which brings a continuing reminder that God only forgives and grants salvation to the world. The freeing power of Jesus Christ, “the hope of the world,” is offered to believers and received as a bonded trust through Word and Sacrament.

Christians identify with the personal encounters Jesus had with individuals and corporately, as told in powerfully written scripture texts. We today have the very same relational problems. Disparities between good and evil are abundant. Rich countries and individuals remain intransigently able to provide armaments and far less able to help meet basic needs of humanity. Being Christian means speaking truth to power, acting with passion from a solid base to ‘go forth’ with others locally and globally.

For the Disciples of Christ, mission and witness are not strangers, though the church continues to suffer in persecution and/or from indifference. We seem to function weakly in many places these days. We mourn the loss of our moral influence and denominational empire-building schemes; we hang on tenaciously to beloved edifices and bureaucracies, resisting potentially effective mergers with neighbours of similar mind. That said, sometimes a weak-looking congregation has inner strength and serves, often against great odds, as a staging ground for God’s future drama where ‘all things are made new’.