WCRC Moving to Germany in Late 2013, Cites High Swiss Costs

(Photo Credit: WCRC)The logo for the World Communion of Reformed Churches is seen in a file photo.

The Executive Committee of the World Communion of Reformed Churches voted to move its offices to Hanover Germany, at the end of 2013, citing the high costs of running the ecumenical organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

The results of the vote taken via email were announced by WCRC President Rev. Dr. Jerry Pillay.

He said the move allows the organization "to continue to live out its mission as a Communion of Churches."

"We will remain focused on our mandate of seeking church unity and justice in society and the economy and respect for the environment," he said.

The WCRC, which has a seven-member staff, said in a statement the move will take place at the end of December 2013.

Its offices are currently located at the Ecumenical Centre, which also contains the World Council of Churches.

The new offices will be located at the Calvin Centre, which is owned by the Evangelical Reformed Church of Germany where the Reformed Alliance has its offices.

The costs cited by the organization include staff salaries and the high value of the Swiss franc. The group said that most WCRC membership fees and donations are made in Euros or American dollars have dropped in value in the past several years against the strong Swiss franc.

When the executive committee met in May in Indonesia, much of the discussion focused on financial issues. In addition to the exchange rate issue, another factor causing financial difficulties was a lack of payment of membership dues by some member churches and underpayment by others, according to Johann Weusmann, the group's general treasurer.

A task group was established to prepare the move to another less expensive city. At the May meeting, the committee members approved a grid that establishes a fair share of membership contributions to meet its core budget.

The committee also approved plans at the time to launch a "sustainability fund" which aims to raise 10 million Swiss francs by 2017, and 400,000 Swiss francs in the first year.

The WCRC has had its offices in Geneva since 1948 when the World Presbyterian Alliance (a WCRC predecessor organization) moved from Edinburgh, Scotland, the WCRC said Monday.

"I am grateful for the dedicated staff team of the WCRC who have faithfully given themselves and their professional gifts to the Reformed family of churches worldwide and have been at the forefront of making a difference in the world. They are the ones called upon to make new sacrifices at this time of relocation," said Setri Nyomi, WCRC general secretary.

The move will allow the WCRC to "further its response to the history, life and purpose of member churches," said WCRC Vice-President Yvette Noble-Bloomfield.

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