Members of the governing bodies of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) and the Reformed Ecumenical Council (REC) will meet in joint sessions for the first time starting Oct. 6 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The meeting will consolidate planning for the historic merger of the two organizations into the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) that will occur at a General Council meeting in June 2010 at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. The theme of the General Council will be “Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace.”

The new body will represent 80 million Reformed Christians around the world. WARC has 75 million members in 214 churches in 107 countries. REC has 12 million members in 39 churches in 25 countries. The Christian Reformed Church is a member of both organizations.

Rev. Peter Borgdorff, executive director emeritus of the CRC and current president of the Reformed Ecumenical Council, is serving as chairman of the arrangements committee for the 2010 gathering.

The Utrecht meeting includes WARC’s Officers and REC’s Executive Committee. They will work together to finalize a draft constitution and shape the structure and vision of WCRC. They will also launch a WCRC logo.

“It is a great opportunity to meet our sisters and brothers in REC and to make concrete our dream of a new truly vital Reformed communion that will meet the challenge of God’s call to justice and unity in the 21st century,” said WARC general secretary Setri Nyomi.

Richard van Houten, general secretary of REC, added: “It will be the first time the leaders of the two organizations will have to work together and they can send an important message to our members about how the cultures of WARC and REC will blend together, working for the common mission God has given them.”

The gathering is being hosted and supported by the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. It is the largest Protestant denomination in the Netherlands and the result of a 2004 merger of the Netherlands Reformed Church, the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

WARC and REC leaders will worship in local churches on the day prior to the meeting, bringing messages from the home denominations from around the world.