Who Are We?
We are the Canadian Reformed Church of Owen Sound, located near the city of Owen Sound on beautiful Georgian Bay. Along with about 68 other churches throughout Canada we are federated as the Canadian Reformed Churches.
Our church has around 300 members of various ages. We are united by our common faith in the one and only true God. This faith doesn’t consist of a set of rules, but a living relationship. God gives Himself to us in Jesus Christ and works in us by His Spirit so we love Him and live for Him. We know God from the Bible, His revelation to man. In the Bible you find the gospel of the good news of God’s love and salvation through Jesus Christ. That gospel is what is preached in the church every Sunday.
We’re called a Reformed church and a Reformed church federation because we carry the mark of the great Reformation of the 16th century in Europe. That was a wide-ranging movement in the European churches which called for the restoration and reformation of the Roman Catholic Church of the time. This was a call to return to the Bible and to the confessions of the ancient New Testament church as instituted by the apostles. The main issue was that what God says in the Bible should be the measure for personal life, church life and life in society. Another issue was that churches should not be governed by a hierarchy of bishops, but that each church should be governed by elders and ministers who are chosen by the congregation and bound to the doctrines of the Bible.
As Reformed Church we maintain the three so-called Ecumenical Creeds – the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed. We also hold to the Three Forms of Unity drawn up in the age of the Great Reformation – the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the three Forms of Unity.
We are called Canadian Reformed because we wish to carry on that stamp of the Reformation in Canada. Many Reformed Dutch people immigrated to Canada after World War II. A number of the immigrants who wanted to live out of the principles of the Reformation mentioned above tried to join existing churches with roots in the great Reformation in Canada. However, they found that some had departed from the main principles of the Reformation and some were not willing to receive them unless they let some of their principles go. The first Canadian Reformed Church was instituted in 1950. The first Synod of the Canadian Reformed Churches was convened in Carman, Manitoba in 1954. As of December, 2009, there are 54 churches with a total of 17,093 members. These churches are located in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. Four American Reformed Churches located in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado and Washington are also federated with these churches.
We regard the Sunday worship services as a meeting with God and a meeting with each other as family of God. Worship services consist of reading of the Bible and the law, confessing our faith, singing Psalms and Hymns, public prayer, and a sermon about a passage from the Bible or a section of our confession. Everything in the worship services centres around the Bible as God’s holy and inspired Word which is sufficient for life and salvation (Romans 1:16). Sometimes the sacraments of baptism or the Lord’s Supper take place. At certain times of the year special services are conducted to commemorate the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as His outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Guests are always welcome in the worship services. Ushers are present to help with information or liturgy sheets or Bibles and song books. There is also a babysit for infants and toddlers. After the afternoon services we have time for fellowship in the gymnasium behind the worship hall and coffee, tea or juice is available.