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Verbum et Ecclesia

versão On-line ISSN 1609-9982

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PLAATJIES VAN HUFFEL, Mary Anne  e  VAN DER MERWE, Johan M.. The journey to church unification between the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa. Verbum Eccles. (Online) [online]. 2012, vol.33, n.1, pp. 1-7. ISSN 1609-9982.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/ve.v33i1.724.

The article gives a historical overview of judicial problems that the Dutch Reformed Church (DRMC) and the Dutch Reformed Church in Africa (DRCA) encountered in their journey to church unification. On 14 April 1994 the DRMC and the DRCA merged and the Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa (URCSA) came into being. Firstly, attention is given to a historical overview of the unification process. Secondly, the resolutions of the General Synod of the DRCA (1991), the judicial problems that surfaced shortly after the unification between the DRMC and the DRCA, the objections against the unification process and the lawsuit that followed, will be attended to. The unification between the DRMC and the DRCA was tested in court and in 1998 the Supreme Court gave judgment in favor of the DRCA. The verdict indicated that all decisions with regards to church property were ultra vires and that the DRCA as a legal corporate entity remains. The article concludes with a few legal aspects that may be derived from the judgement. The verdict highlights the administration of justice according to established rules and principles, namely that a juristic person cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without appropriate legal procedures and safeguards. The article proposes that Reformed churches in the South African context should seriously take cognisance of the judgement. This article attempts to identify the important criteria for and characteristics of administration of justice with regard to church unification.

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