The relation with Churches abroad shall be regulated by general synod. With foreign Churches of Reformed confession a sister-Church relationship shall be maintained as much as possible. On minor points of Church Order and ecclesiastical practice Churches abroad shall not be rejected.
 "This holy church," we confess in Art. 27 B.C., "is not confined or limited to one particular place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world. However, it is joined and united with heart and will, in one and the same Spirit, by the power of faith."
Although the federation of churches is confined to one country—that the American Reformed Churches are members of the federation of the Canadian Reformed Churches is only because they are too few in number yet to form their own federation — yet the churches also recognize in their Church Order that the church of Christ is not confined within the borders of one particular country. While acknowledging that the boundaries between the nations are set by the Lord, the churches also recognize that the Gospel bears fruit throughout the world and that the Great Shepherd gathers His sheep from among all tongues and races, all tribes and nations.
This is what is being acknowledged in Art. 50 of our Church Order. How is the relation with churches in other countries established and who decides this issue? Is this each local church on its own or is it done at the classical or synodical level? How is this relation arranged and by whom is it being exercised?
Some have argued that it is a matter for the local church, but the arguments brought to the fore for this statement do not sound very convincing. Besides, would such a practice not result in disorder or even chaos? Imagine, one church maintains a sister church relationship with a local church in another country, but its sister church next door refuses to do the same on various grounds. Besides, would each and every church have the resources to investigate and come to a conclusion on the question whether it is warranted to establish such relationship? And, most important, there is the fact that this relationship is not just between a local church in one country and a local church in another country, but between one federation of churches and another federation of churches. In social and political life one particular city may recognize a specific city in another country as a sister city, whatever this may entail, but this does not apply in ecclesiastical respect.
In the church, those matters that concern the federation are conducted through general synods. It is these synods which appoint a committee on relations with churches abroad.
This is not to say that a general synod would have the right, on its own
 initiative, to seek for churches abroad with which it might establish a bond, or to charge the above-mentioned committee to do so. Here, too, the initiative should come from the churches. We recall that a provision is made in Art. 30 that "a new matter which has not been previously presented to that major assembly may be put on the agenda only when the minor assembly has dealt with it." The relationship with foreign churches as such may be a matter for the broadest assembly; the relationship with a particular foreign federation is a matter which has to be properly brought to a general synod, namely, through screening by the minor assemblies.