January 12, 2024
Dear RSNY Church Family and Friends,
As your Synod Executive Minister, I am thankful to God for the amazing blessings of our Synod and Classes – there have been many, and for this I am grateful.
Our office has punched beyond in assisting Classes and Consistories in providing workshops for learning opportunities for church growth resources, polity development, learning RCA’s global impact in Mission Services, empowering RCA’s diverse leadership, Pastoral referrals, promoting Racial diversity conversations in Classes sessions and structuring for spiritual renewal in our church communities. These workshops and seminar trainings have not only provided learning opportunities but helped us as a Synod stay more connected and grow closer to each other and in serving together. Pastors remain at the heart of ministries, weathering changes and disturbances, seeking outcomes for success while coping with financial disappointment to bless congregational life in hopeful futures of belonging to the Kingdom of God. In the end, our church leaders are still standing in 2024, empowered by the Holy Spirit; empowered to remain faithful in God’s Calling in 2024 – Hallelujah!
Another praise song to God is to note how many of our congregational churches have discovered and are using digital tools like Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, texting groups, and virtual meetings to connect in Worship opportunities, ministries and mission services. This is a profound advancement as a result of Covid.
As a Synod, let us continue to focus on what God is doing in our changing church communities as New Beginnings in our Christian Journey. We are faithful Classes and Consistories, often dealing with specific challenges to address spiritual and social justice of restoration – transformative healing for our church servants and their flocks. We will continue to be energetic in serving God, as we remember our Declarations in Ministry. We will remember our calling – anointings to become Ministers of Word and Sacraments, Elders, and Deacons and faithful followers of Christ.
As a Synod, challenges will keep us on our knees in prayer. If not, we will not overcome our prayerful visions for revitalization and the proclamation of the Good News. As a Synod, we will endure every wicked element and overcome the struggle of social injustices in the furtherance of the building of the Kingdom of God. In 2024, we will proclaim Jesus Christ, as we seek diversity and inclusion in the life of Jesus.
Perhaps the biggest challenge of 2024 as a Synod, is that we simply keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, as we continue to sing the contemporary song, “Jesus, You Are The Center of Our Joy”. Whatever happens in our restructuring plan, we as homegrown children in God’s church, will stay close to Jesus Christ, and well-connected with our faithful partners in ministry to serve, I am convinced for a gracious year.
Rev. Dr. Micheal Edwards