From Christina Tazelaar, Director of communication, Reformed Church in America:
Welcome back after the holidays! (Hope you enjoyed Canada Day or the Fourth of July, North Americans! International folks, feel free to educate me about the recent holidays in your part of the world.)
Last month was General Synod, where our esteemed representatives discussed, debated, prayed, and worshiped. They also voted. Hundreds of times. On lots of topics.
I’ve been to a lot of synods, and this one spoke most plainly about the divisions in our midst. In response to that, General Synod established a 2020 Vision Group. These folks will look at the future and do some research. They’re called to identify strategies and consequences for three possible scenarios for the future of the RCA: staying together, radical reconstituting and reorganization, and grace-filled separation. The people who will serve on the vision group were named a week ago. Please join me in praying for them and for our denomination.
*Two members of the 2020 Vision Group are from the Regional Synod of New York! Barbara Felker, pastor of leadership development at Highbridge Community Church in the Bronx, NY, and Tom Goodhart, pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Ridgewood, NY have both been selected for the group.*
Oh, and let’s also pray for our new general secretary, Eddy Alemán. Synod affirmed Eddy for the role and he was installed during closing worship. He officially started last week.
Synod also voted to encourage churches to do some specific things. Scroll down for a few highlights and related resources for your church.
Season your speech with salt
“Speaking Christian” is a tool for discussion and reflection to ensure that speech is gracious, seasoned with salt, and respectful of all people. It is accompanied by discussion questions for use in church settings.
Is human sexuality a good thing or not?
That’s the first question of the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality, a set of questions and answers modeled on the Heidelberg Catechism. Its goal is to provide biblical answers to common questions about marriage and singleness, sexual union, and same-sex sexual activity. Delegates voted to commend the catechism for reflection, study, and response by churches, classes, and the Commission on Theology.
Speak up about violence against women and girls
Earlier this year, the RCA put forward a statement, We Are Speaking, calling the church to end harassment, abuse, and sexual violence against women and girls. More than 800 people have added their names in support. General Synod affirmed the statement and called for the development of sexual harassment policies and training.
Five steps your church can take
Get involved in immigration reform
The Commission on Christian Action urged congregations to encourage their local politicians to enact legislation that supports immigration reform. You can find resources for taking action at the end of the commission’s report. The week after synod, Eddy Alemán and others released a statement about family separation at the border.
See the statement about family separation
Synod News Summary
This email is just a sampling of what happened at synod.