From the pastor's pen...
Dear Church Family,
The General Synod of the Reformed Church in America (RCA – our denomination) met June 7th-12th, 2018 on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Synod of the CRC (Christian Reformed Church of North America) also met on Calvin’s campus during this time, and delegates from both denominations joined together on several occasions, seeking more ways to work together in the future.
The most significant action of General Synod 2018 was the formation of a 12 member 2020 Vision Group, tasked with discerning three possible scenarios for the RCA’s future to present to General Synod 2020. One scenario to be considered will be the graceful separation of the denomination over the issue of same-sex marriage and homosexuality. In the interim, our church will continue to live into its calling as a welcoming and affirming congregation. In other items:
- Rev. Eddy Aleman was approved as the new general secretary of the RCA (The general secretary acts as the official leader/representative of the denomination.) He is the first Hispanic to serve as the leader of a mainline Protestant denomination.
- The Synod directed the general secretary to write to the president of the U.S. in support of strategies to reduce gun violence and to urge local churches to advocate for actions to reduce gun violence.
- The Synod urged congregations and the general secretary to speak up in support of DACA and immigration reform, specifically condemning the separation of children from their families.
- Synod urged the development of sexual harassment policies and training.
- Synod commended the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality for reflection, study, and response. It denied an overture to adopt this as policy for the denomination.
- Synod approved formation of a permanent Pastoral Formation Oversight Board.
- Synod voted down changes to the office of General Synod professor.
- Synod passed new rules regarding the church’s payments for an installed minister’s health insurance.
- Synod approved formation of a small church leadership collaborative.
- Synod approved the transfer of the City Classis (which includes churches in Denver, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco) from the regional synod of the Far West to the regional synod of the Mid-Atlantics. This is the regional synod which we belong to, and I look forward to meeting and working with new colleagues in ministry from these churches.
I will serve as a minister delegate from this area to General Synod 2019 in Holland, Michigan. We will continue to be active in the denomination as we await Vision 2020, and we continue to pursue our dual affiliation with the United Church of Christ.
I hope you are enjoying your summer. Don’t take a vacation from church!
In Christ’s service,
Rev. Dawn Seaman