Report on General Synod as a Heartland Delegate
GENERAL SYNOD 2014
General Synod 2014 took place in Pella, IA. at Central College June 12-17. I was privileged to be a voting delegate representing the Synod of the Heartland.
The major highlight was meeting jointly with the Christian Reformed Church of North America. Our two denominations split in 1858 and this is the first time we have met jointly. We have the same theology and the two denominations have been developing a close working relationship over the last few years. We have a growing program of partnership in mission, services and programs. We share full communion and ministers and sacraments. We even have joint congregations in places. Sharing all of this was enlightening to many and very encouraging. We shared worship services and had several joint sessions. Both Synods passed a resolution promising to work more closely together in the future. There is a document that was put forward called “Reformed Collaborative”. It is posted on the RCA website and worth your time to read. As we shared with each other, we really emphasized the fact that we must take this spirit of cooperation back home to our churches. We have the same goal and that is to bring the saving gospel of Jesus to those who are lost. It is only good stewardship to do this together.
First Reformed was again recognized for its support of RCA missions. We have 42 missionaries around the world. Much of our foreign mission work is centered on training native leaders and pastors to do God’s work in their home situations.
We were introduced to a new staff member that is the Coordinator for Volunteer Engagement. This person will be a resource and organizer for churches looking for ways to send volunteers to serve in areas of need.
The RCA budget for next year was approved. Only 31% of the income is from assessments, with 50% from direct donations and the balance from other sources. I was again encouraged by the RCA stewardship. Only 9% of the budget is used for administration. This is a very low figure and tells us that our staff is doing an incredible job using our funds for God’s work
The Synod declined an overture that asked us to state that there is a wide array of perspectives regarding same sex relationships and therefore we should change the stance of previous synods. Again, this was defeated.
The Synod then voted to instruct the Commission on Church Order to incorporate the definition of marriage “as between one man and one woman” into our Book of Church Order which is our constitution. This will come to the synod next year.
We also passed a resolution to be more active with the CRCNA in support of ministries for children with disabilities.
In other business, we voted to proceed with a plan to have biennial synods.
There was much discussion on our new 15 year direction called “Transformed and Transforming, Radically Following Christ in Mission”. The General Secretary is aligning staff with this direction and that is where our funds will be used.
We closed the Synod by worshiping and installing the Rev. Greg Alderman as president for the next year and myself as VP. I covet your prayers as we move forward in God’s Kingdom work.
For complete coverage of General Synod, go to rca.org/synod.
Heartland Synod President becomes new VP of General Synod
Delegates have elected Evan Vermeer as synod vice president. He is currently president of the Regional Synod of the Heartland and an elder at First Reformed Church in Sioux Center, Iowa.
for more information about this year's General Synod go to rca.org
Installation at Papio Creek
Join us in welcoming Pastor Dave Parish to Central Plains Classis. Pastor Dave was installed at Papio Creek in Papillion, NE on June 1.
Transformed and Transforming
Transformed and Transforming is the strategic goal of the Reformed Church in America, adopted at General Synod 2013
As the RCA moves toward a fifth century of mission and ministry, it commits to focus its efforts over the next 15 years on:
Cultivating transformation in Christ
Here are some comments from the Administration Team for the Classis of West Sioux as they talk about the Reorganization of the Classis.
For more information on Transformed and Transforming check out the RCA web site.
"Rejoice" with Rejoice!
Exciting things are happening at Rejoice Community Church in Le Mars, IA. Over the last year they have experienced renewal, growth and a new sense of purpose in the community. They have reached out to many different needs in the area and the response has been enormous both in community involvement and member involvement.
Here is an interview with Pastor Tony De La Rosa as he talks about the ministry in Le Mars.
Cana of Fort Dodge
A creative space where:
Cana is a Christ-centered ministry to enhance the community of Fort Dodge and the surrounding area. At Cana, in a cafe-like setting, you are challenged to find the 'cause within you" and seek ways to fill that need wherever God has placed you.
Cana is God-Space.
Rev. Chris Schaefer from Lebanon Memorial United Methodist Church, Lebanon, VA, to American Reformed Church, Woodstock, MN.
Rev. Mark Beernink from Christian Reformed Church, Rock Valley, IA, to Church of the Savior, Rochester, MN.
Rev. Aaron Punt from Western Theological Seminary to First Reformed Church, Slayton, MN.