Commission on Race and Ethnicity

The Commission on Race and Ethnicity advises the church on policies and initiatives that address issues of institutional racism and the commitment of the RCA to become a fully multicultural and multiethnic denomination. It serves as an advocate for transformation of the RCA in regard to its multiracial and multiethnic life. It recommends policies, objectives, guidelines, and strategies to assist the RCA in its effort through all of its agencies, commissions, institutions, and other affiliated bodies to become a fully multiracial and multiethnic church. And the commission monitors, evaluates, and reports on the RCA’s progress in achieving its multiracial and multiethnic objectives (BCO Chapter 3, Part I, Article 5, Section 7).

Background

The formation of the Commission on Race and Ethnicity was approved by the General Synod in 1998 (MGS 1998, pp. 318-319) alongside a reorganization of the racial/ethnic councils. The Commission on Race and Ethnicity was formed to take on the responsibility of advising the RCA on policies and initiatives that address issues of institutional racism, the commitment of the RCA to become a fully multiracial and multiethnic denomination, and other related matters.

Membership

The eight members of the commission must have at least one person from each of the General Synod Council racial/ethnic councils, and at least half of the members must be lay people.

Please consider whether service on the Commission on Race and Ethnicity is something to which God is calling you. If it is, provide the Commission on Nominations with information about yourself by completing a profile form. Download it, save it, fill it out, save it again, and send as an email attachment to ltarbous@rca.org.

Complete a profile form

The Five-Fold Test

A tool for moving toward a multiracial future freed from racism

First developed by the Evangelical Covenant Church, the Five-Fold Test is a tool for evaluating ministry across five different dimensions of multiracial and ethnic ministry.

  1. Population: How is this ministry–congregationally, consistorially, classically, regionally, and/or denominationally–identifying, reaching, and embracing increasing numbers of people among diverse racial and ethnic populations?
  2. Participation: How effectively are we intentionally looking for ways to engage life together through congregational, consistorial, classical, regional, and denominational events, as well as with others outside the RCA?
  3. Power: Are the positions and structures of leadership (boards, commissions, committees, and positions at the congregational, consistorial, classical, regional, or denominational levels) influenced by the perspectives and gifts of diverse racial and ethnic populations? Specifically, how can we improve our preparations and performances to include racial and ethnic leaders in decisions such as nominations and budget?
  4. Pace-Setting: Having been informed by the additional perspectives, burdens, and gifts that our racial and ethnic diversity bring to us, what new mission opportunities is the RCA now better positioned to strengthen and initiate?
  5. Purposeful Narrative: In what ways do we know and honor our various cultures and traditions? How do the stories of new backgrounds become incorporated into the RCA’s history? How do all of these streams flow together into one story, moving forward together?

Moving toward multiracial ministry freed from racism requires a multidimensional approach. Many groups have wonderful intentions, but end up pulling back from multiracial ministry if they only focus on one or two of these dimensions. The Five-Fold Test asks probing questions to help you evaluate a ministry’s movement toward a multicultural future freed from racism within each one of these dimensions.

The RCA’s commitment to a multicultural future freed from racism

As part of its 15-year plan for ministry, Transformed & Transforming, the RCA commits to embracing our diverse world and striving for a multicultural future freed from racism. The Five-Fold Test is one of the ways we are moving toward this vision.

Ours is a missional motivation–maturing the body of Christ for its work of discipleship and justice, evangelism and mercy. We seek to grow into the entirety of this mission in all the places where we live, work, and worship. The population of the United States and Canada is diverse. The world is at our doorsteps. For the sake of Christ’s kingdom, we must address unique mission opportunities with and among diverse populations.

We are likewise motivated by our commitment to the unity of Christ’s church. Sin sustains strife among races, ethnicities, cultures, languages, and genders, all of which are gifts God gives to humanity. But Christ, through his death and resurrection, overwhelms sin and is reconciling the world to himself. His coming kingdom will transcend all efforts which divide. Therefore, the church on earth is richer and stronger when it lives now in the light of that future reality.

While the RCA is uniquely positioned to press forward in multiracial/ethnic ministry, we must remember that our movement, ultimately, is not solely about structure and mechanics. It is only as we relate to one another as sisters and brothers in Christ, spiritually earnest in our desires and continually dependent on the Holy Spirit to be shaped as the family of God, that we have hope. When we engage each other at such high standards, we will emerge to our best future as we truly engage life and service together in Christ.

The Five-Fold Test is just one of the ways we are moving toward this vision.

 

The Five-Fold Test was created by the Evangelical Covenant Church. It has been adapted and is used here with permission.