On Monday morning, June 10, delegates voted to add language to the Book of Church Order (BCO) that clarifies how churches may affiliate with both the RCA and another denomination.

The recommendation gives guidance for the consistory of an RCA church wishing to be dually affiliated with another denomination. Such a church remains subject to the RCA’s constitution and must pay full assessments to the RCA. The recommendation also covers congregations from other denominations that wish to dually affiliate with the RCA. In that case, the church  remains subject to the governance of its current denomination, as does its minister. With the receiving classis, it may agree upon the method for calculating the church’s assessments.

The recommendation, brought by the Commission on Church Order, was also considered by the Advisory Committee on Church Order and Governance, which recommended amending the original recommendation to prevent dually affiliated ministers and elders from participating at regional synods and General Synod. They are, however, allowed to participate at classis, and the receiving classis may grant voting privileges.

Amendments to the BCO regarding affiliated churches have previously come before synod but had been referred to the commission for clarification. Because the BCO has not addressed affiliated churches, questions have continued to arise, especially as congregations and church plants affiliated with other denominations have petitioned to join the RCA. “We wanted to provide structure and order for those churches that are affiliating with other denominations, or are thinking about doing it in the future,” said Philip DeKoster, corresponding delegate from the Commission on Church Order.

The recommendation will now go to classes for consideration; with two-thirds of classes’ approval, it will go before General Synod 2020 to be ratified.

For full synod coverage, visit www.rca.org/synod.