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General Synod 2016 met June 9-14 on the campus of Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois, and addressed many aspects of ministry and mission in the RCA.

Synod Affirms Marriage between Men and Women, Calls for Respect for LGBT People

General Synod 2016 adopted as constitutional the “Order for Christian Marriage” liturgy, which describes marriage as “a joyful covenanting between a man and a woman.” The vote elevates the 2002 liturgy to constitutional status if it is approved by two-thirds of the RCA’s 44 classes over the coming year. The decision also needs to be ratified at General Synod 2017. The recommendation arose out of the report of the special council on human sexuality that took place in April. Other recommendations from the special council were discussed at length and not approved.

On Tuesday, delegates called for a change to the Book of Church Order (BCO), mandating that consistories or governing bodies “shall assure that marriages in a church or congregation are between a man and a woman.” The change must be approved by two-thirds of RCA classes and ratified at General Synod 2017 before it is added to the BCO.

General Synod also passed a resolution on Tuesday to “reject all forms of mockery, degrading words and thoughts, economic oppression, abuse, threats, and violence against members of the LGBTQ+ community,” regardless of position on the “moral status of same-sex behavior.” The resolution called on anyone involved in such behavior to “repent and immediately begin walking in obedience to Jesus’ command to love.”

Synod Elects New Officers

General Synod elected Dan Gillett as president and Lee DeYoung as vice president. Gillett is lead pastor of First Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan. Lee DeYoung is an elder at Hager Park Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan. Both were installed during General Synod closing worship and will serve over the coming year.

Celebrating Transformed & Transforming

Throughout synod, delegates heard stories of transformation taking place in churches and in individuals. “In the midst of some of the greatest tension in the history of the RCA, we are seeing some of the greatest ministry impact through Transformed & Transforming,” said general secretary Tom De Vries. “We have come together as a denomination and found agreement around mission.” On Friday evening, synod celebrated how churches and individuals have been positively impacted through Transformed & Transforming ministry initiatives.

Watch videos of transformation that delegates saw throughout the week.

Synod also celebrated:


In other business: