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Sunday is one of the most relaxed days at General Synod. It began with worship, then delegates had the afternoon free before reconvening for an evening session. 

Did you know?

The gap between General Synod 2019 and General Synod 2021 was two years and four months—the longest the RCA has gone between General Synods since 1812. Before 1812, the synod met every three years. 

Postmodernism paper commended to guide the church in a time of suspicion

The Christian message of reconciliation (with God, with others, with ourselves, with our nonhuman neighbors) rides on the shoulders of those of us who, like Bonhoeffer, resist the temptation to use God and others for our own advancement.

—from “Christians in a Culture of Suspicion: Reflections on Living Faithfully in a Postmodern Age,” a paper adopted by the General Synod on Sunday

Postmodernism has deeply shaped our culture and the church. On Sunday, General Synod approved a paper on postmodernism from the Commission on Theology to help the church recognize and respond to the challenges and opportunities of a postmodern culture. Read the paper, entitled “Christians in a Culture of Suspicion: Reflections on Living Faithfully in a Postmodern Age.”

Welcoming new churches

“New churches are new mission stations in new communities that reach new peoples and populations for Jesus,” said Randy Weener, director of Church Multiplication. 

On Sunday, General Synod celebrated 34 domestic church plants and 34 church plants in Nepal that have begun ministry since 2019, along with the organization of ten new churches that are now self-supporting, self-governing, and self-reproducing.

“God has been opening doors at a phenomenal rate,” Weener said, sharing the stories of Central Plains Classis, which tripled in size in recent years, and of Clásis de las Naciones, which reestablished a classis in Florida and Georgia less than a decade after Florida Classis closed, and now has 15 organized churches and a number of church plants in process.  

Weener described four shifts in church planting: from North to South, from white planters to planters of color, from full-time planters to covocational planters, and from traditional planting models to fresh expressions of church.

Celebrating Global Mission

Following an affirming afternoon yesterday for RCA Global Mission, director JP Sundararajan delivered the Global Mission report to General Synod on Sunday evening. He shared highlights of mission work in the last year and a half, celebrated retiring missionaries Bob Oliveira and Barbara Kapenga, and made a request for churches to begin or increase their support through Partnership-in-Mission (PIM) shares.

“What is most exciting for me is that the very paths that were rustically laid out have evolved into multi-lane highways,” he said. “The fruit is now traveling back to minister with a North American church. God’s work is not linear but cyclical, from everywhere to everywhere.

“In the last 18 months, we’ve seen thousands come to know Jesus in Africa. We’ve seen churches be faithfully planted where the church has mostly been left for dead. We’ve seen hundreds of kids be fostered and adopted. In other areas, we’re working to remove refugees from some of the most hostile places on earth.”

How Global Mission is at work

82
active partnerships in 45 countries
443
churches with PIM shares
172
individual donors
120
active projects

The 2022 Partnership-in-Mission (PIM) share was set at $6,900.

Related: hear greetings from RCA missionaries via videos, which were played at the opening of each General Synod 2021 plenary session

General Synod professorate grieves Allan Janssen and Gregg Mast

During the General Synod professorate report Sunday evening, Cornelis Kors took time to lament the loss of two emeritus members of the professorate due to COVID-19.

“Our report also mentions how we grieve. During COVID, we lost two very precious members. Dr. Al Janssen and Dr. Gregg Mast were lost during COVID. They were great contributors to the professorate. … 

“Two days before he entered the hospital, Gregg called me. And we were lamenting what had already happened to Al. He said, ‘I think I’ll be okay, Cor.’ He said, ‘My oxygen levels are not good, but I think I’ll be okay.’ When I got off the phone with him, I said to [my wife] Jane, ‘I think he’s saying goodbye to me.’ And he was. 

“[Al Janssen and Gregg Mast] were good friends, and they were good colleagues. And we miss them terribly. These were men that loved the church. … The professors love the church. They care about the church. And I know that the ones who remain will continue to contribute to the church.”

Did you know?

The RCA has four offices of the church: minister, elder, deacon, and General Synod professor of theology. General Synod professors prepare and certify candidates for the ministry of Word and sacrament.

Additional business

Synod recognized 48 Missional Impact Partner churches that contributed at least $40,000 or 10 percent of their budget to support RCA mission and ministry in 2019 and/or 2020. To donate to the RCA, visit www.rca.org/give.