Meet the General Synod Vice President Nominees

Date Posted: 
Monday, June 12, 2017

On Monday, June 12, delegates nominated three candidates for General Synod vice president. Delegates will vote to elect one of them on Tuesday. The vice president will be installed during closing worship and will serve over the coming year.

Dennis Colton is on the pastoral staff at Calvary Reformed Church in Orland Park, Illinois. Previously, he has served as an associate pastor and a youth pastor. Dennis is the moderator of the Commission on Christian Discipleship and Education and has also served on the executive team for the Regional Synod of Mid-America. He earned his M.Div. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Dennis says that to prepare him for the role of vice president, “God has placed me in multiple unexpected roles of leadership in the RCA. Confirmation has come through my invitations to those leadership positions and affirmations of those around me.” Dennis and his wife, Kelli, have been married for ten years. 

Denise Kingdom Grier is lead pastor of Maple Avenue Ministries in Holland, Michigan, a union church of the RCA and the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). Denise has served the denomination on the African American Black Council and the guiding coalition for Women’s Transformation and Leadership. The first African American woman to earn a D.Min. from Western Theological Seminary (WTS), she also has an M.Div. from WTS and a B.A. in psychology from Shaw University. As pastor of the first RCA/CRCNA union church, Denise is committed to church unity and believes she has been called to use her prophetic voice and pastoral gifts to “be a bridge.” “God has fitted me to stand in the gap between race, class, political, and other matters of division in Christ’s church,” she says. Denise and her husband, C.J., have been married for 18 years and have welcomed 17 children into their home over the years, including two biological children. 

James Nakakihara is an elder at Rancho Community Reformed Church in Temecula, California. In the past, he has also been a small group leader and webmaster in the church. He has served the denomination as a member of the General Synod Council. James has a B.A. in Spanish, an M.B.A., and a California teaching credential in special education. “The Lord has placed me in executive and administrative leadership positions in both the private sector and within the church,” he says. “Confirmation [of God’s call] has come from many people in past roles of leadership and by the doors being opened.” James and his wife, Lisa, have been married for 34 years and have one son.