Special Council Meets This Weekend

Date Posted: 
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A special council on human sexuality is meeting April 15–18 in Chicago, Illinois.

Their mandate is to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discern a “constitutional pathway forward for the Reformed Church in America to address the questions of human sexuality as it relates to ordination and marriage” (Minutes of General Synod 2015, p. 102).

Many across the RCA have been praying for God’s guidance for council participants, and prayer coverage will continue around the clock during the event.

Brief descriptions of the council’s agenda will be shared on RCA social media each day, but news coverage will not be available during the event. The Group of Five, appointed by General Synod 2015 to prepare and officiate the meeting and to inform the church of the results, has requested no media coverage. (Follow the RCA at www.facebook.com/reformedchurch and @rcaonline on Twitter.)

“In the context of those small groups, we want to create a safe place for people to share their stories and their views,” says Tony Vis, part of the Group of Five. “A camera would be rather invasive in that situation.”

Vis says the Group of Five will compile a report from the special council after the council has concluded.

Who is participating in the special council?

The special council is made up of 74 people from across the RCA.

They were selected for their ability to represent Jesus Christ above their own opinions. Each RCA classis designated one participant. The Group of Five selected an additional 30 people to ensure the gathering reflects the diversity of the RCA.

Who is the Group of Five?

They are five past presidents of the RCA’s General Synod, chosen for their wisdom and history of leadership in the denomination: Brad Lewis, Carol Mutch, Irving Rivera, Chuck Van Engen, and Tony Vis.

What is the council doing?

The special council is convened “for the express purpose of describing a constitutional pathway forward for the Reformed Church in America to address the questions of human sexuality as it relates to ordination and marriage” (Minutes of General Synod 2015, p. 102).

The council will include brief presentations and worship, as well as dialogue in small groups. Participants are together to discern and advise. The special council does not have decision-making power, but it can bring recommendations to General Synod for consideration.

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