Responsibilities of General Synod Commissions

Commission for Women

Official responsibilities:

1. The Commission for Women provides opportunities and resources for developing awareness and raising consciousness concerning human liberation related to the role of women in church and society.

2. The commission participates and provides information for appointments to committees, commissions, agencies, and staff positions to insure partnership of men and women in the professional and decision-making leadership of the denomination.

3. The commission assists the church toward insuring inclusive attitudes, images, and language in all materials published, designed, or provided for use in the denomination.

4. The commission develops, advocates, and implements strategies for systematic change to enable the full and complete participation of women in church and society.

5. The commission collaborates with other RCA bodies working on issues affecting women.

6. The commission develops and maintains relationships with similar groups in other denominations, exchanging ideas and materials regarding issues affecting women.

Commission on Christian Action

The Commission on Christian Action informs and advises the church concerning current social issues and the scriptural and Christian principles by which critical evaluation may be exercised on those issues and proper action taken.

Learn more about the Commission on Christian Action's work.

Commission on Christian Discipleship and Education

Official responsibilities:

1. The commission shall develop and advocate for strategies for people of all ages to be fully included in the mission and life of the RCA.

2. The commission shall monitor, evaluate, and report on the RCA’s progress in ministries of education and discipleship with children, youth, adults, and families.

3. The commission shall collaborate with RCA staff, assemblies, agencies, and institutions to promote and strengthen the next generation in discipleship within RCA congregations.

4. The commission shall advocate for the ongoing preparation of those who carry out the church’s teaching ministry.

Commission on Christian Unity

Official responsibilities:

1. The Commission on Christian Unity initiates and supervises action with respect to the Reformed Church in America's membership in or affiliation with ecumenical bodies.

2. It engages in interchurch conversations and appoints ecumenical delegates to other church bodies.

3. It informs the church of current ecumenical developments and advises the church concerning its ecumenical participation and relationships.

Commission on Christian Worship

Official responsibilities:

1. The Commission on Christian Worship advises the church of changes needed in the Liturgy and the Directory for Worship.

2. The commission creates and disseminates worship resources for church and personal use.

3. The commission recommends standards for worship music and be responsible for Rejoice in the Lord, its subsequent editions and successor.

4. The commission advises the church with critique of the various versions of the Bible.

5. The commission informs the church of current development in liturgics, hymnody, and other worship resources with appropriate critique.

Commission on Church Order

Official responsibilities:

1. The Commission on Church Order makes recommendations concerning the content, structure, and style of the Book of Church Order.

2. The commission provides advisory responses to requests for interpretation of the Book of Church Order.

Commission on History

Official responsibilities:

1. Through a subcommittee of two or three of its members, chosen on the advice of the RCA archivist, the Commission on History advises the General Synod on the collection of official records and documents of the Reformed Church in America, its churches, assemblies, and agencies.

2. The commission actively promotes research on, interest in, and reflection on, the history and traditions of the Reformed Church in America through whatever means as it may find effective.

3. The commission oversees the Historical Series of the RCA:

  • It defines the mission and scope of the series.
  • It appoints the general editor of the series and review his/her work.
  • It invites publications, reviews publications recommended by the general editor to determine whether or not they shall be published, and makes decisions concerning reprinting previously published works.
  • It creates and maintains policies concerning such matters as author/editor remuneration, royalties, publication subventions, the means of production and distribution, and handling of proceeds.
  • It annually receives and reviews a complete financial report from the general editor of the series.

4. The commission informs the Reformed Church in America of the relevance of the denomination's history and traditions to its program, and regularly reviews denominational resources that present the church's history.

5. The commission provides a "history center" by regularly reporting on the activities of the Reformed Church in America's educational institutions as these relate to the history and traditions of the denomination.

Commission on Judicial Business

The Commission on Judicial Business carries out the responsibilities assigned to it in the Disciplinary and Judicial Procedures.

The General Counsel's office maintains a summary of judicial matters that have been heard by the General Synod (either directly or through the General Synod's Commission on Judicial Business) since 1968.

Commission on Nominations

Official responsibilities:

1. The Commission on Nominations nominates members for the General Synod Council and all General Synod commissions and agencies, unless otherwise specified in the Bylaws.

2. The commission, in consultation with the general secretary, searches the denomination for suitable nominees. In making nominations it considers the geographic location, occupation, and record of previous service to the denomination of persons suggested by classes, regional synods, and other sources. It considers this and other pertinent data in light of each commission's or agency's responsibilities, membership needs, suggested nominees, and place and schedule of meetings.

3. The commission members, in consultation with the stated clerks of the classes and regional synods from which they are appointed, are responsible for gathering information on nominees within the bounds of the respective synods.

4. The commission monitors the inclusiveness of the membership of the various commissions and agencies with respect to geography, gender, age, cultural and social differences, and academic and other appropriate expertise.

The commission also monitors required nominations of racial/ethnic persons to insure that the nominating body has consulted with the appropriate racial/ethnic council and that it has shown cause if it has been unable to meet the requirement.

Commission on Race and Ethnicity

Official responsibilities:

1. The Commission on Race and Ethnicity advises the church on policies and initiatives that address issues of institutional racism and the commitment of the Reformed Church in America to become a fully multicultural and multiethnic denomination.

2. The commission serves as an advocate for transformation of the Reformed Church in America in regard to its multiracial and multiethnic life.

3. The commission recommends policies, objectives, guidelines, and strategies to assist the Reformed Church in America in its effort through all of its agencies, commissions, institutions, and other affiliated bodies to become a fully multiracial and multiethnic church.

4. The commission monitors, evaluates, and reports on the Reformed Church in America's progress in achieving multiracial and multiethnic objectives.

5. Introduction to CORE

White privilege is the set of advantages that white people are granted or enjoy, whether aware of it or not. This list of resources was compiled in order to help RCA members understand white privilege. As the RCA becomes more aware of white privilege and works against it, we can move closer to a multiracial future freed from racism.

CORE brochure

The Five-Fold Multi-dimentional Test.

Commission on Theology

The Commission on Theology studies theological matters arising in the life of the church and referred to it by the General Synod or initiated within the commission itself.


Interested in serving on a commission? Add your profile to our talent bank here.