General Synod 2018: Resources

How Your Church Can Respond to General Synod 2018 Recommendations

General Synod is jam packed with business, and it can be tricky to keep track of everything, especially resources that can help you and your church learn more or take action in response to General Synod.

Here we’ve collected a list of some of the statements, videos, and recommendations that you might want to share with your congregation:

Season your speech with salt

“Speaking Christian” is a set of questions for discussion and reflection to ensure that speech is gracious, seasoned with salt, and respectful of all people. It is accompanied by discussion questions for use in church settings. Use these discussion questions to reflect on and discuss in your church what it means to speak Christian: 

  1. Which of these four “speak” words (truthfully, compassionately, beautifully, courageously) especially catches your ear? Why do you think that is?
  2. How might each of these ways of speaking influence how you speak in a way that reflects Christ?
  3. Where or with whom do you need to speak more truthfully, compassionately, beautifully, or courageously?

Is human sexuality a good thing or not?

That’s the first question of the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality, a set of questions and answers modeled on the Heidelberg Catechism. Its goal is to provide biblical answers to common questions about marriage and singleness, sexual union, and same-sex sexual activity. Written by Branson Parler, the catechism was commended by General Synod to be distributed and studied throughout the RCA.

Speak up about violence against women and girls

Earlier this year, the RCA put forward a statement, We Are Speaking, calling the church to end harassment, abuse, and sexual violence against women and girls. More than 800 people have added their names in support. Your church may also want to take additional steps in response

Get involved in immigration reform

The Commission on Christian Action urged congregations to encourage their local politicians to enact legislation that supports immigration reform. You can find resources for taking action at the end of the commission’s report

Why aren’t deacons at synod?

This isn’t the first time the RCA has asked why only elders and ministers are represented at General Synod. The Commission on Theology wrote a paper, explaining that the role of the offices of elders and ministers is one of guidance and governance, which overlaps with the role of the assembly of General Synod. The role of deacons is one of service and outreach. Read the full paper.

Restorative justice resource recommendations

These were recommended for churches by the Commission on Christian Action. 

Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan

PC(USA) Resolution on Restorative Justice

Office of Social Justice 

West Michigan Restorative Justice Coalition

“Rethinking God, Justice, and Treatment of Offenders”   

“Biblical Bases for Restorative Justice”

Peace Theology Restorative Justice

“Divine Justice as Restorative Justice” 

"Beyond Crime and Punishment: Restorative justice grows”

“Restorative Justice vs. Retributive Justice”

Shalem Mental Health Network

International Institute for Restorative Practices

Celebrate God at work in and through the RCA

If you saw the videos of ministry throughout the RCA and want to share them with your church, you can find them below.

Synod News

General Synod 2018 Recap

Big decisions and highlights from General Synod 2018.

EJ de Waard Elected Synod Vice President

The pastor of Owasco Reformed Church wants to serve alongside the denomination

Synod Recognizes 54 Missional Impact Partner Churches

On Monday, June 11, General Synod recognized 54 congregations as Missional Impact Partners (MIP) for their financial support of the mission and ministry of the RCA

General Synod Approves Creation of Part-Time Interreligious Engagement Position

This person will equip RCA congregations, leaders, and students for interreligious engagement

Synod Supports Advocacy for Strategies to Reduce Gun Violence

Delegates engaged in a vigorous discussion about gun violence and safety before passing the recommendation