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The RCA restructuring team is in the midst of 17 “roundtable” gatherings around the U.S. and Canada. Last weekend, roundtable conversations were held at New Hope Church in Fairview Park, Ohio, and on Zoom for the Regional Synod of the Far West. 

Get an overview of the restructuring team’s work.

At the events, participants heard from restructuring team members about the team’s progress, and spent time discussing the team’s second-draft (not final) proposals and providing feedback.

The goal of these roundtable events is to gather feedback about the team’s draft proposals to optimize the RCA’s structure for continued ministry. 

“There’s been more engagement and conversation in this round than in the spring roundtables. There have been more comments and questions, both in person and through the feedback forms,” says Greg Brower, a team member who has attended five roundtables this fall. “It’s been interesting to hear a wide range of perspectives, with some consistent themes in support of proposals and identifying the need for clarification in other areas.” 

“What we’re hearing has helped us refine, and in a couple instances consider fairly significant changes to our recommendations as we’ve heard from a broad swath of the denomination.”

“As we’re nearing the final proposal that we’ll be working on in January, this feedback is vital for the decisions that we’ll be making.”

Three additional roundtable discussions will be held in January, including a denomination-wide roundtable on Zoom for anyone who was not able to attend one of the in-person events. That Zoom call will take place on January 8 from 8:00-10:00 p.m. Eastern Time; sign up here to attend. 

Upcoming events are: 

  • January 6, 1:00-4:00 p.m., The Beat Church, Round Rock, Texas. Spanish/English bilingual event. Registrar aquí/Register here.
  • January 8, 8:00-10:00 p.m. Eastern, denomination-wide virtual meeting. Register here.
  • January 13, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., First Reformed Church of Tampa, Tampa, Florida. Spanish/English bilingual event. Registrar aquí/Register here.

Earlier this fall, roundtables were also held at: 

  • Bethel Reformed Church, Brantford, Ontario.
  • Our Saviour’s Corner of Hope, Lakewood, Colorado.
  • American Reformed Church, Orange City, Iowa.
  • Fellowship Reformed Church, Holland, Michigan.
  • DeWitt Ministry Center, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • Hope Community Church, Lincoln, Nebraska.
  • Christ Community Church, Lemont, Illinois.
  • Good Shepherd Reformed Church, Bayside Hills, New York.
  • Massapequa Reformed Church, Massapequa, New York.
  • NBTS’s Sage Library, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  • Pitcher Hill Community Church, North Syracuse, New York.
  • Delmar Reformed Church, Delmar, New York.
  • New Hope Church, Fairview Park, Ohio.

What is the restructuring team? 

The restructuring team was created by General Synod in October 2021 to propose updated structures for the denomination in order to ensure sustained institutional and spiritual health, and to better allow for living in tension around human sexuality, interpretation of Scripture, polity, and other disagreements. 

The work of the restructuring team, says general secretary Eddy Alemán, is to focus on structures for the work of the gospel, rather than focusing on any particular divisive issue. 

The team was formed at the suggestion of the Vision 2020 Team, which was tasked with considering how—and if—the RCA could live together in the tension. General Synod 2021 affirmed that the RCA should continue to live in the tension, and that people who no longer want to live in the tension have an avenue to leave, with the blessing of the remaining churches. Essentially, General Synod committed to the RCA’s future as a both/and space, a place where there’s room for people to hold different opinions and remain together in the denomination. 

The tension that the RCA is currently living in comes from disagreement on any number of matters that are not constitutional. In the RCA’s polity, matters that are not constitutional, including human sexuality as it relates to marriage and ordination, fall under the authority of the classis. This means that these matters may be lived out differently from classis to classis. While the General Synod has made a number of statements affirming a traditional definition of marriage, General Synod statements are not constitutional, and thus they are not binding on classes. General Synod 2021, when it created the restructuring team, encouraged the team not to change the aspects of the RCA’s current polity that place authority regarding ordination and marriage at the classis level. Therefore, the restructuring team will not bring any recommendations related to human sexuality. Their recommendations are related to structure, to best support the RCA as a place where people can live together in the tension. 

What feedback has been received so far? 

The proposals discussed at these fall roundtables are a second draft, written by the team after integrating feedback received at General Synod and in spring roundtables held throughout the denomination. 

At each roundtable event, participants hear a presentation about the proposals, discuss in small groups, ask questions, and offer feedback. The restructuring team is evaluating the feedback on an ongoing basis and considering revisions to the proposals for its final report, which will be presented at General Synod 2024. 

As part of the feedback process, roundtable participants are asked to gauge their current level of support for each individual proposal, based on what they’ve heard. Currently, most of the nine proposals have a high level of support. Others have less. Still others have sparked a flurry of follow-up questions. 

The restructuring team is interested in it all and will be using the feedback—affirmation, clarification, and concern—to further develop the recommendations it brings to General Synod in June. 

Sign up now to participate and give your feedback at the January 8 roundtable on Zoom.

What happens next? 

The team will meet in person on January 16-18 to begin drafting version three of its proposals based on the feedback received this fall. 

The team’s final report will be released this spring. At that time, the team will host several webinars to talk about the final proposals and answer questions. 

The team’s final report and recommendations will be brought before General Synod 2024 for deliberation and voting in June. Based on what is approved in 2024, the Commission on Church Order will develop additional recommendations to incorporate changes into the Book of Church Order; those changes are anticipated in 2025.

Learn more about the restructuring team, including frequently asked questions and all past updates from the team, on the RCA website