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Conversations: Initial Impressions

A six-person writing team on Sunday reported the initial impressions of what 26 groups said they are discerning about God's future for the Reformed Church in America.

"We've heard from many that you 'came skeptical and are leaving hopeful,'" Don Poest, moderator of the General Synod Council, said Sunday morning to the 500-plus participants who gathered in Orlando, Florida, for Conversations: Seeking God's Future for the RCA.

"What's next? The GSC begins meeting at 3 o'clock this afternoon, and we deliberately did not predetermine what will happen next because we wanted to see what would come out of our experience here this weekend."

Acknowledging that many groups were not represented at Conversations, Poest said the writing group's statement will be distributed throughout the RCA for response and refinement.

"Communication will be sent out to churches, giving some report of what happened," said Poest, noting that "General Synod 2012 ultimately will determine how this gets pushed out."

After the 26 working groups finished roughly seven hours of work Saturday morning and afternoon, a six-person writing team deliberated until 3:30 Sunday morning, reviewing and synthesizing more than 150 sheets of newsprint generated by the working groups into a Conversations summary to be shared with the church.

"Our team divided into three intercessors and three writers," said writing group member and General Synod president Lisa Vander Wal, who collaborated with Jonathan Brownson, Miguel Cruz, Andrea DeWard, Stephanie Doeschot, and Christopher Poest in the writing process. "It was messy at times to reflect diverse views, but our sense is that truly, through the process, God has spoken.

"At end of day—night, actually—we recognized there's much more work to be done and more voices to be heard, so we ask you to pray that God will continue to guide us to the future God is preparing for us."

"The team worked very hard to reflect what they heard from your groups," Poest said after the statement was read. "We don't want to debate or wordsmith in a large group like this, but know that we will push this out to church, and you will have opportunity to push back."

Posted 02/12/12

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