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2022

Recommendations

The following is a list of recommendations as presented in the General Synod workbook. Unofficial updates on the actions of synod will be placed here during the meeting; this list will be updated once a day.

  • Please note that these actions should not be considered official until the Minutes are posted later in the summer.
  • Amendments and substitutes made at synod are not included below.
  • Longer recommendations are shortened here (indicated by “…”). For full recommendations, please consult the workbook reports.

General Synod Council as Executive Committee

EC 22-1 Adopted
To approve the agenda and schedule of the General Synod as presented in the General Synod Workbook.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 38

EC 22-2 Adopted
To declare Amendment 1 to be approved for incorporation into the 2022 Book of Church Order.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 39

EC 22-3 Adopted
To declare Amendment 2 to be approved for incorporation into the 2022 Book of Church Order.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 39

EC 22-4 Adopted
To declare Amendment 3 to be approved for incorporation into the 2022 Book of Church Order.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 39

EC 22-5 Adopted
To declare Amendment 4 to be approved for incorporation into the 2022 Book of Church Order.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 39

EC 22-6 Adopted
To declare Amendment 5 to be approved for incorporation into the 2022 Book of Church Order.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 39

EC 22-7 Adopted
To declare the amendment to the Bylaws of the General Synod specified in CO 21-3, adopted in first reading by the 2021 General Synod, to be approved for incorporation into the 2022 Book of Church Order.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 40

EC 22-8 Adopted
To declare the amendment to the Special Rules of Order of the General Synod specified in CO 21-6, adopted in first reading by the 2021 General Synod, to be approved for incorporation into the 2022 Book of Church Order.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 40

EC 22-9 Rejected
To delay the second vote on the change to the General Synod bylaws in Book of Church Order Chapter 3, Part I, Article 3, Section 6c (2021 edition, p. 108) to make Covenant Shares effective until the next stated session of General Synod.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 41

EC 22-10 Adopted
To appoint Jillisa Teitsma as treasurer of the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 41

EC 22-11 Adopted
To discontinue the practice of the annual joint in-person GSC and commissions meeting each fall in order to better conserve both budget and individual commission meeting time, but to continue to encourage commissions and GSC to pursue opportunities for collaboration and connection.

Report of the General Synod Council as Executive Committee, p. 46

Finance

F 22-1 Adopted
To approve the General Synod Council 2023 assessment of $47.10 per confessing member.

Report of the Office of Finance, p. 59

F 22-2 Adopted
To approve the 2023 assessment of $2.00 per confessing member for the Board of Benefits Services to provide assistance funding for retired pastors who have a demonstrated need.

Report of the Office of Finance, p. 60

F 22-3b Adopted
To approve the 2023 assessment of $6.12 per confessing member for theological education.

Report of the Office of Finance, p. 60

Referrals

RF 22-1 Adopted
To approve the following amendments to the Bylaws and the Articles of Incorporation of Western Theological Seminary as follows (additions are underlined, deletions are struck; articles and/or sections to which no changes are being proposed are omitted here):

(see Workbook report for full text)

Referrals from General Synod 2021, pp. 88-98

RF 22-2 Adopted as Amended
To designate Western Theological Seminary as an agent of the General Synod for the purpose of granting Certificates of Fitness for Ministry; and further,

To re-evaluate this designation for recommendation to be renewed by the General Synod in five years.

Referrals from General Synod 2021, p. 98

Leadership

L 22-1 Adopted
To adopt the following resolution:

These individuals have loved Christ and fed his sheep. They have devoted themselves to spreading the Word and equipping the saints for the work of ministry.

(see Workbook report for full text)

Retired Ministers of Word and Sacrament, pp. 130-133

Global Mission

GM 22-1 Adopted
To maintain the value of a Partnership-in-Mission (PIM) share at $6,900 for 2023.

Global Mission, p. 142

Board of Benefits Services

BBS 22-1 Adopted as Amended
To adopt the following amendments to the Bylaws of The Board of Benefits Services of the Reformed Church in America, Inc., a Michigan nonprofit membership corporation

(see Workbook report for full text)

Report of the Board of Benefits Services, pp. 171-172

Commission on Christian Action

CA 22-1 Adopted
To urge the congregations, classes, and regional synods of the Reformed Church in America to educate themselves on the history and current state of the opioid epidemic in North America and seek to serve their communities by providing resources and keeping at least one dose of emergency treatment options such as Narcan (naloxone) on hand at all times; and further…

(see Workbook report for full text)

Report of the Commission on Christian Action, p. 174

CA 22-2 Adopted as Amended
To include a question on the annual Consistorial Report Form (CRF) regarding whether each congregation offers a food pantry or other hunger program; and further,

To direct GSC staff to use this information to create and maintain a database on the RCA website of hunger and food programs in RCA congregations.

Report of the Commission on Christian Action, p. 174

CA 22-3 Adopted as Amended
To direct the general secretary to encourage congregations to take action regarding food justice, including but not limited to:

1. Developing programs in conjunction with local school districts to provide food or grocery essentials to lower-income students and families on weekends and during holiday breaks and summers.

2. Holding a Sunday offering at least once annually for those items most needed by their local or regional food banks, including necessary items not eligible for purchase with food stamps (i.e., menstruation sanitary products, toilet tissue, soap, etc.).

3. Holding a separate financial offering, at least once annually, to help pay off or reduce the amount of school lunch debt held by students in their local public schools or in the nearest school in which there are students with school lunch debt.

Report of the Commission on Christian Action, pp. 174-175

CA 22-4 Adopted
To instruct the general secretary to create a contribution-based fund for use by the Office of Disability Concerns for the purpose of providing grants to congregations for accessibility improvements; and further,

To instruct the general secretary to report back to the Commission on Christian Action and the General Synod of 2024 regarding the state of the fund.

Report of the Commission on Christian Action, p. 176

CA 22-5 Adopted as Amended
To add a question to the annual Consistorial Report Form (CRF) that asks congregations to identify barriers in their facilities and how they are working to improve accessibility and their hospitality to people with a variety of disabilities.

Report of the Commission on Christian Action, p. 176

CA 22-6 Adopted as Amended
Regardless of our individual understandings of human sexuality, the RCA’s General Synod, meeting at Central College in Pella, Iowa, on June 9-14, 2022, affirms the worth and human dignity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer persons as unique individuals and beloved children of God; and further,

To lament the ways in which the RCA and church universal has failed to consistently recognize the worth of these persons and has often resorted to fear or frustration when speaking about human lives in our midst, rather than speaking to them with love and compassion.

Report of the Commission on Christian Action, p. 177

Commission on Christian Worship

CW 22-1 Adopted
To commend “That All May Come,” guidelines for gluten-free communion developed by the Commission on Christian Worship, to RCA congregations, assemblies, institutions, and any other RCA body that arranges the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and to make these guidelines available on the RCA website.

Report of the Commission on Christian Worship, p. 198

Commission on Church Order

CO 22-1 Adopted
To approve the following amendment to the Special Rules of Order of the General Synod in the Book of Church Order, Chapter 3, Part II, Article 2, Section 7 (2021 edition, p. 130) for submission to the next General Synod for final approval…

(see Workbook report for full text)

Report of the Commission on Christian Worship, p. 198

CO 22-2 Adopted
To approve the following amendment to the Special Rules of Order of the General Synod in the Book of Church Order, Chapter 3, Part II, Article 2, Section 5 (2021 edition, p. 129) for submission to the next General Synod for final approval…

(see Workbook report for full text)

Report of the Commission on Church Order, p. 205

Commission on History

H 22-1 Referred
To place supervision and authority for the RCA Archives and its staff directly under an Archives Supervision Subcommittee of the Commission on History consisting of two representatives of the General Synod Council and two representatives of the Commission on History and chaired by the moderator of the Commission on History.

Report of the Commission on History, p. 217

H 22-2 Adopted as Amended
To authorize the establishment and incorporation of a Reformed Church Historic Trust as a 501(c)(3) organization to support and benefit the RCA Archives, and that the structure will be determined by the Commission on History in consultation with the RCA’s general counsel, the RCA’s chief financial officer, and others as needed, and reported to the 2023 General Synod.

Report of the Commission on History, p. 218

Commission on Judicial Business

JB 22-1 Adopted
To affirm the Regional Synod’s finding that it had jurisdiction to hear the complaint and that there was prejudice and manifest injustice toward Canarsie; and further,

(See workbook report for full text)

Commission on Nominations

N 22-1 Adopted
To elect the above-named nominees to serve as members of the General Synod commissions, agencies, and boards, and the boards of trustees of RCA-related educational institutions, for the terms identified; and further, To elect Carol Mutch to serve as moderator of the Commission on Nominations for the annual term beginning July 1, 2022, and ending June 30, 2023.

N 22-3 Adopted
To elect the above-named appointees, who were appointed ad interim by the General Synod Council, to serve as members of the General Synod commissions, agencies, and boards indicated, for the remainder of the terms identified.

N 22-3 Adopted
To affirm the election of the above-named Central College nominees to serve as General Synod members of the Central College Board of Trustees for the terms identified; and further, 6 To approve the election of the above-named Northwestern College nominees to serve as General Synod trustees of the Northwestern College Board of Trustees for the terms identified.

Commission on Race and Ethnicity

RE 22-1 Adopted
To direct General Synod Council and the general secretary to strongly urge all entities of the Reformed Church in America (racial ethnic councils, assemblies, commissions, institutions, boards, and agencies) to adopt the following antiracism policy:

  1. Build on the 2009 General Synod declaration that “racism is a sin because it is an offense to God” and declare that the sin of racism is expressed as a policy, behavior, and/or belief against a person or people based on their identification and/or membership in a particular racial or ethnic group that is considered a minority.
  2. Define antiracism as the practice of confronting and changing policies, behaviors, and beliefs that perpetuate racist ideas and actions.
  3. Confess that our sin has led us to erect religious, cultural, economic, and political barriers along racial and ethnic lines and that these barriers have separated us from one another and deprived many of us the right to develop our personal and corporate identities.
  4. Respect the rights and freedom of all people of color regardless of race, ethnicity, or nationality where the cries of people who have become victims of racial injustice and/or discrimination are to be taken seriously and are given full voice and opportunity to make their complaints, without retaliation, to their appropriate judicatories; and inform the Office for Advocacy and Race Relations as well as the Commission on Race and Ethnicity.
  5. Support allies who speak out against persons and systems that perpetuate racial injustice.
  6. Commit to dismantling racism in its attitudes and structures in all assemblies (local churches, classes, regional synods, and General Synod).

Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnicity, pp. 222-223

RE 22-2 Adopted
To direct the General Synod Council, working together with the Commission on Race and Ethnicity, to provide up to three Sankofa journeys per year for the next three years and up to three Institute for Healing Racism-type experiences per year for the next three years; and further,

To approve the $0.36 per member assessment to fund the first year of Sankofa Journeys and Institute for Healing Racism learning communities.

Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnicity, p. 225

RE 22-3 Adopted as Amended
To direct the General Synod Council to reinstate and recognize a fourth racial ethnic council for Native American and First Nations Ministries as a permanent council in the Reformed Church in America with all rights and privileges hereto according to the Book of Church Order, Chapter 3, Part I, Article 3, Section 2b (2021 edition, p. 109).

Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnicity, pp. 225

RE 22-4 Adopted
To direct the General Synod Council to ensure that as the RCA multiplies and grows, the work in new church starts:

  1. Embeds core values on anti-racism in all of its new congregations and worshipping communities.
  2. Develops specific points that measure anti-racism efforts and results of its new congregations.
  3. Shares results of anti-racism work in the Church Multiplication ministry with RCA assemblies and institutions for learning and potential development opportunities.
  4. Reports annually to the General Synod on annual and multi-annual impacts of anti-racism agendas on our new churches.

Report of the Commission on Race and Ethnicity, p. 225

Commission on Theology

TH 22-1 Adopted
To commend “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” as a resource for congregations, classes, regional synods, and the Restructuring Team for discussion on what it means to be part of the RCA; and further,

to instruct the general secretary to make available “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” as a resource for congregations, classes, regional synods, and the Restructuring Team.

Report of the Commission on Theology, p. 236

Commission for Women

W 22-1 Adopted
To direct the general secretary to ensure that all resources and training materials on the RCA website and recommended to be used by RCA leaders and congregations are anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-ableist, egalitarian, and inclusive.

Report of the Commission for Women, p. 238

Theological Education

TE 22-1 Adopted
To rename the Certificate of Fitness for Ministry the Certificate of Readiness for Examination by adopting the following amendments to the Book of Church Order for recommendation to the classes for approval (additions are underlined; deletions are stricken):

(See workbook report for full text)

Report of the Pastoral Formation Oversight Board, pp. 240-243

TE 22-1 Adopted as Amended
To establish the following process for a candidate to receive a Certificate of Readiness for Examination by adopting the following changes to the Book of Church Order, Chapter 1, Part II, for recommendation to the classes for approval (additions are underlined; deletions are stricken):

(See workbook report for full text)

Report of the Pastoral Formation Oversight Board, pp. 243-245

TE 22-3 Adopted
WHEREAS Dr. James V. Brownson, James and Jean Cook Professor of New Testament, was a student at Western from 1977 to 1980, and was selected by the faculty to be the recipient of the Henry J. Pietenpol Senior Excellence Award; and…

(see Workbook report for full text)

Report of Western Theological Seminary, pp. 261-262