How has the team gotten feedback on their ideas?
The Vision 2020 Team’s report to General Synod 2019 outlined a number of possible future scenarios, which they asked delegates to spend time with, discuss, and discern. Feedback was collected and synthesized by the Vision 2020 Team. The team has also solicited feedback from RCA members and leaders through two denomination-wide surveys, has met with leaders from numerous RCA institutions and committees, and has received numerous emails from church leaders.
The report doesn’t include final text for one of the recommendations. When will that be ready?
A subcommittee of the Vision 2020 Team will work with the Commission on Church Order on proposed changes to the Book of Church Order. The final wording for those recommendations will be available when the General Synod Workbook is published in May 2021.
The Vision 2020 Team has been giving regular updates, but this mission agency idea is new. Where did that come from?
The Vision 2020 Team began its work by considering three scenarios: staying together, radical reorganization, and graceful separation. As the Vision 2020 Team was evaluating scenario 3 for graceful separation, they recognized that two things are abundantly clear: one, the option of a gracious separation is a necessity, and two, there are multiple and complex issues to address for those who remain in the RCA. This shaped the team’s work to include more nuance and to address the needs of those who may separate as well as the needs of those who remain.
Back in October 2019, the team began to coalesce around the idea of being defined and connected—of holding tight to core beliefs such as the RCA’s Standards of Unity, and acknowledging differences of opinion on other things, yet staying connected in spite of those differences. In light of feedback it received, the team determined that being defined and connected will look different in different parts of the church. Ultimately, the mission agency recommendation grew from these discussions.
Why is there a minority report?
In its final year, the Vision 2020 Team was working on a consensus model of decision making. Ultimately, they could not reach consensus on one of their recommendations. The two team members who did not support that recommendation shared their perspective in the minority report.
The global pandemic has changed the timeline for deciding on this report. Rather than publishing the report a month before General Synod, it’ll be out for a year. RCA general secretary Eddy Alemán has encouraged the denomination to spend that time in earnest prayer. The year also gives ample opportunity for discussion. The Vision 2020 Team has released a discussion guide along with its report; it can be used individually, with a group of friends, or with your congregation. Over the coming year, there will also be opportunities for discussing the report in regional groups. These gatherings will be scheduled starting in the fall, and running into the spring. These conversations will be organized and led by Vision 2020 Team members, General Synod officers, and the RCA’s executive leadership team. Depending on pandemic conditions, these events may be held in person with an online option or exclusively online.
What’s the timeline?
A final report will be released next spring, in the General Synod Workbook. It will look very much like the report released in June 2020, but will also include the language for the recommendation that is missing from the June 2020 report. At General Synod in June 2021, delegates will carefully consider the report and recommendations, and will make a decision about how to proceed.
What will the Vision 2020 Team’s role be over the next year?
The Vision 2020 Team has identified two sub-committees. One will work with the Commission on Church Order on proposed changes to the Book of Church Order described in Recommendation 3. The other subcommittee will work with General Synod officers and the RCA’s executive leadership team to facilitate regional discussions of the Vision 2020 Team report. In the spring, the Vision 2020 Team will submit its final report, including the full text for Recommendation 3, for publication in the General Synod Workbook.