Special Council, Special People, Special Mission
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Photo Credit: Jeanne Bianchine, The First Church in Albany (NY)

Room for All in the RCA?

Participants in the 2015 General Synod mandated "Special Council" will gather April 15-18 to consider inserting language into the RCA Book of Church Order (BCO) specific to same-gender relationships, particularly in regard to ordination and marriage. Among a number of possible outcomes, the Special Council could recommend the addition of an inclusive phrase to our current polity language, essentially continuing to leave decisions about marriage and ordination, including for same-gender attracted candidates, up to the Board of Elders and the classis. Or, they could recommend language that would constitutionally permit OR prohibit ordination or marriage of same-gender attracted people. Whatever is recommended must first be voted up or down by the General Synod; then, because the BCO is one of the RCA's constitutional documents*, any proposed changes must be finally approved by two-thirds of the classes before they take effect.  Once approved by the classes, the content of the BCO is binding throughout the denomination (and therefore non-compliance could be open to disciplinary charges). 

Among the 74 participants at the Special Council will be at least eight people who identify as LGBTQ, along with others who identify as allies. Other participants might not personally support ordination or marriage of LGBTQ people, but still favor affirming our current polity. Others may believe that we need a constitutionally mandated prohibition or approval in order to move forward in the RCA.

All need our prayers; Room for All asks particular prayers for the LGBTQ participants, for whom the stakes and the risks are high.  Pray, too, for the RCA, that as a denomination we might "do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).  In that spirit,  leading up to the Special Council the RCA offers a series of 21 devotionals. In addition, Room for All has commissioned 21 inclusive daily prayers or devotionals to complement the RCA's series, which may be accessed at our website.

* Along with the BCO, the RCA Constitution consists of the four confessional standards and the Liturgy (those rites that have been approved by the classes; namely, the Orders for Baptism, the Lord's Supper, Profession of Faith, Ordination of Minsters of Word and Sacrament, Ordination of Elders and Deacons, and the Reception and Installation of a Minister of Word and Sacrament.  See Worship the Lord:  The Liturgy of the Reformed Church in America.  Â© 2005, Reformed Church Press, pp. iii, iv, 245-246).

Who are these beautiful people?  New RfA Board members!
Check out their profiles here.
As the Board looks to the future, we're excited about a campus theater tour, new strategic goals, new resources, and another inclusive worship service at General Synod.  
Will you partner with us in these and other projects of support, education and advocacy?  Donations of any amount make a difference!  Checks may be sent to the address below, or click here to donate online.
More than a year ago, we commissioned a short film tracing the story of RfA's beginning, the development of our mission, and the impact we've had in the lives of individuals, families and the RCA.  We're almost there!  The videographer is wrapping up interviews, and we expect to launch the final result by June 1st!

Looking back, we're humbled by, and grateful for, the expansion of this ministry for full LGBTQ affirmation in the RCA.  We look forward in faith to the next ten years!
Copyright © 2016 Room for All, All rights reserved.

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