The following was sent to Room for All from Rev. Dr. Norm and Mary Kansfield. Norm is a former president of New Brunswick Theological Seminary and former General Synod Professor of Theology. Mary continues to serve faithfully as Room for All’s historian and archivist. They are both founding board members of Room for All.
Room for All was founded, in large part, after Norm’s trial before the General Synod 11 years ago- he was suspended from the office of Minister of Word and Sacrament (since reinstated) and deposed as a GS Professor of Theology for presiding at the wedding of his daughter and her wife. Below is a message of support to Room for All supporters in the wake of General Synod 2016’s decisions.
June 14, 2016
Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ — the Room for All Faithful,
After what the General Synod of 2016 has managed to pass during the past twenty-four hours, there will be some among us who will say that we can no longer have a ministry within the Reformed Church in America. After all, it was the counsel of our Lord that, when his disciples carried his message to somewhere in which they were not welcomed and their message went unappreciated, they should “shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them” (Mark 6, 11 and parallels at Matthew 10. 4 and Luke 9. 5; 10. 11). It was with just such a symbolic “shaking off of dust,” that Paul and Barnabas left Antioch because their message about Jesus was not welcome there. I want it understood that in our extreme disappointment, disillusionment, and discouragement, we who have struggled so long for the very soul of our denomination may wish to follow the example of Paul and Barnabas and solemnly turn away from our ecclesiastical home.
Everything within me wants to take my size 15 sandals, clap them together, and in a shower of pious dust leave this wretched denomination once and for all. But I cannot do that. I urge you to resist doing so also. The RCA ground under our feet may have shifted in the previous twenty-four hours, but if we leave, we must remember the thousands of GLBTQ folk imbedded within the Reformed Church for whom we have become a beacon of hope and authenticity. It is for them that we must stay. It is for them that we must struggle on. We do not need to worry about a place in the church for those who are sure that GLBTQ folk have no place in God’s love. They have their reward. We need to worry about all those folks who may be led to believe that because of their sexual orientation they don’t have a place in God’s love and God’s church. We cannot allow the light of Room for All to go out for them.
Let us therefore take up our work with renewed dedication on their behalf, in the powerful assurance that the God of love, the Son of righteousness, and the Spirit of power are indeed with us. Let us therefore renew our commitment to the ministry to which Christ our Lord has called us.
Mary and Norm Kansfield