Recommendation 28, adopted by the 2012 General Synod, has generated confusion, concern, sadness, anger, chagrin, and resolve by those in the Reformed Church in America who support the welcome and affirmation of LGBTQ persons in the life and ministry of the RCA.
The Room for All Board of Directors cannot begin to respond personally to all of these expressions, but again affirm that R-28 does not alter RfA’s mission or our ministry. As we noted earlier, R-28 only has the power that we give it by our reactions, and Room for All’s response is that our efforts in the area of support, education and advocacy for full LGBTQ inclusion, compelled by the inclusive love of God shown to us in Jesus Christ, will continue.
Since the 2012 General Synod, various sermons, prayers, litanies or other congregational statements relating to R-28 have been offered. We are aware of only some of these responses, but wish to make them available as they come to us. It is not our intent to evaluate or endorse any such documents, but to lift them up in faith, trusting that God’s Spirit will lead the RCA forward.
If you refer to any part of these documents, please credit the authors. If you wish to copy them for your own use, you must obtain permission unless otherwise noted. If you are aware of other pieces that are appropriate for this page, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
R-56 SUBSTITUTE AS APPROVED 6/25/12
While compassion, patience, and loving support should be shown to all those who struggle with same-sex desires, the General Synod reaffirms our official position that homosexual behavior is a sin according to the Holy Scriptures, therefore any person, congregation, or assembly which advocates homosexual behavior or provides leadership for a service of same-sex marriage or a similar celebration has committed a disciplinable offense; and further,
that the General Synod Council shall oversee the creation of an eight member committee made up of representatives appointed by each of the regional synods to pray and work together to present a way forward for our denomination given the disagreement in our body relative to homosexuality. The purpose of the committee is not to revisit our stated position, but shall operate with the understanding expressed earlier in this recommendation and issue a report with practical recommendations to the General Synod of 2013.
RESPONSE BY RfA BOARD PRESIDENT, REV. ERIC JOHNSON 6/29/12 Read here…
FOR A RESPONSE TO THE POLITY IMPLICATIONS OF R-28, see the article by Rev. Tom Goodhart in the Summer 2012 RfA Newsletter .
OTHER POLITY-BASED RESPONSES: Knowledgeable persons in the RCA have expressed reactions, clarifications and/or opinions about the implications of RCA polity inherent in R-28. For example, you may find such statements at the Herald Blog , especially July 2012 posts.
Also, see The Chicago Invitation
RESPONSES FROM THE REFORMED CHURCH OF HIGHLAND PARK, NJ (includes Consistory statement, 2005 position paper/articles by co-pastor Rev. Seth Kaper-Dale, and response to R-56 by student pastor Jeffrey Knol)
ST. PAUL’S REFORMED CHURCH CONSISTORY STATEMENT, No. Babylon, NY: www.stpaulsrefchurch.com/welcoming.cfm
MIDDLE COLLEGIATE CHURCH Congregational Statement on LGBTI & Gender Justice, with a link to the church’s Marriage Equality Resolution: www.middlechurch.org/justice/commitment/lgbti
SERMON BY REV. SHARI BRINK, 7/1/12, Marble Collegiate Church, New York, NY: “Chosen and Precious”
SERMON BY REV. JILL RUSSELL, 7/15/12, Hope Church, Holland, MI, “Success Reconsidered”
SERMON BY REV. BRUCE CORNWELL, 7/22/12, Community Reformed Church of Colonie, NY: From ‘They’ to ‘We’
CALL to WORSHIP litany using the Welcoming and Affirming Statement of the First Church in Albany (NY) 7/22/12
In response to God’s unconditional love for all people made known to us in Jesus Christ, we are called to be a welcoming and affirming community. The First Church in Albany includes young and old, families, couples and singles, rich and poor, persons of various races, ethnicities, backgrounds, sexual orientation and gender identities, differing physical and mental abilities, believers and seekers. We welcome into the full life of the church all those whom God sends us. Centered in Christ, we commit ourselves to breaking down dividing walls and building community where all are loved.
REPRINT from the Winter 2013 RfA Newsletter, “Reflections on the R-28 Task Force” by Marilyn Paarlberg.