Along with many in the Reformed Church in America, Room for All mourns the death of Rev. Ed Mulder today.
No doubt there will be many tributes in the days to come, tracing Ed’s humble roots in Minnesota, his call to ministry and ordination to the office of Minister of Word and Sacrament in the RCA, subsequent pastorates in four congregations, his election as RCA General Secretary and his strong work against apartheid in South Africa, In all of these roles, Ed was pastor, prophet, mentor and friend to many in the RCA and beyond.
Room for All, in particular, celebrates Ed as a friend to LGBTQ people and a passionate advocate for their full affirmation in the life and ministry of the RCA. His advocacy took many forms, both personal and public.
Ed’s stirring testimony on the floor of General Synod last June will not be soon forgotten (Monday, June 12, 3:15 pm session, beginning at 1:27:43), where he concluded his remarks with this plea: “And so, my beloved brothers and sisters, we’ve got to find a way to embrace these men and women in the church of tomorrow.”
The church of tomorrow — what might that church look like? The church of today continues to position and plot over that which, for Ed, was simply the Gospel. “We need to remember that LGBTQ people are sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ; our Creator has given them gifts to be used in the life and work of the kingdom. We truly need transforming,” he wrote in a 2015 Outsights blog, “but not the kind that excludes those who love Jesus Christ as Lord. Following him, may a spirit of tenderness and graciousness be among us. May we always be open to learning from each other. Learning is, after all, a lifelong process.”
Ed embodied that tender, gracious, Christ-like spirit. His life of learning has now ended, and his passion for all God’s children is ours to carry. Thank you, beloved friend and advocate. We’ll miss you.