Making Room for All

May 19, 2016

Read, Pray & Respond to This Call to Action re: LGBTQ Inclusion in the RCA

Dear Middle Family,

Elder Darren Major serves on the board of Room for All, which advocates for LGBTQ justice in the Reformed Church in America. Darren and others on the RFA board are hoping that when they attend the General Synod in June, their voices and perspectives may be heard. See his letter below.

Please pray about this important General Synod. And if it seems appropriate to you, please echo Darren's kind request by writing to Tom DeVries, General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America, and Evan Vermeer, Synod President, and the leadership team of the RCA, "the Group of Five." Mark the subject of your emails as "Make Room for All" and be sure to add your thoughts. 

Tom DeVries: tdevries@rca.org
Evan Vermeer: evermeer@mwpms.com

Leadership Team, the Group of Five:
Brad Lewis: lewisb@union.edu
Carol Mutch: CLMutch@aol.com
Tony Vis: tonyvis47@gmail.com
Irving Rivera: pastorirv@yahoo.com
Chuck Van Engen: cvanengen@lacmin.org

Love and justice calls us,
Jacqui

Make Room for All

Hi,

My name is Darren J. Major and I was blessed to be part of the Special Council that met in Chicago last month. I also serve as an Elder of Middle Collegiate Church and sit on the board of Room for All.

Marilyn Paarlberg, chair of Room for All, forwarded your response to the board, and it's disappointing that the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America Officers are choosing to maintain an ineffective status quo during this pivotal moment for the denomination.

As an openly gay black man, it deeply troubles me that you don't see the value of hearing every voice during the RCA General Synod in June.

By not including the LGBTQ voices in the process, the advisory council will have no real context for the impact it will have. Without those voices I am hard pressed to believe that anything fruitful will come out of all of our earnest work and that the RCA will begin the next 40-year period of trying find a pathway forward.

There was a commitment from Tom De Vries and the Group of Five that the General Synod would honor the process we formed in Chicago during the Special Council meeting in April. As a family of all colors, views, genders and orientations, we worked diligently that weekend to find a pathway forward for everyone. I find it disrespectful to all of our efforts that you are choosing to not make places at the table for the people who will be most directly impacted this decision.

In your denial email, you referenced that inviting LGBTQ persons to be included in the advisory committee would be inconsistent with RCA's Book of Church Order unless they were regular delegates or corresponding delegates. For me this is problematic and hypocritical when the RCA website proudly displays:

"The Book of Church Order, along with the Liturgy and the creeds and confessions, helps shape the life and faith of the Reformed Church in America. It is expected that these foundational documents will nurture our covenantal commitment to each other as we serve God together. Because of this purpose, the Book of Church Order--or BCO, as it is often called--is a living document, constantly changing so the mission of the church can become ever more faithful and our life together reflective of God's grace in our ministry."

If you really want to be about the business of shaping the life and faith of the RCA, choosing which lives are worthy of a covenantal commitment is not the way. It would be as simple as granting Corresponding Delegate status to the LGBTQ attendees of the Special Council and allowing our wise council to be considered.

Your decision to exclude the prophetic voices of the LGBTQ community provides a stark contrast to the communal spirit we created during that transformative weekend in April. I respectfully ask that you reconsider this decision and stand on the commitment that was made to us during the Special Council.

All the best,

Darren J. Major
Elder
Middle Collegiate Church

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