Palos Heights, Illinois — Delegates to The Reformed Church in America’s General Synod elected a Sioux Center man as their new president-elect. They wrapped up their six-day meeting on Tuesday in Illinois.
Delegates elected Evan Vermeer of Sioux Center as the new president of the General Synod. Vermeer, an elder at First Reformed Church in Sioux Center has served as synod vice president for the last year. He was installed during General Synod closing worship, will serve over the coming year, and will preside over General Synod 2016.
This year, the RCA’s General Synod voted to instruct the general secretary, in consultation with the Commission on Christian Unity, to establish, for a period of three years, a General Synod task force on inter-religious understanding and relations, in order to explore the challenges and opportunities of relationships between Christians and people and groups of other religions. They said the task force should work closely with the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee of the Christian Reformed Church and other ecumenical partners already involved in interfaith discussions and work, both in North America and globally, reporting annually to General Synod.
A resolution was tabled until next year that would have spelled out that a church’s consistory or governing body should determine what marriages may be solemnized in a church or congregation.
Saying that it’s time for the RCA to settle constitutional issues related to homosexuality, synod president Greg Alderman proposed a special council to develop a way forward for the RCA. Delegates debated and then approved the formation of the special council to engage with questions of human sexuality and propose a constitutional way forward for the RCA. The council, to be convened early in 2016, will be planned by five past presidents of General Synod and include 74 people from across the RCA.
Synod also implored RCA congregations, office holders, and assemblies to exercise a season of restraint until the council reports back to General Synod next year. Delegates called for restraint in performing same-sex marriages, ordaining practicing homosexuals, separating from the denomination, and initiating judicial actions related to homosexuality.
For more news from the RCA General Synod, we turn to this report from the Synod news line.