2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
President: Jason DeVries (New Thing)
Vice President: TBD
At-Large Members: Dale Buettner (Illiana-Florida), Bob Hofman (Illinois), Bob Wierenga (Wisconsin), TBD (Chicago)
The 2018 RCA General Synod took place from June 7-12 on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Many things worth catching up on happened this year including a new General Secretary in Eddy Aleman and a Vision 2020 group to research and identify strategies and consequences for three possible scenarios for the future of the RCA: staying together, radical reconstituting and reorganization, and graceful separation. The General Synod also moved an entire classis to a different region, showed support for strategies to reduce gun violence, recommended a new catechism on marriage and sexuality, and so much more. To read about the decisions and actions of this year’s General Synod, click HERE.
Flourishing Churches Grant – Many RCA churches have thriving ministries but lack the financial resources for necessary building improvements. The Flourishing Churches Grant provides funding for the facility upgrades RCA churches need to continue and grow their ministries. Six grants of up to $50,000 are available to RCA churches. To find out more, click HERE.
Ridder: Churches Leading Change is re-launching in our region this fall. This transformational process has been going through significant changes since its inception in 2010. Change in the church is hard. RCLC will help you keep your focus on mission while navigating the adaptive challenges of leading change. Whether you were a previous participant in the Ridder Church Renewal process or have never even heard about it, we would like to invite you to consider participating in the coming year. If you’d like to watch a short video the Regional Synod of the Heartland put together on the impact of Ridder, click HERE. If you’d like to hear more about RCLC or ask questions, please contact Chad.
The Regional Synod of Mid-America’s Ministerial Excellence Fund. The purpose of this Fund is to assist with alleviating some of the financial pressures facing clergy in their pastoral ministry. This fund is made available to both Ministers of Word and Sacrament and Commissioned pastors rostered in Illinois Classis, Wisconsin Classis, and Illiana-Florida Classis. Each classis began this fund with $10,000 which was matched by the Reformed Church in America for a total starting balance of $20,000 per classis. You will need to download and read the Ministerial Excellence Guidelines prior to filling out an application. Once the application is filled out, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from Camp Manitoqua Summer Camp is in full swing! Please pray for the summer staff and all the young people who will come into contact with the Gospel this summer. For pictures and more information, you can can always visit Manitoqua.org/springintosummer.
STORIES OF CELEBRATION
We share stories of celebration to glorify God. There is no story this month. If you’d like to share what God is doing in your church (or classis), please email Chad.
Check out the newest issue of the RCA Today, featuring stories from our region HERE.
THOUGHTS FROM WAYNE
The Phone Call No One Wants to Get…
The phone call that no one wants to get came for my wife Linda on Friday, May 25…”may I speak to Linda please?”…“this is Linda”…“your biopsy results are in. You tested positive for breast cancer”…“the surgeon will be calling you”. I happened to be at home when she received the phone call. The phone call continued with the nurse telling her more information, but I don’t think she heard too much of what the nurse was saying. I wanted to be strong for her but felt like her world was spinning in circles. How could this be happening to Linda again? She tries to take care of herself health-wise and look what it has gotten her again. CANCER! Why would God let this happen? Twenty-six years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Linda was a cancer survivor. She broke down crying in my arms. God, we don’t understand; help us to understand! We needed to pray. In the midst of tears we immediately gave this diagnosis to the Lord. As we did only the peace that Jesus can give began to settle in.
The next couple of weeks were a mixture of doctor appointments and more tests. We met with a radiation doctor, a surgeon and an oncologist. More tests. The tests came back as an uncommon cancer. More questions. Are the lymph modes under the arm impacted? Will the cancer be found in other parts of the body? Where is the main source of the cancer?
Now decisions had to be made – chemotherapy, radiation, surgery? After conversations with the oncologist and the surgeon, surgery took place on June 14. At the time of this writing Linda has returned home from the hospital with some draining tubes in place, but she is resting well with no pain.
This has been a long couple of weeks. We have prayed faithfully to God knowing that He is in control. We like to think that we’re in control, but we are not. The best thing I can do now is to take care of Linda’s needs and put total trust in our Lord and Savior. I’m amazed at the positive attitude that she has had after the surgery. I am convinced that God isn’t finished with her yet. I feel that God will walk with her every step of the way. We appreciate your prayers.
These verses of Scripture give us peace and hope:
“…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God…” (Isaiah 43:1a-3a)
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:14)
Leaders Need Not Choose Between Improving and Creating – The church needs both those who are loyal to existing religious institutions and those eager to usher in what the church will look like next, writes the managing director of grants at Leadership Education at Duke Divinity.
We’re In the Innovation Business – We live in a moment of profound social and cultural change fueled by digital technology and globalization. Organizations of all types are struggling to adapt to new patterns of belonging and participation. Many churches and church systems seem caught and at a loss, unsure what to do as established practices break down and people disengage. Long-treasured ways of connecting and supporting Christian communities do not seem meaningful or accessible to emerging generations or neighbors. Leaders try harder at the old patterns, but feel frustrated and drained by pushing against cultural currents beyond their control.
“Divergent Churches” Studies Innovation – Two leaders from the Center for Congregations studies 12 alternative/divergent faith communities and how they are living out their call to be an intentional community of Jesus.