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 will take place from June 7-12 on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can watch General Synod via livestream, check out the workbook and other information all by clicking HERE. Please be in prayer for the RCA and the delegates during this time.
The Regional Synod of Mid-America’s Annual Session took place on Tuesday, April 24. The minutes for this annual session can be found 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.
“Reading the Verbs: Finding the Script in the Scripture” with Dr. Anna Carter Florence, June 25 – 29, 2018. The Wisconsin Council of Churches annually holds the Washington Island Forum which is especially tailored to lay leaders and pastors who want to deepen their spirituality and connect with the message of the scriptures in a more profound way. Learn more and register 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 Set aside Saturday, June 2, 2018 for our ‘Spring Into Summer’ event at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center with a 12,000’ family friendly obstacle run, swimming, food, and activities for kids and adults alike, as we kick off our 2018 summer camp season. Invitations with details will be forthcoming in April or 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
Pray for General Synod…
The 212th gathering of the General Synod will take place on June 7-12, 2018, at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Delegates of ministers and elders from classes, general synod professors, corresponding delegates, seminary and college presidents and students, commission representatives and global mission guests will gather to hear reports and discern, discuss and vote on recommendations of various commissions, agencies, boards, task forces and institutions of the General Synod. They will listen and vote on 20 overtures from classes and regional synods. People will gather in advisory committees and attend various workshops.
What makes this particular General Synod unique is that much of the discussion and conversation will occur in joint meetings with delegates of the Synod of Christian Reformed Church in North America. All worship services and advisory committees will meet jointly with the CRCNA Synod delegates. These delegates will discuss one of four topics related to the RCA’s and CRCNA’s work together: congregational renewal, interfaith engagement, and two scenarios (Collaboration and New Creation) from a video shown to Synod 2017 delegates presenting potential scenarios for the trajectory of the RCA and CRC’s working relationship.
There will be a recommendation to approve the General Synod Council employment of Eddy Aleman as general secretary of the General Synod of the Reformed Church in America. The African American Black Council will bring an affirmation of support of last year’s RCA anti-racism policy. The delegates of General Synod will hear the results of the discussion process called Listening Together engaged by classes and regions around the future of the Reformed Church in America in light of a covenant people and church united in mission, recognizing that a church divided is not God’s intention for God’s people and is not a redemptive witness to our world. The interim General Secretary will share some recommendations around the future of the RCA. A special evening of celebration is planned honoring women to fully and freely use their gifts and leadership in the RCA where brothers and sisters work together to build the body for mission in the world. Many other reports and recommendations will come before this General Synod.
In preparation for General Synod 2018, I wrote a devotional thought as we pray for the 212th gathering of the General Synod. I pray that the power of God will work in super abundance through all who participate in General Synod. Listen to these words of Scripture in Ephesians 3:20-21:
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Paul’s spirit is soaring in prayer as he writes this very simple statement about the power of God. He reminds us that our God is not only alive, but active in our lives and at work in the church creating a sense of hope and expectancy, doing what we cannot even imagine God might be pleased to do in the neighborhood or city where we live. What sends Paul in orbit here is the thought that God is able to do far more abundantly than what we have asked God to do or we ever thought or imagined God could do through us. The word abundantly here in the Greek doesn’t just mean more, but it means super abundance in quantity and quality. Every time we stretch our faith in caring for people in our neighborhood, God says, “I can do super abundantly more through you!” Every time we bring the name of Jesus to an unreached people group in the world, God says, “I can do super abundantly more through you!” Every time we ask God to use us to feed the hungry or end sex trafficking in our city, God says, “I can do super abundantly more through you!” Every time we think a problem is too difficult to solve, the conflict and division within the RCA is too deep to bring reconciliation and revival, God says, “I can do super abundantly more through you!”
Let’s pray that as we prepare for General Synod 2018, that God will do something in our midst that when we look back on it, the only thing we can attribute it to is the super abundance of the power of God at work through us.
Why Being Different Is Critical for Every Church – This article reminds me of the idea Reggie McNeal shared with us years ago: that churches are more like boutiques and not Wal Mart. How is your church different from all the other churches in town?
Turning Building Users into Worshipers – Many churches provide meeting space for community groups hoping that building users will eventually show up for worship. But for a church to reach new people through its facility, it must engage in an active, intentional process of building relationships with those using the building, according to Kay Kotan and Phil Schroeder.