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Being a Reformed Church When the Church is Under Stress: A Conversation

June 21 @ 10:00 am - 2:30 pm

A few weeks ago, in the midst of a Facebook discussion over the state of the RCA and concerns over the coming General Synod, a side conversation opened up. It was about how some of us, while we are unsure of what is going to happen to the current denominational structure, are quite confident in local churches and classes and even a few regional synods, who, no matter where they are in the discussions of human sexuality—and many of them are mixed—are continuing to do good Reformed ministry. While the future of the RCA is in doubt, there are lots of Reformed churches in local communities who maintain a vibrant Reformed witness, and they need help and support doing that—help and support the denomination is having difficulty providing right now.

That led to the plan for this special conversation, which the Reformed Church Center will host at New Brunswick Theological Seminary on June 21st. This event will not be live-streamed, because placing us in an informal setting where we can all share freely makes that much more difficult. Still, I hope many of us can be here, and the Center will do what it can to find low-cost (or free) accommodations for those who need to stay the night.

As our denominational structures in the RCA face conflict, stress, and uncertainty, local congregations still have the challenge of being Reformed and bringing a witness to their communities. This time of conversation will focus on how every congregation can keep doing that, no matter what happens at General Synod. Following a state-of-the-church presentation by Al Janssen (a General Synod Professor at NBTS), we will launch into informal conversations around four topics:

  • We can be church together even when we don’t entirely agree—led by Abby Norton-Levering (Albany Synod Ministries Coordinator) and Thomas Song (pastor of Steinway Reformed Church, Queens, NY).
  • We can be church no matter what happens denominationally—led by Rett Zabriskie (specialized transition minister) and Matthew van Maastricht (pastor, Altamont Reformed Church).
  • We can be a non-anxious presence for our own congregations and the RCA—led by Linda Burlew Gold (pastor, First Reformed Church, College Point, NY) and Dwayne Jackson (pastor, second Reformed Church, Hackensack, NJ).
  • We can be ecumenical on our own . . . and often are—led by Patricia Singletary (Pastor, Elmendorf Reformed Church, New York, NY) and Amy Nyland (New York Synod Executive Minister).

Everyone who cares about the lives of their congregations and about our call to bring a Reformed understanding of God’s Reign to our communities is welcome, no matter what your theological understanding of human sexuality might be. There is a suggested donation of $15.00 to cover lunch and snacks, but all are welcome;* please just give what you can. Students from any seminary are welcome to attend for free. RSVP to by Monday, June 18.

*This is an over-and-above program for the Center at the end of the budget year. Anyone who has the means to give a little extra toward food, etc., is welcome to do so.


June 21
10:00 am - 2:30 pm
Event Category:


James Hart Brumm, Director, The Reformed Church Center


NJ Campus
NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ 08901 United States
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