Members of the Reformed Church in America discussing the future of the denomination at the local level, have held the first four of 22 scheduled talks as part of an effort to discern where God is taking the Church.
RCA General Secretary Tom De Vries facilitated talks involving 80 people in Yonkers, New York on September 22, the denomination reported on Friday. The participants gathered in small groups and enjoyed fellowship over lunch.
The discussions are known as "Discovery" talks, a four-hour "discernment experience" being held across the ahead of the denomination's 2013 General Synod. The talks will help in creating a recommendation about future priorities for the denomination, the Church said.
A second meeting involving 26 people took place on the same day in Lynden, Washington, with facilitation by the director of congregational mission Ken Eriks.
RCA's communication department said the group in New York had a "very productive time sharing ideas and future dreams for the denomination" while those in Washington were "equally fruitful as participants shared ministry priorities that God laid on their hearts."
A third meeting involving 20 people took place in Morrison, Illinois on Thursday. A fourth event was scheduled for Saturday morning in Seboygan, Wisconsin. A fifth event is set for Ripon, California on Sunday evening.
An RCA website (https://www.rca.org/discovery) includes 18 events taking place from September through February 2013 across the country, including times and locations. The site offers registration for each event.
De Vries said in June that the dialogues and discussions "will prove to be a sifting and refining" to help in "the defining of our next chapter."
"The next chapter will be multiracial. It must move beyond racism, through reconciliation, to a place of restoration and righteousness," he said.
"The next chapter will be missional. A missional church is engaged in the world: making a difference, living incarnationally-being the hands and feet of Christ, extending compassion, defending justice."