Forthcoming CI Gatherings

There will be a slight change in the dates of next two meetings of the Chicago Invitation, which are held at the Mariandale Retreat Center in Ossining, NY.

The Spring meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 7th at 2pm through Friday morning May 9 at 10am. This is two weeks earlier than our usual time.

The Fall meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 21st at 2pm through Thursday morning October 23. This is moved up one day because of Mariandale’s schedule.

I hope to see many of you there!


Links to Resources

We’re in a really great meeting of Chicago Invitation people right now. And there have been a number of things discussed that touch on resources found online. So I am providing this running list here for the benefit of attendees and other interested parties.


Spring Meeting

The Chicago Invitation is evolving, changing, growing, learning, sharing…and always seeking to serve the RCA and our faith and theology. You signed an historic document that was part of all that. Today, we are about theology for the church today and to a lesser extent paying attention to the programs and policies of the RCA. We are neither the Synod of Dort nor the Justice League, never were.

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 22 beginning at 2pm with worship and adjourning on Friday morning, May 24. We meet at the Mariandale Retreat Center in Ossining, New York. If you cannot come to the entire meeting, you are more than welcome to attend for whatever part you able to join us.

To make a reservation please email me at as soon as possible so we may reserve enough space. The cost is $175 per person and includes lodging and meals.

Here are our tentative discussion topics and presenters

  • General Synod: Purpose, Authority, Power, Legislature by Allan Janssen
  • Synod Decisions Through the Years by Rett Zabriskie
  • Evaluation & Accountability in the RCA organization by Jim Reid
  • Interesting Observations about the RCA by Norm Kansfield
  • General Synod 2013: proposals, plans, programs, and politics
  • Synchronic Contingency: understanding divine freedom by Okke Postma

We also take time for worship each day and for informal fellowship for part of the value is the friendships and mutual care we share at our meetings.

So, right now, before you forget, email me at to make your reservation to attend the meeting; and if you have thoughts, concerns, ideas, that you would like on the agenda, please include them or call me at 520-344-9554…in Arizona where the sun every day, but it is on west coast time.


Jack Elliott,

Moderator, Chicago Invitation

About the Niskayuna gathering

The previous post offers a report about a meeting that took place on August 13 to discuss issues of church order that are raised by R-67. (Thank you, James.)

Because I have already received one complaint, I want to emphasize that this was NOT an official Chicago Invitation meeting. It was not approved or planned by the CI leaders (Elliott, Janssen, Meeter, and Postma). No results of the meeting should be viewed as policy of the Chicago Invitation group.

Some people will see this as a distinction without a difference. Even discussing what we discussed would be a problem. That saddens me. I am sorry for this. Chicago Invitation has always counted among its friends those with a variety of opinions on “hot-button” issues. The Chicago Invitation meetings do not focus on those issues. There are fine groups whose purpose is to focus on those issues. I have no interest in changing Chicago Invitation into something like one of those groups. I don’t think CI’s leaders have that interest, either.

What we had in Niskayuna was a gathering of people who were disturbed at the tone and content of General Synod’s R-56. Some of them happened to be CI signatories. The focus of the meeting was not on the proper stance of the church toward LGBT persons, gay marriage, or ordination of gays. It was on the church order issues raised by R-56 and by the process of debate that led to its adoption. Which is to say that the CI-like focus was on (to use a phrase that I have repeated often in CI gatherings) issues in practical ecclesiology. The discussion was focused on getting clarity about what R-56 was and how it will function in the near future, from a church polity standpoint