he minutes from our last gathering of CI signatories and others is below. Signatories interested in the much less tidy and occasionally more interesting journal of the meeting may contact me.
The most promising result of CI’s May meeting was a turn toward the future. The CI’s first years were dominated by its response to the RCA’s “vision” (subsequently morphed into “our call”). Our hope was to recover the vitality of a Reformed way of being. This meeting appeared to be a turn away from a critical approach to denominational events and toward the question of the church and its future.
Last week, about 15 Chicago Invitation folk gathered in Ossining for our Spring meeting. We usually meet around this time of year, often on Ascension Day. As highlighted in two previous posts (here and here), the main purpose of this meeting was to discuss whether the Chicago Invitation has a future, and if so, what that future would be. The question before us was, as one keynote paper stated in its title, “Is it time to end the Chicago Invitation?”
For those of you who have been (perhaps anxiously) wondering, I can report that we decided that our answer to that question must be “No.” It is not time to end CI; we still have a role to play in the Reformed Church in America, one that is distinctive and for which there is no formal provision within the denomination at any level of governance.
First of all, we need to say a word of thanks to Dan Griswold for raising the issue of the future of Chicago Invitation in a manner that obviously reflects his care, concern and deep reflection. It is heartening to see that at least somewhere in the RCA the notion of self-evaluation every decade or so is valued and practiced.
I strongly affirm Dan’s belief “…that the ongoing purpose of our group is to provide the occasion for clear thinking about the church.” This is not to claim that all the thinking going on within the CI orbit has been clear all of the time, but rather to make the important point that occasions must be provided where, by the grace of God, such clarity of thought is made possible. At one point within remembered history, we were provided with a number of such occasions, even within the structure of RCA assemblies, but that has all but evaporated. It is now at the periphery of the RCA, rather than at its center, that these occasions arise and by the conscious effort of their participants. I would identify the special lectures/presentations by Western and New Brunswick Seminaries, along with CI meetings/papers as among occasions for clarity of thinking. Hopefully more can be named, but what they seem to have in common is that they are unsanctioned by the core of RCA structure.