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


A Question

I’ve been on vacation, so I’ve been tardy in getting this out. But my friend and colleague Paul Quevedo sent me this question for all of us to ponder:

So my friends… so many of you, somewhere along the way helped this adopted
son of the RCA come in, feel at home and navigate his way and I am truly
grateful. It wasn’t too long ago that I would be in the company of any one
of you and any given time and have found your insight and wisdom oh so
assuring. So now my friends, I look to you…with the General Synod’s
declaration of homosexuality as a disciplinary act, I could almost hear Dr.
Janssen giving this to our class as a case study and asking us “how this
would play out” and I think it would not be the reality we woke up to
Tuesday morning. My question to you who have been my friends and
mentors….what’s next? what is a proper and good response ?

I can offer one practical and definite response to the “what’s next?” question. A few of us in upstate and western New York feel that we don’t want to wait until October 24 for a Chicago Invitation style discussion about R-56(s). So we’ve decided to hold what I call a regional, interim, quasi-CI group therapy session.

We will meet on Monday, August 13, from 10:00 to 4:00, at Niskayuna Reformed Church (3041 Troy Schenectady Road, Niskayuna, NY). Scott DeBlock is hosting us (thanks Scott!) and will provide lunch.

So, what else can we say in response to Paul’s question?