SIOUX FALLS, SD (EP) – Despite a spirited debate over the church’s position on homosexuality, the Reformed Church in America (RCA) decided to retain its ties to the United Church of Christ (UCC) during its June 10–16 general synod.
The debate on the RCA’s relationship with the UCC was sparked by a request from Florida churches for the RCA to server all ties with the UCC because of its stance on homosexuality. The proposal was denied by a substantial margin.
The denominational committee which dealt with the issue recommended denial of the request to “avoid the precedent of severing ecumenical ties with other Christian denominations over differences regarding interpretation of Scripture on social ethical matters.”
The Rev. Timothy Boeve, chairperson of the denomination’s Commission on Christian Unity and a church pastor in California, said the vote was encouraging. “The church affirmed the direction of the Reformed Church and did not allow diversity in the Christian church to keep us from our desire to make our oneness in Christ visible.”
The Florida churches also proposed a measure to allow one group of churches to bring charges against another, and a measure calling for all RCA staff and professors of theology to resign if they cannot affirm a “status confessionis” (statement of beliefs essential to the Christian faith) on sexual ethics. Both were denied. A proposal by Midwest churches calling for an investigation of the UCC for alleged Unitarian beliefs was also turned away.