Vision 2020: “God Gives Us the Capacity to Make Hard Decisions”
Presenters also give delegates practical skills for hard conversations in the face of loss
“No matter what we do, we are here in the face of loss.” These were the words of Trisha Taylor, one of three consultants working with the RCA’s Vision 2020 Team. General Synod 2018 tasked the team with investigating three possible scenarios for the future of the RCA: staying together, radical reorganization, or grace-filled separation.
Taylor, along with colleagues Jim Herrington and Ryan Donovan, gave a presentation on Friday morning to synod delegates that introduced the process that the Vision 2020 Team has been working through for the past year. “In this meeting we are not addressing the topic of human sexuality,” Herrington clarified, “but your view on human sexuality will inform the feedback that you give about the various scenarios as we explore them.
“Based on the feedback from you in this gathering, the 2020 team will bring recommendations related to those scenarios in the 2020 General Synod.”
Herrington, Taylor, and Donovan also offered some principles for delegates to draw on while engaging with the scenarios and with one another.
Delegates will have in-depth discussions about each scenario with small groups on Friday and Saturday. They began preparing for these discussions before synod with a series of webinars focused on spiritual and emotional maturity and healthy engagement with conflict; today’s presentation built on that foundation.
Taylor, Herrington, and Donovan stressed repeatedly the need for discernment, for listening, and for speaking wisely.
Herrington, along with the Vision 2020 Team, asked delegates to do two things in their feedback groups: (1) Say what you think in a way that makes it possible for others to hear, and (2) Listen to what others think, especially when their view is different. Doing so, explained the consultants, allows people to define their own convictions while also connecting with others in the body of Christ, even if those convictions differ.
Taylor explained the idea of being “defined and connected” as holding your convictions tightly in one fist while reaching out with your other hand to shake someone’s hand while they also hold tightly to their convictions.
Herrington reminded the attendees that the process is long and will involve loss, no matter which path the RCA takes. “We’re begging, urging, pleading with you to see the process through. Let the assembly do the hard work it’s called to do,” he said.
“God meets us here to work in and among us to help us discern together,” Donovan said.
“God gives us the capacity to make hard decisions wisely,” Herrington said.
Following the discussion groups, members of the Vision 2020 Team will synthesize feedback and share it during Sunday evening’s plenary session.
For full synod coverage, visit www.rca.org/synod.