400-year old Christian church splitting over LGBTQ rights

Tue. October 19, 2021 10:46 AM by Gerald Farinas

a welcoming church flies lgbtq pride flags

photo credit // unsplash jeremy bezanger

Reformed Church in America is reorganizing itself over LGBTQ issues

The Reformed Church in America is one of the oldest Protestant church denominations in the nation but its divide over how to treat LGBTQ members is forcing it to reorganize. 

While some churches of the RCA come from a mainline Protestant worldview, like its more liberal cousin Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) which adopted LGBTQ inclusion, others have adopted a modern Evangelical biblical conservatism that is set against open LGBTQ participation.

RCA is meeting for its 214th General Synod, or church convention, in Tucson, Ariz. It scrambling to adopt rules as to how to move forward with conservative congregations wanting to leave over marriage equality and LGBTQ ordination.

The denomination has established a restructuring team to help lead the transition.

Conservative congregations have left the already small denomination but more than 125 churches are wanting to do the same, according to Christianity Today. With less than a thousand churches to its name, 125 is a huge chunk.

Hoping to lessen the pain, the denomination is hoping to reorganize the church districts based on biblical views rather than geography.

Each group called a "classis" would have the right to determine for themselves if marriage equality and LGBTQ ordination would be allowed.

The plan has caused strong feelings on both sides, for and against LGBTQ inclusion.

One person told Christianity Today that it would be a prescription for chaos. Another from Wisconsin said, "We have to be exploring new ways of working together, of worshipping together, of being on mission together."

The denomination will have to vote on certain aspects of the plan before being put in action.

RCA was founded in 1628 and currently has about 194,000 members.

It is full communion, or full partners of, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) also called PCUSA, and the United Church of Christ. These denominations are considered welcoming to LGBTQ persons.