University Reformed Church Votes to Leave the RCA

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On April 27, 2014, University Reformed Church (URC) voted 282-9 in favor of leaving the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and affiliating with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

The following Wednesday, the consistory of URC voted unanimously (14-0) to file a petition with the Classis of South Grand Rapids that we might leave the RCA with all our real and personal property and join the Presbytery of the Great Lakes in the PCA.

For the past three years, our church has wrestled with our place in the Reformed Church in America. We have prayed, studied, strategized, spoke, listened, prayed, asked questions, explored options, tried to discern what is in the best interest of the Kingdom, and prayed some more. We did not come to this decision lightly.

And this decision on our part does not mean that we have already left the RCA. Now that our petition has been filed, we will enter into a formal process with the classis—a series of meetings and reports which will take place over the next 6-8 months, as spelled out in detail by our Book of Church Order. We anticipate a final vote on our petition sometime in the first part of 2015.

Perhaps at a later date I will be able to share our 39-page petition for withdrawal. But for now the process is one that needs to take place between our church and the classis, not by blogs and in the public eye. Let me simply say at this point that our reason for seeking to leave the RCA is not one thing, but many things. From the adoption of the Belhar Confession, to the removal of the conscience clauses related to women’s ordination, to the growing acceptance of homosexual practice in the denomination, we believe the RCA has changed significantly in the last several years. The denomination has moved away from churches like ours. Our request is that we may be able to move too.

We are hopeful that our brothers and sisters in the classis will conduct a fair process and seek with us “how Christ’s Kingdom may best be served in this matter” (BCO 1.II.7.19b).

Thanks in advance for your prayers.

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