- Reformed Church in America
Infobox Christian denomination
name = Reformed Church in America
orientation = Mainline
polity = Presbyterian
1628(first Dutch Reformed congregation organized in New Amsterdam); 1754(American classis gains independence)
Dutch Reformed Church
Christian Reformed Church(separated 1857; further congregations join the CRC in 1882)
National Council of Churches; World Council of Churches; Canadian Council of Churches; Christian Churches Together; World Alliance of Reformed Churches; Evangelical Fellowship of Canada; National Association of Evangelicals
area = Canada, USA
congregations = 931 (2007)
members = 270,858 (2007)
footnotes = The
Reformed Church in America(RCA) is a mainline Reformed Protestantdenomination that was formerly a part of the Dutch Reformed Churchand known as the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of North America. The denomination has about 270,000 members and has congregations in both the U.S. and Canada. The RCA is a founding member of the National Council of Churchesand the World Council of Churches, Christian Churches Together, World Alliance of Reformed Churches, and some parts of the denomination belong to the National Association of Evangelicals, the Canadian Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
The Reformed Church confesses several statements of doctrine and faith. These include the historic
Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed; the traditional Reformed Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, and Canons of Dort. As of June 2007, the Belhar Confessionwas provisionally adopted for two years.
Carol Bechtel was elected President of the General Synod in 2008. The general secretary is [http://www.rca.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?&pid=2549&srcid=1455 Wesley Granberg-Michaelson] , installed by the General Synod in 1994. The church is ordered by the Constitution of the Reformed Church in America, consisting of The Liturgy, The Government, and The Standards of Unity. The Government, along with The Formularies and The By-Laws of General Synod are published annually in a volume known as [http://www.rca.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?&pid=1987&srcid=2054 The Book of Church Order] .
It is the oldest non-
Anglican Protestantchurch with a continuous ministry and also the oldest corporation in North America. The early Dutch settlers in New Netherlandheld informal meetings for worship until Jonas Michaeliusorganized a congregation in New Amsterdamin 1628, called the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church.
The Reformed Church was the established church of New Netherland. Although the British captured the colony in
1664, all RCA ministers were still trained in the Netherlandsunder the auspices of the denominational classis of Amsterdam, and services in the Reformed Church remained in the Dutch languageuntil 1764. (Dutch language use faded thereafter until the new wave of Dutch immigration in the mid-19th century, which prompted a temporary revival of it.) In 1747the denomination gave permission to form an assembly in America, which in 1754declared itself independent of the classis of Amsterdam. This American classis secured a charter in 1766for Queens College (now Rutgers University) in New Jersey. The appointment in 1784of John Henry Livingstonas professor of theology marked the beginning of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary. In 1792, a formal constitution was adopted; in 1794the Reformed Church held its first general synod; and in 1867formally adopted the name "Reformed Church in America".
In the nineteenth century, in New York and New Jersey, the descendents of the original Dutch settlers struggled to preserve their European standards and traditions, while developing a taste for revivalism and an American identity.
The church embraced many of the historic colonial churches of
New Yorkand New Jersey, the denominational stronghold; fresh immigration from the Netherlandsin the mid-19th century led to the development of the church in the Midwest. Hope Collegeand Western Theological Seminarywere founded in Holland, Michigan, Central Collegeat Pella, Iowa, and Northwestern College at Orange City, Iowa. In the 1857 Secession, a group of Dutch settlers in Michigan led by Gijsbert Haanseparated from the Reformed Church and organized the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and other churches followed. In 1882 another group of churches left for the CRCNA, mirroring developments in the church in the Netherlands. In the post-World War II years the church expanded in Canada, which was the destination of a large group of Dutch emigrants. Between 1949and 1958the church opened 120 churches among non-Dutch suburban communities.
The RCA maintains a relationship of
full communionwith the Presbyterian Church (USA), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Americaand the United Church of Christthrough a document known as the " Formula of Agreement". The relationship between the United Church of Christand the RCA has been the subject of a certain amount of controversy within the RCA, particularly surrounding positions that members of the UCC leadership have taken regarding homosexuality. The two denominations undertook a dialogue and in 1999 produced a document [http://images.rca.org/docs/synod/homosexuality/1999uccdialogue.pdf discussing their differences] (PDF). The RCA's 2006 General Synod voted to allow the exchange of ministers with the Christian Reformed Church in North America. This action must be submitted to the RCA's classes for their approval before it can become effective.
* [http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9194793 John S. Badeau] , ambassador to Egypt for President
John F. Kennedy
Everett Dirksen, senator
B.D. Dykstra, writer and educator
Peter Hoekstra, Congressman
Kyle Korver, professional basketball player in the NBA
A. J. Muste, writer, professor, pacifist
Norman Vincent Peale, preacher
Theodore Roosevelt, president
Marge Roukema, Congresswoman, a convert from Roman Catholicism
Philip Schuyler, a leader of the American Revolution
Robert Schuller, preacher
Martin Van Buren, president
RCA colleges and seminaries
Central College, Pella, Iowa
Hope College, Holland, Michigan
Orange City, Iowa
Seminaries [ [http://www.rca.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=425&srcid=2225 RCA - About Us: Educational Institutions ] ]
New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, New Jersey
Western Theological Seminary, Holland, Michigan
Certification Agencies [ [http://www.rca.org/NETCOMMUNITY/Page.aspx?pid=1999&srcid=2225 RCA - MFCA: Ministerial Formation Certification Agency ] ]
*For students who do not attend or receive their Master of Divinity degree from one of the two seminaries operated by the Reformed Church in America, they are certified and credentialed for ministry in the Reformed Church in America through the "Ministerial Formation Certification Agency", Paramount, California
American Reformed Mission
Dutch Reformed Church
Christian Reformed Church in North America
*M. G. Hansen, The Reformed Church in the Netherlands, 1340–1840 (1884)
*J. J. Birch, The Pioneering Church in the Mohawk Valley (1955)
*F. H. Fabend, Zion on the Hudson: Dutch New York and New Jersey in the Age of Revivals (2000)
*Minutes of General Synod (Various Years)
* [http://www.rca.org RCA official site]
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