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Reformed Church USA holds synod in Mitchell this week

Leadership from the Reformed Church in the United States will converge on Mitchell this week for the 265th annual synod. The synod will be hosted by Grace Reformed Church, 1021 S. Davison St., said the Rev. George Syms, the church's pastor. The e...

Leadership from the Reformed Church in the United States will converge on Mitchell this week for the 265th annual synod.

The synod will be hosted by Grace Reformed Church, 1021 S. Davison St., said the Rev. George Syms, the church's pastor.

The event begins after today's 7 p.m. worship service and will run through Thursday afternoon.

"This is just our annual meeting where everyone gets together," Syms said, "and we're expecting in excess of 120 people -- from California to Pennsylvania, and as far south as Texas and everything in between."

Syms, 57, is a 30-year veteran of the RCUS, and has been pastor at Grace Reformed since 2008. The RCUS, which has about 50 churches nationwide, is small, compared with many larger church organizations, but it has a long history in the United States.

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"During colonial times, the Reformed Church had one of the six largest congregations in the colonies," he said.

Like many churches, the RCUS has endured internal strife over doctrinal issues.

"In the 1930s, the influences of liberalism began to fracture the church, so many of the churches of that time are not in our camp any more," Syms said.

The church that emerged has maintained a conservative core that had its beginnings in the Reformation, Syms said, noting that the synod not deal with issues that have proven divisive in other churches.

"Generally speaking, there will be no big issues that are coming before us," Syms said. "We'll just be doing normal church work, talking about our involvement with foreign missions and things like that, but nothing earth-shaking.

"Because of the stability of our churches, we won't have any outrageous issues to deal with, such as homosexuality in ministry, which is out of accord with the teachings of the Bible," he said. "It's not that we're not compassionate, but we can't condone practicing sin."

The synod will consider ways the church can remain faithful to Scriptures; and faithful to the preaching of the Gospel, "and how we might do a better job of both," he said.

During the week, participants will break into committees to discuss specific church issues. Committee reports will be considered on the synod floor and if necessary, the synod will vote on the topic at hand.

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"These are all issues we deal with annually -- and somehow we make progress," Syms said with a laugh.

The public is welcome at 7 p.m. worship services today and Wednesday. Observers are also welcome to observe, but not to participate in, synod proceedings.

For additional information, call 996-7439.

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