Spring and Summer 2022:

Upcoming dates and discussion related to the HSR.  The HSR task force shares the following dates as COS discerns its response to the Human Sexuality Report:

May 25 – Because of the very full agenda for synod this year, Synod will begin meeting online to handle preliminary administrative matters, including approval of who is assigned to the advisory committees. Committee #8 will consider the overtures and recommendations related to the HSR.  Please pray for these decisions and the members of these committees.

June 5  – Special Council meeting after the Sunday morning service for presentation of feedback from the COS listening circles to council.  The congregation is invited to stay in the sanctuary to listen.  Because time will be tight and this is a time to listen, there will not be time reserved for public comments or questions.  The task force is exploring alternate ways for the congregation to submit their questions and concerns to the task force and to council.

June 9 – Thursday council meeting to begin discussion about the listening circle feedback.

June 10 – 16 – In person meetings of Synod 2022 of the CRCNA, held at Calvin University.  Dates and times that synod will discuss the HSR are TBD.

June 19 – Sunday Evening there will be a time to gather for song and liturgy following synod and in the midst of our ongoing congregational discernment about the HSR.

June 23 – Council meeting to begin discernment about the next steps for COS to take.

Reading – If interested, the following articles from the CRCNA give additional food for thought on what COS faces in the next few weeks and beyond.  The first recommends that we not focus our worry on synod and responses to overtures and instead focus on our own congregation’s dialog, discernment, and witness, while not losing sight of our other important ministries.  Do Not Worry About Synod | The Network (crcna.org) The second encourages councils to avoid a common recipe for bad decisions – rush, hush, and mush.  Rush, Hush and Mush: 3 Keys to Bad Decisions | The Network (crcna.org)  This article names concerns often shared with the task force, such as “what is council doing?” and “when is council going to get going and do something?”  These are good questions worthy of thoughtful discussion and a lot of prayer.  The HSR task force continues to welcome input from all members of the congregation and from all viewpoints.  We are on this journey together.

Previous events and updates:

November 19, 2021

Following the morning services on November 21: We encourage all our members to consider staying for a GPS session following our morning worship services. Council remains committed to providing hospitable spaces of grace where we cultivate spaces of listening to each other acknowledging our different positions particularly regarding the Human Sexuality Report. Please join us on November 21 at 11.45 am in room 3. There will be a presentation and discussion from council and other COS members. We will talk through the process of how council prepared a response to the CRC’s Human Sexuality Report to be presented to synod 2021. We will review COS’s journey with gender and sexuality, present a brief overview of the HSR, review council’s discernment, hear from staff, prepare for listening circles, and review an overture proposed to be sent to classis and then on to Synod. The content of the overture will be a deeper dive into the science reflected in the overture and council’s response to this.

Revised Listening Circle Dates.

Sign-ups are open for the listening circles for the CRC Synod’s Human Sexuality Report.

The start date for the circles has been pushed back to allow for the training of additional facilitators. The new meeting dates for Sunday circles will be December 12, January 9, 23, February 13, 27. We are grateful for your strong support and interest. Based upon feedback from the interest cards, we will now be offering a Sunday morning Zoom session and a longer Wednesday evening Zoom session that meets on November 24, December 1, 8, 15, 22.

See details about available listening circles here or the sign-up cards on the seats at the Sunday morning worship service. You can also sign up by calling the church office. Please note that middle and high school students who are interested in attending must sign up so we can plan accordingly. We are still looking for additional facilitators. Additional listening circles, including ones that begin after Christmas, may still be added based on interest. The delayed start also accommodates the November 21, 2021 GPS meeting which will talk about COS’s overture to Synod and the role the listening circles play in COS’s journey to date in response to the Human Sexuality Report.

To the members of COS who are LGBTQ, we acknowledge we as a church and a denomination have not served you well. Let us begin our apology with an invitation to please join us. COS asks if you will share your insights and gifts in this process, and we hope someday there will be forgiveness for the hurt, shame, ignorance, or rejection we have caused.

Council affirms to you, beloved congregation, that Council is committed to providing pastoral care to all members of all views. You are welcome to talk to your elders and deacons, who will keep your communications confidential if you prefer. You may contact Pastors Karen Campbell and Andrew Mead directly and confidentially. Andrew.Mead@coscrc.org and Karen.Campbell@coscrc.org. If in dealing with these issues you are facing hurts or struggles individually or as a family that cannot be addressed well in these ways and you also face financial restraints, there is a mental health assistance fund at COS. COS arranged with a variety of mental health providers willing to partner with COS to provide these services. Funding for up to 8 sessions is available. You are welcome to make requests and inquiries through your deacon or elder, or to contact Pastors Andrew and Karen directly. All inquiries and discussions are strictly confidential. Pastor Karen and Andrew are involved only to the extent needed to coordinate the referral because there is a variety of services, and they want to ensure you are paired with resources that best fit your situation.

We look forward to continuing this conversation.

– COS Council

Recommended Reading:   The Human Sexuality Report or the Executive Summary

Session TitleDate
GPS Adult EdNovember 21, 2021
1. Fears and Loves   To introduce the report as well as the intent, ground rules, and primary tools of the group  December 12, 2021   
2. A Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality and Pornography  January 9, 2021  
3. Gender Identity and Homosexuality  January 23, 2022  
4. Confessional Status  February 13, 2022  
5. Next Steps   Including any feedback to CouncilFebruary 27, 2022