Denominational leader to speak on Belhar themes

Update (2/6/10): Earl James' campus visit has been postponed due to illness.

Earl James, coordinator of multiracial initiatives and social justice for the Reformed Church in America (RCA), will visit Northwestern College Feb. 8-10. He will speak on the Belhar Confession themes of unity and justice in chapel at 10:05 a.m. on Feb. 8 and at 11:05 a.m. on Feb. 9.

In addition, James will host a discussion of the Belhar Confession on Monday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the DeWitt Music Hall Choir Room (east of Christ Chapel). The public is invited to attend that event as well as the chapel services.

Belhar is a confession of the Christian church in South Africa written out of the struggle against apartheid in the 1980s. The 2009 RCA General Synod voted to adopt the Belhar Confession as a standard of unity. The decision needs to be approved by two-thirds of the RCA’s 46 classes, which will report their votes to the 2010 General Synod in Orange City in June. More information about Belhar is at

Since joining the RCA leadership in 2007, James has been responsible for nurturing the denomination’s commitment to the elimination of institutional racism. He also seeks to encourage the development of multiracial congregations and identify and build resources within the RCA for other social justice initiatives.

James previously directed City Vision Inc., a church and community consulting organization in Grand Rapids, Mich. He also served as executive director of Vinedresser Ministries, director of ministries and communication at Madison Square Christian Reformed Church, and a board member of the National Christian Community Development Association. He has also held various positions in the Michigan Department of Corrections.