RCA leader to speak on Belhar themes

Earl James, coordinator of multiracial initiatives and social justice for the Reformed Church in America (RCA), will visit Northwestern College April 19–21. He will speak on the Belhar Confession, which will become a new standard of unity for the Reformed Church in America, based on recent approval by two-thirds of the denomination’s 46 classes.

James will speak on “Fusing Worship with Justice: An Outcome of the Belhar Confession” in chapel at 10:05 a.m. on Wednesday, April 21. In addition, he will host a discussion of the Belhar on Monday, April 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the DeWitt Music Hall Choir Room (east of Christ Chapel). The public is invited to attend both events.

James was scheduled to speak at Northwestern in February but had to postpone that visit due to illness.

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. Now that two-thirds of the classes have approved it, the 2010 General Synod, meeting in Orange City in June, will officially confirm that vote, adopting the confession as a fourth standard of the denomination. More information about Belhar is at www.rca.org

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.