The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church in North America met on February 25 and 26, 2016, at the denominational offices in Grand Rapids, Mich. During this meeting the Board:
- Recommended that Synod 2016 endorse an affiliation process for churches and pastors wishing to come into the Christian Reformed Church. The proposed process includes a get-acquainted phase, followed by mentoring and orientation, leading to formal affiliation.
- Received and endorsed the report of the Liturgical Forms Committee and recommended it to synod for adoption. The committee developed a series of forms to be used for communion, baptism, profession of faith, welcome of new members, and ordination.
- Received the report of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and sent it on to synod. The report describes how the initiatives of the Diversity in Leadership Planning Group are being implemented, and recommends ways to ensure that this work is carried forward.
- Also received a report on the diversity of representation on denominational boards in 2015-2016. Of 200 members, 65 (33%) are women and 36 (18%) are people of color. This reflects an increase of 1% for women and a decrease of 0.5% for people of color over the previous year.
- Welcomed Ms. Ashley G. Bootsma and Ms. Youri Lee as young adult representatives on the Board of Trustees.
- Received updates on the national and regional Gatherings to be held during 2016. To date, 129 persons have registered and a $10,000 grant has been received for the Canadian Gathering, to be held May 6-8 in Waterloo, Ontario. “Engage 2016: A Multiethnic Gathering” – one of two regional Gatherings planned in the United States – will be held in Grand Rapids just prior to Synod 2016.
- Recommended that Synod 2016 adopt the proposal for a Synod Review Task Force, with a mandate to: “research, examine and review the principles, practices and functions of synod; recommend changes and improvements that do not require amendments to the Church Order for implementation; and propose any Church Order changes for study and adoption by a subsequent synod.”
- Appointed ethnic advisers, women advisers and young adult representatives to serve at Synod 2016. Synod 2015 reinstated the practice of appointing women advisers whenever there are fewer than 25 women delegates at synod.
- Received an update on the search for a new editor for The Banner. The Board heard that the search committee was very pleased with the diversity of candidates. Final interviews are scheduled for early March and the committee anticipates presenting a candidate to the Board in May for recommendation to synod. Board members also heard that 2016 marks the 150th anniversary of The Banner.
- Recommended a report on Church Planting and Affiliation Outside of North America to synod for adoption. The report notes both the risks and opportunities of such endeavors and recommends the “utmost caution and care” in undertaking them.
- Adopted a revised and updated Crisis Management Policy for denominational agencies and personnel, particularly those who serve in places where political conflict, natural disasters, terror and terrorism are a real and present danger.
- Endorsed changing from “Five Streams” to “Our Calling” as a way of understanding and describing the CRC’s denominational ministries. They are: Faith Formation; Global Mission; Gospel Proclamation and Worship; Mercy and Justice; and Servant Leadership. The new terminology is part of a sequence that includes statements of faith, mission, vision, and the new ministry plan. For more information, see crcna.org/welcome/our-vision-our-mission-our-calling.
- Heard that the CRC is creating a new digital library that will offer CRC members and churches free online access to a wide array of books and other resources produced by Faith Alive Christian Resources, as well as a discount on printed materials. This is made possible by Ministry Shares. For more information and to sign up, visit crcna.org.
- Recommended to synod that the name of Pastor-Church Relations be changed to Pastor-Church Resources, to better reflect the changing nature of its ministry.
- Heard that while Ministry Shares receipts are running at about 98.4 percent of the amount budgeted for the current year, there was a reduction of eight percent in the budget for anticipated Ministry Shares income. Also heard that the exchange rate for Canadian vs. U.S. dollars is affecting this income.
- Appointed Ms. Embiny Pearl/McDonald to the Canadian Aboriginal Ministry Committee and Rev. Timothy Wood to the board of KAIROS, a Canadian ecumenical organization.
- Affirmed a $2.1 million renovation and expansion of the CRC’s offices in Burlington, Ontario.
- Decided to spend time at its May meeting in strategic discussion on the topics of how the church can be a place of grace and healing in truth and love; and how the CRC is doing at serving the local church, especially in light of the ministry plan and the new work of Congregational Services (formerly Specialized Ministries).
- May 5-6, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- September 29 to Oct. 1, 2016, simultaneous board meetings in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- February 23-24, 2017, in Burlington, Ontario
- May 4-5, 2017, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- September 28-30, 2017, in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- February 22-23, 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- May 3-4, 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- September 27-29, 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
For more information, please contact:
Dr. Steven Timmermans, Executive Director