Comment Stream

Bonnie Nicholas December 14, 2018

I have also listened to two of the segments on NPR Michigan Radio - a part of their series entitled "Believed". It's very good, and so insightful in answering the question of how could this have gone on, hidden fo so long? A great fear of anyone who has survived sexual abuse is, who will believe me? And those fears are well-founded, as it is our natural tendency to not believe. It's much easier to refuse to believe that these kinds of allegations are true. However, research shows that well over 90% are in fact true. It takes effort to shift our paradigm to truly listen, and to believe. 

Mary Remein December 14, 2018

The forces that motivate immigrants to leave a country are more varied than indicated in the article.  One aspect that makes the current immigration situation at our southern border a 'crisis' is the sheer number of immigrants coming en masse in a caravan and expecting immediate entry to the U.S.  How did thousands of people organize themselves into a caravan to travel through multiple countries to reach the U.S. border?  Why did they expect to enter en masse to the U.S.?  An attorney with experience in the Honduran judicial system shared his perspective with me recently that presents a possible explanation.  The caravan is an effort organized in part by a Honduran political party, currently out of power, to draw attention to the failed government of the Honduran political power currently in power for the purpose of ousting the party in power; and, sadly, both of these political powers are corrupt.  Prayer against those who exploit the disadvantaged and prayer/financial support for those seeking positive change in Honduras are essential.     

Kris VanEngen December 13, 2018

Check out in the link below another explanation of the legality of seeking asylum. It’s not really a two sided thing it just is what it is, it’s legal. It isn’t a perfect system but for people who want to plead asylum this is the system we have. I have a lot of respect for people who are making this journey bc not only are they pushing for a better life for themselves they’re also doing much of the work of putting the plight of their home country on our national radar. If no one was arriving at our border seeking asylum I doubt we would be talking about addressing root causes—which is also important.

Jane Elzinga December 13, 2018

Thank you for letting us know about Rachel Denhollander's upcoming event at Calvin College.

While only indirectly related to the Murray article, I would also like to pass on another resource regarding abuse and the response to it. Michigan Radio has produced an outstanding podcast titled Believed. "Believed is a story of survivors finding their power in a cultural moment when people are coming to understand how important that is. It’s an inside look at how a team of women — a detective, a prosecutor, and an army of survivors — won justice in one of the largest serial sexual abuse cases in U.S. history. It’s also an unnerving exploration of how even well-meaning adults can fail to believe" (Michigan Radio). You can access it at Ms. Denhollander is featured as are other courageous women. I highly recommend listening to all the episodes beginning with number one.

Eric also provides a link to a Network article, Justice, Grace, and Worth: Rachael Denhollander's Victim Impact Statement, I believe it is worth the read. This article contains a link to Ms. Denhollander's complete witness impact statement. Her passion for justice and her demonstration of her faith radiates hope and God's grace.  Here is the link to a video of Ms. Denhollander's victim impact statement:


Kris VanEngen December 13, 2018

I think this fits with a gospel centered denomination because people at the Southern border who arrive and ask for asylum are obeying the law and yet they are being cast as criminals. 

Aaron De Boer December 13, 2018


You state that; "Immigration has always been based on the same stories—hardworking ambitious people pulling up stakes for new opportunities and/or people fleeing danger and invigorating new communities when they arrive."

It is elementary English composition to avoid the use of the adverb; always. 

This negates the reality of thousands and thousands of immigrant individuals over the last two centuries who came to America and undertook individual, gang, and organized criminal enterprises.

All of this is rather petty compared to your disregard for the Scriptures in generically labeling immigration as; "so close to God's heart".  The Biblical phrase, after God's own heart, (I Sam 13 & Acts 13) is applied to obedience, reverence, humility, and most of all, repentance.  The individuals gathering en masse at the United States Southern border, do not to me, exhibit these characteristics.  And, if their mobilization were in fact manipulated for political purposes, neither do those manipulators exhibit a closeness to God's own heart.  I Peter chapter 2 teaches us the principles of submission in every sphere, this is not only dear to the heart of God, it is an injunction from Him, regardless of the authority over us.

Secondary to the Scriptures are the reformed confessions of our church.  I would urge you to confer the Belgic Confession Article 36 for a summary of what Scripture teaches about the authority of government.  


I'm puzzled as to why this sort of opine is beng promoted by a gospel centered, confessional denomination. 

Scott DeVries December 13, 2018

Thanks for the comments David! 

I agree that thinking of committees as "small groups" is very helpful - sets a tone of being there for edification (of self and others) rather than for business.

And I love that you're dedicating more time to prayer. That was a change we had begun in one of my churches - though my approach was to build in prayer time in the middle of the meeting. I put the significant discussions at the beginning and then we would pray over them. After several months of stopping in the middle of our meetings to pray I felt it was still awkward, so I asked my council if I should stop forcing that on them. They agreed it was awkward, but told me not to stop - it was important enough that they wanted to stick with it until it became natural. 

Scott DeVries December 13, 2018

Thanks Dave - great reflection. I have had very similar feelings since leaving the role of regular preaching.

Another part of it for me has been the realization that one of the "unfortunate" realities of preaching is that the preacher doesn't get to choose when to preach and to whom. Even when I was in a co-pastorate it wasn 't like I could just tell my co- pastor one week - "hey, I've got a sermon burning in me, can I go on instead of you?" (He probably would have been fine with it, but the rest of the service would have been upended!) And I certainly couldn't get to Friday night on my week to preach and tell him that I really wasn't "feeling it" this week, would he mind filling in? And what about all of the week days when I was just burning to gather my congregation with some new element of God's great news that I had discovered? By Sunday that same news was several days old for me and at least a little of the passion had worn off. 

Which is all just to say that sometimes preaching is work, and even though it's wonderful work, it can be exhausting. It's a relief sometimes to allow others to do that work, and yet I jump at the chance to pick up that work again for a week or two and give another preacher time to rest.

Andrew Aukema December 13, 2018

During Advent we sing songs about Jesus' second coming:

   Sing to the King (LUYH 474)

   Love Divine, All Loves Excelling (LUYH 351)...perhaps my favorite hymn

   Soon and Very Soon (LUYH 482); we do this every year as the last song on the 4th Sunday of Advent

During our Candlelight Service we'll be having a few musicians sing some songs from the album "In the Town of David" by Ordinary Time.  And we've had kids sing songs from the "Waiting Songs" album by Rain for Roots.

Harry Boessenkool December 13, 2018

I agree with August. I do follow another routine during the year though. I enter the charity number of the organization that is asking for the funds into the CRA website. It provides lots of detail on how much money is spent on marketing, advertising and how much the top people get paid.  My personal rule of thumb is that if marketing and  administration exceed 10% of the revenue collected, the organization is very inefficient.  You would be surprised how may organizations are in the 20-40% bracket!

As a  total aside.... I can (and do) also check on churches and church organizations. That also is very revealing.

Lloyd Hemstreet December 13, 2018

Seeing Rachel speak this past summer, was one of the things that inspired me to get involved in the work of Safe Church. I would highly recommend catching her for the January series, to all that might be able to.

Lloyd Hemstreet December 13, 2018

Hi Jane, I'm glad to hear that the article was a blessing to you.

As to the "public shame" comment, I think we are saying the same thing. Doug was talking about how we deal with sin behind closed doors, and one of the reasons for that is to avoid shaming the offender. But when we do so, I would argue that it is not healthier for the sinner, nor does it serve as the deterrent to others that the case should be (increasing their certainty that they too would be caught / exposed, if they fall into a similar sin). Yes, care for the victim may be a valid reason to maintain secrecy in some situations, and so it must be dealt with on a case by case basis. But I would agree with Doug, that we likely default to private proceedings too often.

As for the "doctrine," I was just generally referencing the Calvinist/Reformed understanding of salvation, namely that we are not able to save ourselves, and that we rely upon the work of God, granting repentance, as He draws us onto Himself. Such salvation is supernatural in nature, and will cross any earthly barrier, even shame and hard feelings from the past, to restore a sinner to God and His people.

Eric Kas December 13, 2018

Thanks for the article Lloyd! So thankful for all the voices that are continuing to give more perspective on these issues. While the article doesn't mention "abuse" specifically it does go to lengths about naming why and how some churches end up covering for their leaders when there is misconduct, I think we could probably assume misconduct/abuse is within the broader term of sin.

I especially like how the Prof. Murray gives perspective of the victim in these situations. Often victims are left uncared for, unbelieved and as a result isolated... even if there is no specific "cover up" it may feel like it to them... 

Rachel Denhollander has been really helpful to so many churches on this issue (and she'll be sharing at January Series on the 22nd - info on that at this link here)

As she said after giving her victim impact statement (link to article):

"My advocacy for sexual assault victims, something I cherished, cost me my church and our closest friends three weeks before I filed my police report. I was left alone and isolated. And far worse, it was impacted because when I came out, my sexual assault was wielded like a weapon against me.... Often by those who should have been the first to support and help, and I couldn't even do what I loved best, which was to reach out to others."

Jane Elzinga December 13, 2018

Mr. Hemstreet: Thank you for your comments on this topic. I found Professor Murray's article extremely insightful and informative. It gave me a greater knowledge of a topic I have been very curious about.

I am perplexed, though, regarding your statement "those that are guilty of sin should be publicly shamed." You mention that doing so would serve as a "warning to others." In reality, "research underscores the more significant role that certainty plays in deterrence than severity — it is the certainty of being caught that deters a person from committing crime, not the fear of being punished or the severity of the punishment" ("Five Things About Deterrence." National Institute of Justice, 6 June 2016, But of more importance is the fact that publicly shaming a sinner may cause harm to a victim if one is involved. Even if the victim would remain unnamed, members of a church could easily "connect the dots" to discover who the victim is. A better warning to others might be the knowledge that the church takes abuse seriously and that the "Christians in positions of power there examine themselves as they make decisions and judgments going forwards" (Murray).

Also, not steeped in church doctrine, I am curious about the doctrine you refer to that states that repentance "if and when it is given, it will easily overcome the barrier of public shame." What particular doctrine is that?

It is my prayer that we be the kind of church God is calling us to be; a church that learns lessons, grows through healing … and demonstrates the love of Christ.

Ron DeVries December 13, 2018

Thanks for those three steps Karen. I pray churches can use them every Sunday.

posted in : 1,000,000 or a Name
Karen DeBoer December 13, 2018

Thanks for sharing what you learned at the conference, Ron. Thanks also for the reminder to all of us to brighten our eyes and welcome the teens and young adults in our midst this Christmas, particularly those who may be returning to church for the holiday for a variety of reasons. I once saw a young adult at my church extend exactly that kind of welcome to another young adult who was back from university. He did it in the three simple steps described here.  I hope those steps are repeated in churches across North America this year:)

posted in : 1,000,000 or a Name
Lloyd Hemstreet December 13, 2018

Hi Eric, thanks for your comment and challenge. Honestly, I was not intentionally trying to make any such broad statement, to infer that most are getting it wrong. But, as Professor Murray said, we often only hear about the failures, and so that could certainly lead to the appearance that churches fail to act when confronted with these issues. Also, I think Doug's comment above, regarding our tendency to handle all discipline behind closed doors, also plays a roll here. So, if the churches handling it well all do so in secret, and the churches that fail are the only ones we hear of, it is understandable that things might appear on a surface level, different than what is actually taking place in practice. But I was not trying to make any such charge, just make the case that all of our churches should read and consider what Professor Murray wrote.

Disability Concerns December 13, 2018

Syd, Thanks for these wise words. Marriages of pastor and spouse also face severe stress when the pastor experiences a mental health crisis. Unlike a physical illness, this form of illness often brings fear, stigma, and a potential for severe misunderstanding not only between spouses, but with the entire congregation. Disability Concerns created a resource to assist pastors, their families, and congregations in this difficult situation: Guide for Clergy Leave of Absence for Mental Health Reasons. We hope and pray it will be helpful for clergy marriages as well as for their congregations. 

Lloyd Hemstreet December 13, 2018

Thanks for the comment Doug. I'm unsure that disciplining behind closed doors / in executive session, encourages anyone to sin in this way. But, I agree that it is likely used too often. We have such a high value on privacy, and individual rights, that it undoubtedly hurts our ability to work together as a body. In church discipline, names should be named, and those that are guilty of sin should be publicly shamed, as a warning to others. We pretend that it is out of love for the sinner, that we don't want to create a barrier for their return. But when we do so, we deny our own doctrine, that repentance is a supernatural gift from God, and if and when it is given, it will easily overcome the barrier of public shame. Even in our discipline, we can have a form of Godliness, but be denying the power there of.

Richard Bodini December 12, 2018

Thanks for your comments Keith.

Yes. Yes. Yes. A missional church active in every sphere of life. Living for Jesus in word and deed.

I have the same hope as you. And many more. 

I anticipate seeing the Spirit at work in a powerful and abundant fashion in Edmonton next May.

Blessings on the journey.  

Eric Van Dyken December 12, 2018

Hi Lloyd.  Lots of wisdom there from Professor Murray.  I will push back against your characterization that "our default appears more often, to be doing nothing."  I don't think you can rightly make that judgment, and Professor Murray seems to disagree substantially with you in the article that you posted:

"Fifth, many (I hope most) churches do the right thing. We only hear of the bad examples and the media only expose the cover-ups (as they should). However, there are many Christians who bravely and courageously stand up against evil and protect the innocent."

The answer to concerns about abuse cover-up is not to broadly impugn our brothers and sisters in Christ without warrant, lest we fall into sin ourselves by breaking the ninth commandment. 


Doug Vande Griend December 12, 2018

What a great article, Lloyd.  Murray pretty much covers the gamut, which is excellent (and helpful).  As he says, "there is no one reason that explains everybody."  Having spent a good many years as a practicing attorney, I can echo that (whether as to sins in church or otherwise).  Which is why each case must be approached and evaluated without presuming it is "like that other case a few years ago."

One thing I would particularly point out is this.  I think we, including in the CRC, too often resolve such matters "behind closed doors."  Of course, we call it by a more palatable expression, like "executive session."  I realize that sometimes "executive session" is really the better way to deal with a sin, but I think we overdo it.  And the habit of doing it tends to encourage those would commit violations.  The logic is this: hey, even if I get caught, the matter would be kept and dealt with behind closed doors. 

Thanks for the link Lloyd!


Stanley & Monica Groothof December 12, 2018

Trinity CRC Rock Valley (IA) held a blue Christmas service just this past Sunday evening. It involved a candle lighting and times of reflection. I provided a meditation on Mt 2:16-18 (Herod's murder of the boys in Bethlehem and the lament from Jer 31:15) and Pr 25:20 (about not singing songs to a heavy heart), talking about how there's a place for lament in this season. Contact me if you'd like the order of worship or other details. ~Stanley

Bonnie Nicholas December 12, 2018

This is an extremely helpful article. Thanks for posting!


Fronse Pellebon Smith December 12, 2018

Rhetoric is essential in discourse. Thus the same word(s)’ meanings change from decade to decade; group to group. Parsing words spurs debate and disagreement.

Each decade our word-meanings change. Unfortunately our Peoples are going through a decade of polarization over Word meaning, context and culture.

Our national house is being struck by lightning: hate, angst, fear and violence fueled by words.

it is my prayer we toughen our spirits, moving past parsing words. Point counterpoint is not brining us closer. With toughened spirits we can draw nearer to the Peace of Christ...together.

Catherine Kruger December 12, 2018

Cragmor CRC (Colorado Springs, CO) is holding its first Blue Christmas service the evening of December 20. We haven't quite finished up the service order, but it's being based on


Kris VanEngen December 12, 2018

Thank you for your thoughts, Susan. Applying for asylum is legal. My interest in writing this article was to process the idea that people who are doing things the right way are still characterized as criminal. I'm not totally sure how we got to this point but I thought it's worth reflecting on. The U.S. immigration website has a pamphlet that describes the steps for asylum in the same ways as they are described in the Vox article:

From the website...

What is asylum?
Asylum is a form of protection from removal to a country of 1 feared persecution that allows an eligible refugee to remain in
the United States and eventually to become a lawful permanent

Who can apply for asylum?

Non-U.S. citizens who are physically present in or arrive in the
United States, whether or not at a designated port of arrival,
may apply.

When must I apply for asylum?

Generally you must apply for asylum within one year of your
last arrival into the United States. Exceptions may apply such as
(1) changed circumstances in your home country that affect
your eligibility or (2) extraordinary circumstances related to
your lateness in filing.

Can I apply for asylum if I am here illegally?
Yes. You may apply regardless of your immigration status as
long as you file your application within one year of your last
arrival or demonstrate that you are eligible for an exception to
that rule

Susan Meyers December 12, 2018

     The author's statement that the Trump policy is based on legal immigration is based upon a biased source and taken as truth. It's a common logical error to conflate legal and illegal immigration. We are not against legal immigration and the restrictions that are put into place to provide for an orderly increase in our population.

     There's certainly another viewpoint here. To oppose the illegal entry of persons into the country is not racist. The current administration is focused on the entrance of citizens of other countries, uninvited. The author also posits that the people who come here are hard-working individuals fleeing violence in their own countries. Not all entrants fit this model. Those that come uninvited are breaking the law. There are legal ways to enter and stay at least temporarily in the U.S. All such petitions are sent prior to entering the U.S., not after finding a way to enter illegally.

     Can a Christian promote actions that are illegal? Yes the New Testament encourages hospitality. Every human being is precious and should be treated with love an dignity. Helping them break the law doesn't fall under the hospitality supported by the Bible.

Mary Remein December 12, 2018

Another way to shed light on the plight of those leaving central American countries is to listen more to  the TRUTH from Christian leaders in those countries and listen less to politically motivated U.S. media and politicians.    In Honduras, the Associations for a More Just Society (AJS) has been working for over 20 years to identify and eliminate corruption in Honduran education, police, and other systems.  Kurt Ver Beek, one of the founders of AJS, says that no matter what the U.S. does with its own immigration policy, "If things remain terrible [in Central America], the people are going to keep coming."  Another organization, the Micah Project, provides a Christian home for boys on the streets.  Founder, Michael Miller hopes that Christians in the U. S. will remember the value of the longer-term work of spiritual renewal and Christ-centered ministry based in Central America.  He says, "I think the American church has an untapped potential to help Hondurans and Central Americans tap into another kind of life.  It all starts with spiritual life".  The quotes here from Ver Beek and Miller come from a recent article in World Magazine.   Another example of Christian response to the root problems of poverty and suffering is the work of long-term Resonate missionary, Caspar Geisterfer, who has a very effective ministry sponsoring clubs for at-risk youth in Honduras. Compassion International is a Christ-centered, child-focused, Church based ministry that currently sponsors 59,000 children in Honduras. We have much to learn from the  work and perspective of these Christian leaders and organizations.         

Doug Vande Griend December 11, 2018

Good post and video.  The "science" of helping needs to be taught.  It's a relatively new science and is somewhat counter-intuitive to people's instincts for how they can best help.

Gini Campbell December 11, 2018

I think it depends on the size of the church whether the treasurer is on staff or not. In a large church it makes sense to be a staff person.

Drew Sweetman December 11, 2018

Yes. Published by Getty Music.  Was part of the song packet distributed at the Getty Sing! Conference in September.

David Lundberg December 11, 2018

Thank you for this post; it was encouraging. I have led, and participated on, committees in churches for 45 years. I have been bored to tears, and inspired beyond measure. There is something wrong when we see committee work as a necessary "evil" in the life of the congregation. 

The committee that I currently lead recently made two changes that are helping us to see our work differently:

1.  I see our committee as really a form of a small group, where the individual needs of the members need not be ignored. In fact, they need to be acknowledged openly and prayed for and celebrated, and:

2.  We realized that the role of prayer in the committee meeting was being trivialized. The prayer to open our meetings was treated more like a call to order than communication with the Creator of the universe. We have begun dedicating the last half hour (or more) of a two-hour meeting to praying together. The benefits (blessings, actually) of doing that are many...

  -- Greater unity among committee members is achieved;

  -- Seeking and experiencing the moving of the Holy Spirit in not only our areas of responsibility, but for the congregation as a whole;

  -- It turns the table from asking God to bless our work and agenda to seeking the Lord's will for the ministries for which we are responsible.   

Making these changes has just begun, but it is having the impact of changing what is thought of necessary "business" to an attitude of "adventure" of our common ministry, and what God is doing.

I am interested in what others experiences are in re-imagining what the business of the church can look like when we let God lead the way.







Michele Gyselinck December 11, 2018

Glad to hear it,Terry.  Helping people like Jack and others with mental illnesses gives meaning to what I endured back then.  Now that I'm no longer in pain I can see what they're going through with perspective.  It seems that my post has helped even people who don't have a mental illness.  Which is great too.

Michele Gyselinck December 11, 2018

Glad to hear it,Terry.  Helping people like Jack and others with mental illnesses gives meaning to what I endured back then.  Now that I'm no longer in pain I can see what they're going through with perspective.  It seems that my post has helped even people who don't have a mental illness.  Which is great too.

David Apple December 11, 2018

Greetings, all. I am a former CRC-er, serving in the PCA since 1988. At Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, we have provided Christian hospitality to our downtown homeless neighbors for decades. While we have no parking lot (the church was established in 1847), there have been other turf battles, use of our steps as a bathroom, panhandling, prostitution, and more. Over the years, however, we have gained the trust of the homeless community by establishing relationships and offering hope. Much of our story is contained in the book, “Not Just a Soup Kitchen: How Mercy Ministry in the Local Church Transforms Us All” 

Ruth Ann Schuringa December 11, 2018

isn't that by Matt Boswell?  

Keith Knight December 11, 2018

Greetings, Richard.

The Canadian Ministry gatherings are always great events. That's where I fell in love. With the Church, I mean. It is as much a social event as it is a spiritual event.

As I look at the Canadian cultural landscape and the growing absence of Christ and faith, I hope that the next National Gathering has more of a Kingdom focus. How does -- and should -- the CRC impact, shape, and transform the Canadian culture? How do classes and congregations bring Christ into the communities they serve?

These gatherings -- as wonderful as they are -- need to bring Christ to the nation. And while there is considerable merit in having CRC types serving on various interdenominational boards and committees, there is a passionate need to bring the Kingdom into the hearts of our pew-sitters.

In my role with the Canadian Christian Business Federation, thousands of Christian men and women who are involved in business or the professions are being regularly challenged to reflect Christ in the marketplace. That involves, at minimum, bringing a culture of integrity to those in business.

Imagine the thousands of CRC folk across the country who focus on living lives of integrity, daring to share the gospel with neighbors and co-workers. Thousands of men, women and children who dare to wear the name of Christ on their sleeves ... figuratively, of course.

My hope for the National Gathering is that it becomes a place where action speaks louder than words; where the Kingdom is proclaimed instead of celebrating our fine organizational structure.


Ron Vanden Brink December 11, 2018


When dealing with these kinds of situations I'd also suggest keeping some basic principles in mind (and perhaps developing policies based on the principles). 

I've found that the following can provide a very helpful start point.  (Adapted from The Oath for Compassionate Service by Robert Lupton in his book “Toxic Charity” p. 128)

  2. Never do for the others what they can do for themselves;
  3. Limit one-way giving to emergencies;  (this is an important principle of learning to Help Without Hurting)
  4. Strive to empower the materially poor through employment, lending, and investing, using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements;
  5. Keep your self-interest secondary to the needs of those being served;
  6. Listen closely to those you seek to help;
  7. Above all, do no harm
Drew Sweetman December 11, 2018

"Sing We the Song of Emmanuel" - new song put out by Getty Music.  Great song!

Terry DeYoung December 11, 2018

I appreciate you and what you've shared here, Michele. Thank you for your ministry to Jack and to so many of us who feel lost and inadequate in know how to support friends who live with mental health challenges. Your post is helpful to me.

Monika Grasley December 11, 2018

Mavis, thank you for coordinating a conversation around this. I am looking forward to see what happens next :) 

As you know I put together a little blog post afterwards and have it below. 



Monika Grasley

LifeLine CDC 

209 201-2905



Ken Libolt December 11, 2018

Thank You Ronald for your suggestion! That sounds like a great solution to address all the concerns of what the church prefers! Incidentally, I didn't lose anything that would require a win/win scenario.I was able to worship the Lord through Lords supper administered by Elders who were consecrated by the Lord to help a sick person! I think , unfortunately it didn’t meet some people’s standards, Cedric is not incorrect either, Co55 does recommend a church ordained person administer the Sacrament! I do appreciate your suggestion even though I don’t think this is a issue! Thx

Ronald VanAuken December 10, 2018

While a deviation from the question as presented, perhaps it is time that we revisit the matter of the Lord’s Supper. Specifically, whether we trace its roots to Passover or a common meal, it was not a priest who “administered” it but rather the head of the household or the host. Along with other practices, over time these became the prerogative of the priest; but it was not originally so. While the Reformation addressed a number of issues, this is one that it did not touch on, at least in terms of “reforming” it and bringing it back to the practice of the apostolic church.


As an extension of my previous comment, and I think I am in concert with brother DeMoor here, perhaps if the ordained minister administered it that Elders or even others could take some of the wine/grape juice and bread/wafers to shut-ins and others. This would simply be a distribution to those not present and not as a separate celebration distinct from that of the gathered congregation. Might this not be an “everybody wins” response?

Ken Libolt December 10, 2018

Thanks Cedric for your response but I don’t think you understand! It’s not my responsibility to make sure that the Elders have approval from the classis. Especially if it’s not a farce! They aren’t trying to by pass the rules just help out a sick person. You don’t have a lot of extra energy to make sure your Pastors, elders are doing it correctly and going to Classis for approval! I didn’t go against Co55 either, I never knew there was a rule like this nor do I think it’s necessary for my journey with the Lord! I think our church at times puts more thought about the logistics of worship than the act itself! Thanks anyway Cedric, I know your just trying to do something that’s important to you!

Amy Vander Vliet December 10, 2018

While a different name, the past few years we've held a "Longest Night" service that has a similar feel/intent. It's traditionally been on the winter solstice (the literal longest night), but we've moved it up this year because of scheduling challenges.

April Fiet December 10, 2018

A church in my community hosts the service, and clergy from other churches participate. The service is open to the whole community. As a pastor, I am very grateful for services like this which make space for people to hold their grief into the light. 

Cedric Parsels December 10, 2018

   I do not understand why what I have suggested is not practical. If a church has people who are shut-in and they want their elders to be able to take the Lord's Supper to those people, then they should seek classis's authorization for the elders to do that. It would probably take a total of 3 minutes (if that!) to accomplish at a classis meeting.

   Your argument for deliberately going against C.O. Art. 55 seems to be built on a logical fallacy called "Appeal to Emotion." It does not follow from the fact that you were deeply moved by what the elders did that what they did was in good order (cf. 1 Cor. 14:40). 

I do not think that the celebration of the Lord's Supper with you was a farce, but I do think that the elders should have known and should have done better.      

Ken Libolt December 9, 2018

What you say about the church policy may be true but it is not practical or necessary to provide the shut ins the privilege of celebrating the sacrament. I am one of those shut ins! My pastor does not visit me so some elders came to celebrate the sacrament with me. They didn’t have approval from CO 55! Are you telling me that it was a farce? I enjoyed and worshiped with tears! It’s time to stop thinking about church rules and worship without limitations! Thx