At just 20 years old, you’ve already been to synod twice. What initially prompted your decision to apply to be a Young Adult Representative?
I’ve always been incredibly interested in the process of how decisions are made. The chance to be a part of, and to witness firsthand, the process that has a large effect on the church which I’m a part of was incredibly appealing to me. I wanted to be a voice in the process that would have an effect on me. Also, I was really interested in experiencing all of the different aspects of the CRC in one amazing experience. I decided to apply a second time because I had had a year to experience how things worked, and realized that if I went for a second year I would be able to be more knowledgeable and potentially be able to have a mentoring role for other Young Adult Representatives who would be doing it for the first time.
What surprised you about synod?
One of the most surprising things about Synod was seeing all the different aspects of the CRC, from the different people from all over both the United States and Canada to the huge amount of work and effort put into all the small, yet important, procedures and agencies that the CRC runs and works alongside.
What did you find more valuable, discussion in your Advisory Committee or discussion on the floor of synod?
I found that both were valuable, but for different reasons. In the Advisory Committee, it was an option to dive incredibly deep into the subject matter which was being covered and discussed. We had the opportunity, and mandate, to look at as many options as possible and to try and work through them to achieve the best possible conclusions. The discussion on the Synod floor, which I personally found somewhat more exciting, was valuable mainly because there was the option for so many different opinions and perspectives to come together and be voiced. This made it possible for a thoroughly discussed and well-rounded outcome to be reached.
How was your specific role (Young Adult Rep) viewed by fellow delegates and leaders in the CRC? Was it intimidating to speak to the whole assembly?
I sometimes found it intimidating to be a young adult at all at Synod. While I was incredibly warmly welcomed by so many delegates, I also was constantly encouraged by the delegates and especially the executives who were I think more aware than I was of how difficult it was at times being first 19 (at Calvin) and then 20 (at Central). At Calvin, I was the youngest person on the floor, which was incredibly terrifying, and I think that there was some struggle to be seen as someone who was able to offer an equally intelligent opinion. I mean, there were times where I questioned whether or not I was qualified to give an opinion or perspective when I was surrounded by people who had either had experience as Elders or had gone through seminary and were pastors. I think that the first time that I had to get up in front of the whole assembly at Calvin, it was probably one of the most nerve-racking experiences of my life. But at Synod 2014, I chose to speak in front of the assembled RCA and CRC joint Synod and spoke what I thought needed to be said. While still terrifying, I knew that I had the support of many of the delegates behind me.
The first synod you attended was in Grand Rapids, MI and the second was in Pella, IA. Which location had better food?
Sorry Calvin, but Central had much better food. I mean, there was a fried food station at every single meal and the food was incredibly good at every single meal. On top of that, there were to amazing Dutch bakeries in downtown Pella which were walking distance from Central which had the best Dutch goodies and pastries!
Anything else you’d like to add? Will you be back as a delegate in the future?
I would absolutely love the opportunity in the future to be back at Synod as a delegate! While being a Young Adult Rep was an amazing experience, I would love to someday sit on the floor of Synod as a voting member who was chosen by a classis to represent them. And who knows what other capacities I could be involved with. Synod has by far been one of the best experiences of my life, and there are few things which I would enjoy more than to be able to be involved with than Synod.