BOT Highlights - September 2012


The Board of Trustees meets three times per year to implement matters assigned by synod and carry out interim functions on behalf of synod (read more). "BOT Highlights" are published following each meeting and distributed to churches by way of the stated clerk of classis. Here's the latest issue.

Grand Rapids, Mich. – The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church in North America met on Sept. 27 to 29 at the Prince Conference Center of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

During this meeting the Board:

  1. In response to the mandate given by Synod 2012, instructed the Office of Pastor-Church Relations to bring back a stronger report regarding the importance of early involvement by CRC ministries in assisting congregations that are experiencing conflict, before tensions have escalated to a breaking point. The revised report is to come to the Board in February 2013.
  2. Recommended that Synod 2013 update the Rules for Synodical Procedure to protect the identities of people who might be harmed if their names were to be disclosed in confidential materials that are brought before synod.
  3. Decided to appoint a task force to review the Judicial Code process in light of the CRC’s statements regarding abuse prevention and restorative justice and report back to the Board with any recommended revisions to the code.
  4. Asked the Board’s Executive Committee to prepare a recommendation for a succession and transition plan for the denomination’s senior leadership and bring it to the February 2013 Board meeting.
  5. Instructed the Executive Director, in consultation with staff, to review and propose a revision to the Public Declaration of Agreement with the Forms of Unity, in light of the newly adopted Covenant for Officebearers and the new status of the Belhar Confession.
  6. Discussed the desire for ethnic diversity among the young adult representatives to synod and set a goal of 25 percent ethnic minority representation in the Board’s appointment of young adult representatives.
  7. Spent an afternoon discussing strategic planning with and providing input to the consultants who are assisting the CRC in reviewing and revising the Ministry Plan for agencies and congregations.
  8. Appointed Mr. Mike Hogeterp, Mr. Mark Charles and Mr. Peter Vander Meulen to the Doctrine of Discovery Task Force mandated by Synod 2012. They are to recommend to the Board additional members to complete the seven- to nine-member task force.
  9. Heard a report from the staff of the Office of Social Justice and Hunger Action (OSJ) about new initiatives and the challenges facing that ministry. After viewing a video about the plight of Indonesian Christians who fled persecution in their country and are seeking asylum in the United States, the Board passed a motion endorsing legislation currently before the U.S. Congress calling for such persons not to be deported before they are given a hearing on the merits of their cases.
  10. Reviewed the status of the suspension imposed by Synod 2012 on Rev. J. Visser of Maranatha CRC in Belleville, Ontario, and noted that steps are still in process that would lead to having the suspension lifted.
  11. Passed resolutions of congratulation to the Institute for Christian Studies on the appointment of Rev. Dr. Thomas Wolthuis and Mrs. Dawn Wolthuis to the position of president and to Dordt College on the appointment of Dr. Eric Hoekstra as its president.
  12. Next meetings:
  • Feb. 21-22, 2013 - Burlington, Ontario
  • May 2-3, 2013 - Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Sept. 26-28, 2013 - simultaneous board meetings in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Feb. 27-28, 2014 – Burlington, Ontario
  • May 1-2, 2014 – Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Sept. 25-27, 2014 - simultaneous board meetings in Grand Rapids, Michigan
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From the report:  "Instructed the Executive Director, in consultation with staff, to review and propose a revision to the Public Declaration of Agreement with the Forms of Unity, in light of the newly adopted Covenant for Officebearers and the new status of the Belhar Confession."  After Synod 2012 carefully reached a compromise so that no one would have to subscribe to the Belhar Confession, is BOT now instructing that the Public Declaration of Agreement that is read at synod is to include the Belhar?  That is what it sounds like.



You are reading too much into the Board’s action, Bill. The BOT is carrying out its mandate by asking for a review in light of the decisions made by Synod 2012. It would recommend to synod any suggested revisions to the Public Declaration of Agreement, or further study, and synod would then make the final decision. 

Thanks, Henry.  My flag went up with the explicit reference to "the new status of the Belhar Confession" in the BOT instruction.  Synod made clear that it did not want the Belhar to be a document that people would have to subscribe to, and referencing it in the Public Declaration of Agreement would suggest at least some level of subscription.

From the report, #8, Appointed Mr. Mike Hogeterp, Mr. Mark Charles and Mr. Peter Vander Meulen to the Doctrine of Discovery Task Force mandated by Synod 2012.

First, could someone tell me what page in the "Acts of Synod" contains this synodical mandate?

Second, could someone describe the goals and essence of the task force? If there is a substantial subscription in the "Acts" that will be sufficient, but I could not find a description in the index or other places in the "Acts" I thought to look.

Thank you.

Article 76, page 806 in the 2012 Acts.  In full:

(The report of Advisory Committee 9 is continued from Article 74.)
Advisory Committee 9, Creation Stewardship, Mr. Lawrence Hoogerhyde, Sr., reporting, presents the following:
Creation Stewardship Task Force
B. Recommendations (continued)
Call to Action
In response to section XI, 1 of the task force’s report regarding the “Doctrine of Discovery” (p. 348), the Advisory Committee recommends:
That synod affirm the necessity for the CRC to examine, better understand, and respond to the “Doctrine of Discovery” and related legal instruments—particularly in their origins, their historical effects, and their continuing effects on indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States.  To that end synod instructs the Board of Trustees to form a small task force with a clear mandate, process, and time frame composed of knowledgeable CRC staff, board members, and appropriate resource persons.  The task force will be expected to keep the church informed throughout its work and to conclude its work with a summary report of its findings and, if appropriate, recommendations to the Board of Trustees and synod
for further action.
Ground: This responds appropriately to the Creation Stewardship Task Force report’s conclusions that, although a deeper understanding of the “Doctrine of Discovery” and related legal instruments could be very helpful in clarifying our cultural attitudes toward caring for creation, the issues raised by the “Doctrine of Discovery” and related instruments cut deeply across the entire spectrum of the church’s life and ministry in Canadian and U.S. society and, therefore, merit a separate effort.