July 23, 2013
Christian Reformed Church Councils
Dear Council Members:
Synod 2013 has now become part of the CRC history—news stories have been written and published on the web and in The Banner regarding the work of synod, delegates have made their way home and have begun to report on their personal experiences, and the minutes of synod’s actions are nearing completion for posting and printing. The delegates worked diligently to address significant matters before the assembly brought by the various standing and study committees, as well as ministries and boards of the church. Among these matters were the office of deacon, diversity in leadership, and the concluding report of the Faith Formation Committee. Overtures to synod placed additional matters before the assembly, such as formation of a new classis, religious persecution and liberty, as well as homosexuality and same-sex marriage. To be of assistance to you, our office has gathered the decisions of Synod 2013 that are of special importance for the churches in the attached summary document. Please take time to review these highlights in your upcoming council meeting.
We are grateful for the opportunity at synod to honor and declare those presented as candidates for ministry within the CRC—fifty new candidates were approved! What a blessing to be witness to a standing ovation of the more than 200 delegates and advisers, expressing their sincere gratitude for this commitment to the ministry of the Word. In addition, synod gave special recognition to thirty ministerial retirees. We are grateful for the service of these dedicated servants of the church and wish them God’s grace as they enter a new chapter in their lives.
Worship at synod is always one of the high points. This year was no exception as delegates sang from the new Lift Up Your Hearts hymnal—a joint project of the CRC and RCA. Synod also expressed appreciation to the staff and board members who so faithfully served one of our agencies, Faith Alive Christian Resources—in transition as it is being enfolded into a new faith formation ministry. At the encouragement of the synods of both the CRC and RCA, congregations are asked to “recite in unison Heidelberg Catechism Q. and A. 1 during the primary worship service on Sunday, September 15, 2013” in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism—a gift to the Christian church.
The electronic version of the Acts of Synod 2013 is available on the CRC website. It will be followed by the printed version toward the end of August. The Acts includes a complete record of the decisions of synod.
On behalf of the Christian Reformed Church, I want to extend our sincere thanks to those who served synod as delegates and advisers. These individuals selflessly gave their time and energy for more than a week. The spirit of unity, even in diversity, was evident all around.
In his service,
Joel R. Boot