Recently, while Bill Tuininga (CRC pastor in Edmonton, Alberta) was going through his mother’s belongings—after she passed away on December 15, 2014—he discovered a letter written by his grandfather, Hendrik Schoonekamp, in 1939*. This particular letter was not to an individual or family member, but to his church. In it, Mr. Schoonekamp writes about what he believes is, and should be, the proper role and work of deacons...in contrast to how it was viewed and practiced at the time. After I read it--and share it here with Pastor Tuininga's permission--I realized that very little has changed since 1939 when it comes to how we as a denomination recognize and understand the importance, function and role of deacons today. Yet, 76 years ago a humble deacon from Neerlandia, Alberta, clearly expressed his concerns and challenged his church to view the work of deacons as an “integral part of the church’s calling . . . [which] needs to come to full expression.” The letter from Mr. Schoonekamp is attached (originally written in Dutch and translated by Bill's brother-in-law, Homer Samplonius, a retired CRC pastor from Toronto).
What are your thoughts?
1. Do you think much if anything has changed since 1939 with how we as a denomination view and understand the office and work of deacons?
2. What, if anything, does this say to you about the CRC?
3. Do you think that Synod 2015 will recognize that the priestly role and work of deacons is equally important and integral to the mission and ministry of the Church as are the prophetic and kingly offices?