As a 65 year old Canadian member of the Christian Reformed Church, I have been a keen observer of our denomination and the way it works or doesn't work. For some time now I have come to the conclusion that it's time for the Canadian churches to have our own Synod — to determine the will of God for our churches in a unique Canadian context. The cultural divide between our two countries has always been great, but it has become increasingly so of late.
As some of you may be aware, the CRCNA is once again trying to figure out a new governance model. It will come before Synod again this June. Many of our people are unaware of the frustrations that lie just below the surface in our bi-national church. Canadian ministry directors come and go. Mainly, I suggest, because they are not taken seriously at the BOT and cannot deal with the weighted bureaucracy at the denominational offices in GR. I have come to the conclusion that we, as Canadians, will never be equal partners when dealing in the present structure. It’s not because our American friends are “bad” people. Not at all, it’s that the world view of our friends below the 49th parallel differs greatly from that of their Canadian neighbours. Faith, politics and the flag now have fuzzy borders to many in West Michigan and beyond. That’s something we just don’t understand here in Canada. Unfortunately, the US has become an incredibly polarized nation politically.
To be fair, I worked for a firm headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan for 24 years. I was the only Canadian at the management level in this firm. I spent a lot of time in West Michigan during those years and became a student as too how American corporations operated and thought. I see many similarities in our church governance. Not a pretty sight, I must confess. We Canadians have a much different world view than our American friends. Not better, just different. This is also reflected in how we approach ministry.
I think it’s time for us to go it alone. I am not advocating a split. I am proposing the idea that we begin to make our own decisions in Canada for our Canadian congregations. I see no reasons for not cooperating with and supporting the agencies we now have in common. such as CRWRC, WM, HM, Cadet, Gems and a host of others. However, we should test these alliances and make our own determinations in the light of Canadian context. I believe we could achieve and should have ecclesiastical fellowship with one another.
Much more could be written, and I hope much will be by others. This blog or topic is to get the discussion going.