Synod and Summer 2012 have come and gone. Where I live the weather was hot and dry. Some synod discussions and debates surely may have been hot, in committee, over mealtimes and in plenary sessions. But from what I heard and gleaned, they were never dry. Nor was the Synod Network conversation.
As the church order implications of our recommendation were discussed in 2011, a motion was made from the floor to delete one sentence from article 59 of the church order: “This public profession of faith includes a commitment to the creeds and confessions of the Christian Reformed Church.” That motion was discussed and approved without comment from our committee, but the instant it was passed we realized that we had blundered in our silence.
This piece is neither a report nor an evaluation. It is an account of my own feelings and reactions to Synod 2012. Feelings, as we all know, are fickle. Some of mine are not as vibrant as they were that first week in June. But they continue, nonetheless, so I am taking the risk of sharing some of them with you who are reading this now.
When Churches Start Becoming Experts on Pipelines, Does That Mean Oil Companies Can Become Experts on Theology?
When churches start becoming experts on pipelines and ecology, does that mean oil companies can become experts on theology?
This letter is written primarily in response to Overture 3, which requested that a study be conducted to determine “the difference between the mission of the church as institution and as organism” (Agenda for Synod 2012, p. 467), regarding whether the official church may take and proffer positions on certain matters or whether such matters should be left to individual members of the church.
The Acts of Synod 2012, including decisions of synod and supplementary materials to the Agenda for Synod 2012, is now accessible in an electronic version. Hard copies of the Acts will be sent to the churches as soon as they become available in late August.
Does “a rose by any other name” sound as sweet? Synod 2012 agreed with the Candidacy Committee that there is a more fitting name for those ordained via Article 23 of the CRC Church Order. The office formerly known as “ministry associate” is now known as “commissioned pastor”.
In a few years, perhaps Belhar will have taken root in our hearts and minds, worked on our consciences and souls as it could not have had the advisory committee never daringly and faithfully followed God’s Spirit and decided to stay united. Remember my paraphrase of the old hymn: “God moves in a mysterious way—our blunders to reform.”
After the event on June 8th, I was stunned at how many people aged 50+ came up to me with tears in their eyes, either mourning how their children had left the Church or overwhelmed by the purity in the exchange of the evening – generations interacting, worshipping and singing in unity.
The voice vote was unanimous and, apparently, enthusiastic. I (along with my committee colleagues) was a little stunned. After all this time and after the near rancor of last year’s discussion at Synod—now unanimity and applause? Whatever! And most of all, thanks be to God.
So, what’s wrong with the name Christian Reformed World Relief Committee? Nothing’s wrong with it. It just doesn’t fit as well as it used to. Sometime in the next few days Synod will be faced with a significant decision about Christian Reformed World Relief Committee...
Weighing in at 114 pages, the Creation Stewardship Task Force Report is the physical heavyweight of all reports this year. I wonder if anyone else picked up the irony that the issue it carefully deals with also results in using more natural resources in its publication than any other on the docket.
Jesus said the poor will always be with us. Ripping his passionate and compassionate observation completely out of context, it is tempting to say the “The Form of Subscription Revision Study Committee” will always be with us as well.
In Ontario, Canada, we have the "Sunshine Law" in which all public servants and those who work for "crown Corporations" and have a salary over $100,000.00 annually have their names and positions published once a year. This has resulted in some degree of openness and accountability. I think our church should do at least as much.