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Our church (Holland Marsh CRC outside Newmarket, ON) has a parsonage and we use it (I live here). 

I'm 34 years old and it is pretty much impossible for me to get into the housing market anywhere in Canada at the present, even in relatively affordable areas. I was born at the wrong time, so the idea of building equity by buying a house isn't possible. The parsonage is pretty much the only reason my wife and I were able to move here and serve this congregation. If/when I move to a different congregation, it will either need to have a parsonage, or I will need to use a housing allowance to pay for a rental. I personally would strongly discourage churches from selling their parsonage. Problems with administration of the parsonage are real and take work, but to me that's a better problem than not being able to find a place for your pastor to live.

I would recommend trying to get in touch with the council at Willowdale CRC in North York. When I served there, there was a group of people who provided Pastoral Care that were separate from the Elders but often included current or former Elders. It's been a few years though, so the model may have changed since I was there.

In the Toronto area, Dori Zener and Associates has some great resources that you might find helpful. I mention them because someone close to me has had excellent experiences with them. They offer individual resources and some groups that might be helpful.

Not all of these are from this year but...

Reformed Public Theology: A Global Vision for Life in the World - Ed. Matthew Kaemingk

This is a great series of essays on applying reformed theology to various aspects of the world. The variety of the book makes it a very interesting read, and it's great to see some themes (sphere sovereignty, common grace, and a few other ideas) repeated throughout the essays.

Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition - Christine D. Pohl

Although it was hard to read during a pandemic, this is a great summary on the Christian practice of hospitality, it's joys, and also its challenges. It would be hard to come away from this book without having a greater appreciation for the need for hospitality.

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel

A novel which discusses a flu pandemic and its aftermath. Part of the story includes a travelling company of musicians and actors who perform for the various communities living in post-apocalyptic North America. It was given to me as a book which was meant to be a "light read" but it was also very thought provoking. It's being made into a TV series.

Posted in: Hermeneutics 101

I noticed you've included a number of quotes in your list of statements that come from overtures which were submitted to Synod in 2021. Is there a reason why you've chosen not to share their sources?

The Candidacy Committee keeps a list of eligible candidates with some contact information on their website here

This includes candidates who haven't found a call in the year after graduating. I hope this helps.

Another church I served in moved to weekly communion, and we requested permission from Classis for two of our elders to administer the Lord's Supper on weeks when no ordained Minister was present. The "need" was to maintain weekly service of the sacraments and Classis approved this need. They approved our request at that time. I don't think church order prevents you from asking Classis for this kind of approval, especially if your study has led you to move towards weekly communion as a congregation. Classis is supposed to support the ministry of your congregation and this is one way in which they can do that.

I'm pretty sure the answer is no.

Negative votes can be recorded if the voter requests it and then they're printed in the minutes.
Vote totals can be requested if someone asks for them.
I do not believe individuals voting record is kept and that's what would be required for the information you're asking for.

I don't know exactly when it started, but it goes back a relatively long time. The Acts of Synod 1939 (p.166) show that "Five members of the Board asked to have their negative votes recorded and reserved the right to present their dissenting views on the matter to Synod."

Negative votes are typically recorded so members of assembly can voice their disagreement or dissent at a later time. If you do not register a negative vote as a member of an assembly, you are not allowed to speak against the decision of the assembly publicly.

This sounds like the start of one of those "confessional conversations" a certain CRC pastor keeps advocating for. Thanks for sharing. I do know of at least a few churches who are starting to re-evaluate the way they practice communion. Maybe there's an appetite for a fuller conversation.

I've been wondering for a while if anyone else would address this question. I think you may be right in suggesting that there is a reluctance to acknowledge a sad reality, but our church order also doesn't have an easy process for responding to those who wish to withdraw their membership.

Other than transferring membership, there are two main ways someone is removed from membership when they are still alive. First is by being declared a lapsed member, but this requires that the person "claims to still be committed to the Christian faith." " to be worshipping elsewhere." and "The consistory is not aware of any public sin requiring discipline." If someone wishes to withdraw membership for reasons of doctrinal difference, they don't really fit in this way.

Instead they fit the second way which is church discipline, although not in the way we would expect. A person asking to withdraw their membership is essentially saying they do not wish to participate in the discipline process. In response to this, the congregation would need to inform Classis that this person is withdrawing their membership and should be considered excluded from membership, and Classis would need to approve this. Depending on the other congregations in your Classis, I can imagine that this could be very difficult or awkward and might be part of the reason why there are no moves to announce a formal removal of membership.

Our structure as a denomination is set up to encourage mutual accountability and have the church be a force which encourages us in our faith. When someone chooses to leave that, Church Order is not set up to make withdrawing membership simple, and I think you're seeing the effects of that in action.

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