The annual Synod of the Christian Reformed Church began its one week meeting in Grand Rapids this weekend. Two hundred delegates from every American state and Canadian province will spend hours together in committee work and public plenary sessions, approving the work and budgets of our denomination’s agencies. They will also debate issues and approve or reject overtures that are before the church. In particular, this year’s Synod will address the need for a new Executive Director, consider a proposal to expand the role of deacons, and even wrestle with a proposal to create a new Classis (regional grouping of Christian Reformed churches) made up of congregations that do not believe that women may serve as pastors, elders or deacons. Synod will also consider ways to respond more quickly to congregations that struggle with “internal and relational difficulties.”
Among those who will be attending Synod 2013 is Bev, a member of Hope Fellowship Church. She will be there as an Ethnic Adviser, a position that was created in 2005 to bring ethnic minority views to Synod. Up to seven ethnic advisers will observe the plenary sessions and join various committees as they do their preparatory work. Although they are not delegates, they have the right to speak whenever they feel that a culturally sensitive perspective is needed. The position of Ethnic Advisers will be continued until the number of ethnic minority delegates is 25 or more.
An African-British-Canadian married to a Dutch-Canadian, Bev will bring her own unique experience of diversity in her family and Hope Fellowship as she joins her African-American, Korean-American, Native-American, and Hispanic counterparts. Other non-voting participants will also attend Synod: faculty advisers, staff consultants, agency board representatives, presidents of denominationally supported education institutions, and members of the Board of Trustees. Bev will be in very esteemed company, indeed, as she serves Synod with her advice!
The public plenary sessions of Synod can be seen live at “crcna.org/synod”. The site also provides daily updates on Synod’s discussions and decisions. Check it out this week. You may even catch Bev in action.
- Pastor Peter