Threats to OSJ
I was deeply disturbed by the Banner article “Mercy and Justice Staff Report Escalating Intimidation” (online: bit.ly/3tiq6Rv). Staff of the CRC Office for Social Justice have received offensive comments, racist remarks, and threats violent enough to involve the police from people within our denomination. ... No one should have to do their job, a job mandated by Synod, under fear, intimidation, or the threat of violence, and this needs action on the local church level as well as by the Council of Delegates and the executive director of the Christian Reformed Church. Discussion is appropriate, but it is not enough. This type of threatening behavior, as well as the inaction by the denomination, feel very far from Jesus of Nazareth and the kingdom of God.
Sandy Navis // Grand Rapids, Mich.
I was deeply saddened when I read of the attacks—from “pastors and other office bearers in the CRCNA”—on the staff of the Office of Social Justice, including “threatening postcards and letters” sent to staff by office-bearers and pastoral staff. Not only that, but the fact that it has been going on for years—so much so that staff members have left their positions over it! ... It is no wonder our denomination is failing to thrive. My own lifetime of support and membership is growing very near the breaking point. We should all be ashamed.
Aaron Jonker // Grand Rapids, Mich.
I am a member of the Council of Delegates and also a director of the CRCNA Canada Corporation. As Canadian directors, we have done everything in our power to ensure that there is no separation between countries (“Governance Restructure Causing Confusion, Angst,” bit.ly/3fXafUl). At every meeting of the directors it is stressed: we are ecclesiastically one denomination in two countries. This must not change. All we want to do is ensure we do not lose our charitable status by not complying with CRA regulations: money donated by Canadians must be controlled by Canadians.
Aaltje van Grootheest // online comment
Synod Canceled Again
I understand and affirm the need to cancel synod for a second year in a row (“Council of Delegates Discusses Synod 2021, Ministry Share Pledges, Governance,” April 2021). The 2022 agenda is going to be massive. I wonder if it might be wise and necessary to extend synod to 10 days or even two weeks next year.
Bill Vis // online comment
Are We Evangelicals?
I would add this to the article (“Are We Evangelicals?” March 2021): whatever Christians may decide to do in terms of embracing or rejecting or divorcing themselves from the word “evangelical,” politicians of today will use the term (as a praise or as a condemnation) for the sole purpose of attracting some voters and denouncing others. And sadly, what politicians do with the word will have a greater effect on its definition in the minds of the broader population than what those who actually are “evangelicals” claim for the word.
Doug Vande Griend // online comment
Regarding the chart in the April Banner showing “Growth Spurts” in the number of Christian Reformed churches in Canada since 1940: would it not be more relevant to highlight the 17% decline in denomination-wide membership in the past 10 years, or the 20% decline in membership in Canada for that period? (Data from the 2011 and 2021 editions of the CRCNA Yearbook.) We in the CRC are far from being in a growth mode, which would seem more pressing to address than the increase in churches that occurred between the 1940s and 1990s!
Burton VanderLaan // Byron Center, Mich.
I am grateful for the healing that Andrea received and for her willingness to share that (“The Trauma of Bullying,” April 2021). After seven years in healing prayer ministry, I struggle with her line that she had to “imagine I was in a safe place and Jesus was with me.” I believe that Jesus can cross time and space and that what Andrea experienced was the resurrected, living Jesus bringing healing to her. I have seen so many miracles that it is hard to believe that this is just people’s imagination.
Theo D. Beels // Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Gifts of Sundays
Wonderful article! Thank you for writing it! (“The Gifts of Sundays,” April 2021.) I really like the phase “What restores and delights you?” I know that, since choosing to be more sabbatarian as a family, Sundays have quickly become a day to look forward to. A day of restoration! It was hard at first. Shifting thinking to remember to go to the store Saturday night so that you have everything you need in order to avoid consumerism on Sunday was a hard transition. But it has been so worth it! Making it to the evening service every week was a rough transition at first too, but it has paid off immensely for us as a family.
Trevor Mouw // online comment