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Where Did Our Young Adults Go?

The article “Where did our Young Adults Go?” (August 2007) brings out a problem that may be related to the way we structure churches. Sally Dentz (on the cover) was apparently looking for a more spiritual church and ministry.  In many churches members want to live as the world does and then hire a full-time pastor to “do” church for them. But God’s pattern for the church as expressed by Paul in Ephesians 4 is about members doing works of service, and along with this Paul calls believers to “present your bodies as living sacrifices to God” (Rom. 12:1). Perhaps we need to take a serious look at how our churches are structured.

—Rev. Norman HaanFox Lake, Wis.

It was with heavy hearts that my husband, Ed, and I decided to join the Presbyterian Church (USA). I grew up in the Christian Reformed Church and cling to its heritage. I mourn the fact that my future children will not grow up in the CRC community, both the local church and the wider community of faith.

People do not want to join unhealthy churches. Perhaps we need to understand how important church health is before we expect new members, whether those from within the CRC or those from outside it, to join us.

I also think that the current and past leaders of the CRC have nitpicked issues to death, particularly the issue of women in church office. It breaks my heart to know that some people have chosen to follow tradition instead of the Holy Spirit. It’s hard to desire to step into a church, particularly as a woman, and know that the gifts given to me by the Holy Spirit cannot be used without causing controversy and division.

—Rachael EggebeenTucson, Ariz.

Tradition

Thank you, Rev. Eppinga, for your excellent article that reflects on the worship service as we knew it in our younger days (“Tradition,” July 2007). We may not have appreciated every aspect of the worship order when we were young, yet now we long for some of the structure of those services.

We live in a world of hurry and noise, and we need to find a place of quiet and rest. Today many churches try to be innovative and interesting, while losing the solemnity we miss.

—Art Kuiper,Mount Vernon, Wash.

Rev. Eppinga ends his lament to lost traditions with the word “identity.” Isn’t our identity to be found in Christ alone and not in our tradition? Even the play Fiddler on the Roof is about how tradition has to adapt to modern life in Russia. Where Christians find identity is a big deal. I hope our Christian Reformed heritage is deeper than our songbook and order of worship. While I sympathize with those who miss historic rituals of faith, let’s not confuse the comfort of familiarity with true Christian identity.

—Rev. Rob JansonsMonroe, Wash.

The Closet of Compassion

The pastor’s question: “Is the [Christian Reformed] church a safe place for me to ‘come out’ as an advocate for gay brothers and sisters in Christ?” (“The Closet of Compassion,” August 2007).

Answer: No. But if just a few more clergy could stop imagining what it feels like to be a Christian who is gay and take some affirmative action, this could change—maybe.

—Nandy HeuleBrampton, Ontario

To use a metaphor, the body of the women-in-office debate is not even cold and The Banner (re)starts discussion on the next controversial issue. Can you not give these things a rest? The 40 years that went into the women-in-office debate will be replicated with this “Closet” issue. Based on current trends, statistically speaking, there will be no more CRC after that time. This issue, if kept alive in our official magazine, will simply speed up the process.

Let’s give more attention to young people, who make up about 25 percent of the CRC. I appreciated the excellent article on that subject (“Where Did Our Young Adults Go?” July).

—Harry BoessenkoolSurrey, British Columbia

New Hymnal

How gratifying it has been to receive many communications regarding the Heidelberg Catechism and its relationship to a new bi-denominational hymnal for our churches (“New Hymnal Planned,” July 2007). These responses indicate the importance of this document to the Christian Reformed Church.

The hymnal committee is eager to promote the catechism and its use and will continue to seek a feasible way for the catechism and other official creeds and confessions of the CRC to be available in the pews. The possibility of publishing two versions of the hymnal will be explored. It is also worth noting that discussions have begun between the CRC and the Reformed Church in America to see if we can work toward the use of common texts.

As the hymnal project proceeds, we will set up a website where we can keep the denomination informed on our progress as well as solicit feedback.

—Rev. Joyce BorgerWorship and Music EditorFaith Alive Christian Resources

I was very surprised that synod approved the publishing of a new hymnal. A lot of churches in the CRC don’t use any hymn-books, or they project hymns onto a screen, without music. I believe most church plants do not sing from any

hymnal, since most of their songs are praise songs. How many churches will be singing hymns by the year 2013? Why waste all that effort and money when we already have a hymnal that is not being used throughout the CRC. Sorry, I wish things were different, but this is how I see and experience it.

—Durk De JongCalgary, Alberta

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