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I am grateful that the members of Committee 7 at Synod 2023 disagreed well (“They Disagreed Well,” January 2024). That is what church should be. But where is that for me as an LGBTQ person? Synod 2023 voted to kick me out because of this committee's majority recommendation on confessional status. I no longer belong in the denomination I grew up in. But at least they kicked me out politely? Using good manners behind closed doors is not nearly enough for the thousands of LGBTQ children growing up in our pews.

Ryan Struyk // Washington, D.C.


Israel and Palestine

Hamas does not speak for most Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank (“War in Israel and the Words of Christ,” Nov. 2023, online). I am writing as a retired biblical archaeologist who lived and worked off and on in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 1972 and 2012. Readers of The Banner need to know that the Gaza Strip is now basically a prison with over 2 million residents living in a 125-square-mile strip of land. Included in that number are perhaps 2,000 Christians worshiping in what remains of three churches. They too have suffered injury and death with (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu’s recent assaults. Both Hamas’ actions and the Palestinian lives lost due to the relentless bombings and ground actions by Netanyahu’s orders will no doubt give birth to more hatred by Gaza’s youth toward their neighbors to the north.

Neal Bierling // Ada, Mich.


Never Give Up

I would like to comment on your suggested read Never Give Up: A Prairie Family’s Story, by Tom Brokaw (Mixed Media, Sept. 2023). I enjoyed this book immensely. My family could relate to the hardships of prairie life in South Dakota in the 1930s. I was born on the Rosebud Reservation in 1937. My father was a farmer and struggled through many drought years. A friend told him about the fertile farmland in Wisconsin and took him there. When they came back, he found his new cornfield completely ruined by grasshoppers. So, with a team of horses and a truck loaded with essentials, he moved his family to Wisconsin. There were many families, perhaps eight or 10, who also made that decision. They settled in the southern part of the state where there was a newly formed (1931) Christian Reformed Church—Delavan. Delavan CRC is today a thriving congregation (with a) Christian school.

Elfrieda Vriezen // Delavan, Wis.


Helping the Homeless

Although I agree that idolatry of possessions is a real issue in our modern society, I don’t see a strong connection between the idolatry of possessions and homelessness (“The Tent City of God,” July/August 2023). Before retiring a year ago, I spent 20 years working with homeless persons in Edmonton, Alta. The vast majority of the people I came into contact with were struggling with addictions and mental illness. The government continues to cut back services to these people and sometimes justifies the lack of support by claiming that homelessness and addictions are “choices.” I never met a person for whom living in a tent in the Canadian winter was their first “choice.” More resources are needed for helping the mentally ill and addicts.

Beatrix Kalf // Edmonton, Alta.



The January article “They Disagreed Well” should have said that Aaron Vriesman is from Hudsonville, Mich., and that Katelyn Van Hove is an elder.

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