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On Tuesday night, June 12, when synod debated removing the word male from the Church Order, a record 360 people tuned in to the live video Webcast, while another 200 tuned in to the audio-only feed, according to Jeff Greenfield of Calvin College’s IT department.

Being on camera was not lost on one delegate. On Thursday night, as debate continued near the end of a grueling day, Rev. Herman Van Niejenhuis, Classis Iakota, took his turn among a long list of speakers passionately debating whether baptized children may take communion.

“There are people in my home church watching on the Web, so I just want to say ‘hello,’” he said, after which he sat down.

As synodical decorum dissolved in gales of laughter, synod president Rev. Joel Boot, stared blankly at Van Niejenhuis, then remarked, “In a strange way I think we needed that.”

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