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Koopmans’ Comebacks: Humourous Exchanges at Synod


Synod debates can be long and intense, so it’s important for synod’s president to occasionally inject some humor and break the tension. It takes an agile mind and a quick wit, and Rev. William Koopmans showed he has both. Here are some outtakes:

Koopmans: “Synod got off to a great start when you elected Road Runner [during the warm-up practice vote]. Things may slow down after that.”


Rev. Richard deLange, Classis Chatham: “If I’m incorrect, I suppose Dr. [Henry] De Moor [of Calvin Seminary] will let me know.”

Koopmans: “Even if you’re correct, Dr. De Moor will let you know.”


On the final day of synod, when Executive Director Rev. Jerry Dykstra was asked to respond further to some touchy questions:

Koopmans: “When would you like to give your report, Jerry?”

Dykstra: “I was thinking about next Tuesday.”

Koopmans: “Um . . . uh . . .”

Dykstra: “Actually, Mr. President, I was thinking around coffee time.”

Koopmans: “You mean when the delegates are all gone drinking coffee?”


Koopmans’ irrefutable logic while defending delegates who wanted their negative vote recorded on a key motion: “How can it not sound negative when it’s a negative vote?


Rev. Bruce Persenaire, Classis Central California, comparing the ministry-share system to the internal combustion engine:

“Its days are numbered, but now is not the time to replace it.”

Koopmans: “This is a combustible motion. . . . I hope it won’t come back to burn us.”


By Thursday Koopmans knew the delegates better than they might like: “Seven names on the speaker list . . . I look at those names and can speculate how long each one is going to speak!”


Koopmans to a delegate: “Yes, you have the right to speak on the ‘Sermons for Reading Services Committee Report,’ as long as it’s not a whole sermon.”


When three motions came and went without a single speaker, Koopmans noticed that the electronic speaker list had failed: “The system isn’t working; no wonder things were going so well.”


After an assertion that only friendly amendments may be entertained:

Koopmans: “You’re bound and determined to get at least one amendment passed.”

Rev. Martin Mobach, Classis Alberta North: “I just want to appear friendly.”


Koopmans, when delegates complimented the Belhar Confession while having their negative votes recorded in the minutes:

“I can’t remember being at a synod where so many negative votes were written so positively.”

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