Synod 2010 expressed “deep disappointment” at not receiving an expected report about what the denomination’s Board of Trustees is doing to bring more ethnic diversity to the senior leadership team.
The report was supposed to have been the result of the Diversity in Leadership Planning Group that was mandated by Synod 2009, when it was noted that a restructuring of the denominational leadership resulted in removing from the senior leadership the one director who is a person of color.
That group was to report to Synod 2010 but experienced several setbacks that prevented it from presenting a report on time, according to executive director Jerry Dykstra.
“At last year’s synod we heard a message of concern and pain from people of color,” said Rev. Paul De Vries, Classis Thornapple Valley. “Now I’m back at this synod and we’re hearing about the same pain. I’m concerned that the Board of Trustees did nothing to inform the churches about this. . . . What are people of color supposed to think? They don’t know why and there is no attempt on behalf of the Board of Trustees to explain why [there is no report]. I don’t see how this can be anything but a lack of being forthright.”
“I’m trying to understand why, if there was a mandate given by synod, we do not have the report,” said Rev. Eduardo Gonzalez, Classis Arizona. “If we’re going to walk the walk, let’s talk the talk.”
“I’m feeling as if once again something wasn’t done,” said Rev. Richard Jones, Classis Greater Los Angeles. “I was disappointed to know there was not a report. How can we learn to be the body of Christ unless we have people at the table? It is like if everyone has real money and people of color have Monopoly money—we can’t do anything.”
As a result of its disappointment, Synod 2010 told the board that it now wants it to report its work on ethnic diversity and racial justice at every synod.
About the Author
Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who claims both Canadian and American citizenship and grew up in the Christian Reformed Church. She is a member of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina.