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Citing concerns that synods are already getting too rushed, delegates declined to mandate a discussion time at future synods.

The recommendation, from the denomination’s Board of Trustees, was that future synods allow time at each synod to deliberate on topics of church-wide interest, some of which would be suggested by the board.

 “Synod is giving short shrift to its core responsibilities,” said Rev. Thomas Niehof, Classis Northcentral Iowa. “I am not in favor of adding something to synod unless we go back to meeting for two weeks.”

“I would like to see those [discussion topics] come from the churches,” said Rev. Mary-Lee Bouma, Classis British Columbia North-West. “I fear that we are becoming too centralized.”

Rev. Mark Vermaire, Classis California South, defended the recommendation. “Sometimes synod doesn’t have the opportunity to talk about important issues because [those issues] don’t come from the churches,” said Vermaire, who is president of the Board of Trustees.

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