Rev. Bruce Adema resigned from his position as director of Canadian Ministries for the Christian Reformed Church, effective August 31.
Adema, 49, took on the role in 2006, following a stint in the Philippines where he was a church planter and subsequently president of Koinonia Theological Seminary.
Adema said he was privileged to be part of the various ministries in Canada, including the three aboriginal ministries, the Centre for Public Dialogue, and ServiceLink.
As director of Canadian Ministries, Adema also served as president of the Canadian Council of Churches. “The CRC in Canada has become more ecumenical, more aware of social issues that call for a gospel response, more willing to face the challenges of secularism and spiritual decay,” he said.
Adema’s greatest challenge, one that his successor will also face, was what he called the eternal questions of a binational denomination, where the one part is larger than the other, with different histories and inclinations: “How does the Canadian part of the CRC maintain an effective national witness while being part of a united denomination? Does binationality require uniformity? How can national distinctiveness be celebrated without being perceived as a threat of division?”
He hopes a ministry plan for the CRC in Canada will be developed “that takes into account the cultural, social, and spiritual realities of this country and the capacities of our people.”
His concern for the denomination as a whole is that it has become so fearful of division that it is reluctant to take prophetic stands. “I think we are at a crossroad: one way is that of hesitancy and timidity, the other of bold and visionary action. The future of the CRC will be greatly impacted by which road we take.”
Joel Boot, executive director of the CRC, wrote in a statement, “Both the Board Executive Committee and I want to express our appreciation to Bruce for his years of faithful service to our denomination, and to wish him God's blessings in his new pursuits.”
What those pursuits will be is not yet clear. “I’m waiting to see what doors the Lord opens,” Adema said. “It could be a return to pastoral ministry, or it might be into some other kind of service.”