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Synod 2013 a Family Affair for Many


Rev. Will Verhoef, synod’s second clerk [center], enjoys hanging out with his two sons. The three of them like to joke around together, and all three are pastors. “I tried to talk them out of it,” said Will.

His son Paul was a minister delegate from Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan, and his son Joel was an elder delegate from Classis California South.

Elder Marvin Vandervalk, of Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan, and his son, Rev. Chad Vandervalk of Classis Eastern Canada, both attended Synod 2013.

Marvin, a grain farmer for 35 years, especially enjoys the community among delegates while attending his first synod. “We probably do as much learning around the coffee table as we do in session,” said Marvin.

Rev. Rebecca Jordan Heys of Classis Grand Rapids East and her mother, elder Susanne Jordan of Classis Muskegon, became the first mother-daughter delegates ever to serve at a synod. It was a first synod for both of them.

“I’m very encouraged by the breadth of ministry the CRC is involved in,” said Jordan. Heys added, “God is at work in our denomination. This is a great way to hear about that.”

It was a special week for the Ackerman family. Elder Linda Ackerman of Classis Pacific Northwest, was at her first synod. In the process, she saw her son Matthew stand before synod as a candidate for Minister of the Word.

“It was really meaningful to feel the support of so many. The sense of community was really overwhelming,” Matthew said. “And it’s a pleasure to be here with Mom.”

“God is doing amazing things in this denomination, and I’m excited to go back and share our work with my church and classis,” said Linda.

Neither Rodger Rice or his son Mark were delegated to Synod 2013, but both were at the podium. Rodger, a researcher for the Calvin College Center for Social Research, helped present the denominational survey. Mark took the podium as director of Faith Alive Christian Resources.

Rev. David Tigchelaar from Classis Huron and his brother-in-law Rev. Paul Verhoef were both first time delegates this year. "My favorite moment with David so far has been Frisbee golf," said Verhoef. The two used to play when they were students together at Calvin Theological Seminary.

And finally, brothers Lee and Loren Veldhuizen reconnected. Both from Iowa, Lee, an elder from Classis Central Plains, is a farmer in Pella. Loren, an elder from Classis Heartland, is a lawyer in Orange City. 

Synod 2013 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. from June 7-14. For continuous Banner coverage of Synod 2013, please follow The Banner on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

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