Synod 2013 Careful About Who Is on Study Committees

Synod asked committees to consult extensively with pastors, with members of ethnic minorities, and with others representing a wide range of experience and expertise, in the spirit of the shepherding model of study committees.

Delegates engaged in vigorous discussion on the last morning of Synod 2013, showing that they cared deeply about who gets appointed to the study committees they created.

Those committees are the following:

  • Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon
  • Committee to Provide Pastoral Guidance re Same-sex Marriage
  • Committee to Study Religious Persecution and Religious Liberty

Delegates brought concerns about whether proposed committee membership had expertise on topics under study, proper representation of ethnic minorities, and those who can do thorough biblical exegesis.

“We had a whole conversation last night about inclusion and diversity with minority sisters and brothers, and I don’t think [this committee] is as diverse as it could be or should be,” siad Rev. William Wilton, Classis Columbia, about the make-up of the Committee to Provide Pastoral Guidance re Same-sex Marriage.

Wilton also questioned the lack of exegetical expertise on that committee, while acknowledging that the exegesis of Scripture regarding homosexuality is not in that committee’s mandate.

“What is the make-up in terms of Canada and . . . from states where gay marriage is now the law?” asked John Kooiker, Classis Heartland, regarding the same committee.

Rev. Victor Ko, Classis Alberta North, was looking for faculty members from the seminary or colleges with expertise in Old and New Testament studies as well pastoral care.

Discussion about the membership of the other two committees was also meticulous.

Rather than add more people to the committees, synod decided to ask the committees to consult extensively with pastors in both the U.S. and Canada, with members of ethnic minorities, and with others representing a wide range of experience and expertise. It said that this would promote engagement within the churches in the spirit of the “shepherding” model that was followed by the Faith Formation Committee.

The members proposed for Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon are Amanda Bakale, Dr. Amanda Benckhuysen, Rev. Roy Berkenbosch, Dr. Chris Ganski, Dr. Michael Goheen, Rudy Gonzalez, Rev. Henry Kranenburg, Rev. Nick Monsma, Rosetta Polk-Pugh, Terry Woodnorth, one of the directors of World Renew, Dr. Cal Hoogendoorn, and either Rev. Kathy Smith or Dr. Henry DeMoor.

The members proposed for Committee to Study Religious Persecution and Religious Liberty are Prof. Jane Bruin, Dr. Kevin den Dulk, Prof. Rob Joustra, Rev. Jonathan J. Kim, Ms. Rose Nelson, Mr. Stephen R. Snow, Rev. Naji Umran, Rev. Ken Van De Griend, Ms. Ruth Veltkamp, and Dr. James Payton.

The members proposed for the Committee to Provide Pastoral Guidance re Same-Sex Marriage are Joseph Bowman, Rev. Shaio Chong, Jessica Driesenga, Wendy Gritter, Adrian Miedema, Dr. Robert VanNoord, Rev. Karl Van Harn, Kurt Witte, and Dr. John Witvliet.


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 www.thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit www.crcna.org/synod. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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