In a closing session that included laughter, thanks, and worship, delegates to Synod 2013 wrapped up its week of deliberations.
Delegates expressed their thanks to the officers who led synod with grace through a week of deliberations that sometimes got very complicated.
Rev. William Koopmans, president, thanked delegates. “I have loved the last week,” he said. “I appreciate the spirit that has prevailed.”
Koopmans also thanked Rev. Reggie Smith, vice president, calling him “my brother and my friend for life.”
Smith, who presided over the vote for officers on the first morning, said that as the votes came in and he was slightly ahead of Koopmans for president, he said, “Oh no! And then when William pulled ahead, I said ‘thanks be to God.’”
Smith went on to give an impersonation of what he called Koopmans’s “breathy voice,” prompting much laughter from the delegates.
Some delegates tweeted, “Koopmans for synod president for life.”
In his closing meditation, Koopmans noted three “ecclesiastical bones,” using the apostle Paul’s body imagery. The church needs the jawbone, suitable for praising God, he said, but noted that (especially at synod) it needs to be as good at shutting the mouth as it is at opening it.
He noted the wishbone, which stands for desire. “Many desires are legitimate . . . but it can get carried away wishing, leaving little time to do constructive things.”
And the body needs a backbone, which works behind the scenes but is the body’s pillar of support—the protective corridor of communication from the head to all the parts. “If it breaks down, parts of the body lose touch with each other,” creating an ecclesiastical quadriplegic with a shortened life expectancy.
He asked delegates to be more than jawbones and wishbones, noting that the church needs more than talking and wishing. He challenged delegates to go home and be the backbone.
“Be strong. Be what God wants you to be, the backbone of the church that connects the head, who is Christ, to the parts of the body . . . essential for a strong church in which love of Jesus really changes lives.”
After a benediction read in unison by Smith and Koopmans, delegates joined hands and sang “My Friends, May You Grow in Grace.” Then Synod 2013 was officially adjourned.
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.