The Christian Reformed Church synod approved a 1 percent increase in per-member ministry shares for 2015 to help fund the denomination’s shared ministry. But delegates declined to approve a requested study of how CRC agencies and institutions manage and invest their funds, saying current policies and safeguards are sufficient.
Delegates to Synod 2014 approved the ministry share hike to $336.12 per adult confessing member, as well as a list of agencies recommended to churches for offerings above ministry shares. Inclusion on the list does not assure agencies of receiving offerings but helps churches decide where to direct them.
Synod added four new agencies to the list: the Canadian Council of Churches; Communities First Association, which aids developers of low-income neighborhoods; Talking Bibles to help nonreaders become church leaders; and A Rocha Canada, a Christian environmental education and aid organization.
Delegates also received an encouraging report on the CRCNA ministers’ pension plan from John Bolt, director of finance and administration. In the past three years, the Canadian plan has increased from 60 percent funded to 84 percent, and the U.S. plan from 67 percent to 89 percent, Bolt said.
A group of churches from Canada petitioned synod to appoint a study committee to provide guidelines for management of donated funds by CRC agencies and institutions. The request from Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan said more than $100 million in debt resulting from investment losses was incurred by Calvin College and said a review was needed to prevent “risky investment strategies.”
However, the advisory committee report to synod said the request was based on “misunderstandings” and that the issues “did not involve a breach of policy or the use of risky investments.” Current investment and oversight policies of the CRCNA and Calvin assure “careful stewardship,” the committee found.
Calvin President Michael Le Roy said the college’s financial woes were not due to its investments but to spending more on building projects than it had raised funds for. “I’m very much in favor of being good fiduciaries, but I feel in this instance the college has fulfilled that,” Le Roy told delegates.
Synod 2014 is meeting at Central College in Pella, Iowa, from June 13-19. For continuous Banner coverage, 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.