On Thursday, February 26, the Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church appointed Rev. Leonard Vander Zee as interim editor of The Banner. A permanent editor is expected to be appointed by Synod 2016, the annual leadership body of the CRC.
Vander Zee told trustees that he sees the interim position as one of stewardship. “It’s understanding The Banner’s identity, and through the Banner trying to help the Christian Reformed Church better understand its identity and its gifts, as well as its struggles.”
Vander Zee said he didn’t seek out this position, but when asked to apply, he did because he loves the church and is deeply committed to its welfare.
He knows the position of editor comes with conflict, and admitted he sometimes tends to shy away from that. But with 44 years in the ministry, he said, he has been through lots of situations of conflict.
That 44 years includes parish ministry in five congregations in Iowa, New York, Michigan, and Indiana. From 2006 until his retirement in 2013, he was editor in chief of Faith Alive Christian Resources, which was the CRC’s curriculum and publishing arm. He has also written multiple books and articles.
He told trustees that a strength he brings to the work is his love for the church and his love of writing.
During his year at the helm, he said he would likely write at least one editorial about worship. “Worship is at the heart of the church. There is a loss of understanding and unity of what worship is. It’s the central drama, celebrating the mystery of Christ. It is so important to enter into that drama,” he said.
He would also like to see some focus on congregations, “what they look like, how they act, try to get a real feel for different congregations out there all over North America. That’s where the beauty of Christ’s church really comes to expression.”
Vander Zee will assume his editorial duties in late summer. Rev. Bob De Moor, The Banner’s current editor, retires from the position on August 31.