The officers of Synod 2015 represent some of the diversity in the Christian Reformed Church. Delegates elected Rev. Bruce Persenaire as president, Rev. William Veenstra as vice president, Rev. Bonny Mulder-Behnia as first clerk, and Rev. Stanley Jim as second clerk.
Persenaire is from Escalon, Calif. This is his 12th synod, and he has served on the executive once. Veenstra is from Chilliwack, B.C. This is his eighth synod and his second time serving on the executive. By contrast, Mulder-Behnia, from Bellflower, Calif., is serving at her second synod, and Jim, from Wingate, N.M., is a third-time delegate. It is their first time serving as officers.
Jim expects it will be an “interesting learning experience,” which Veenstra confirmed. Veenstra noted they also get to do some very interesting things, like having lunch with the fraternal delegates from other denominations, many of whom come from countries around the world.
The officers agreed that one issue that will be much discussed this week is the proposed unification of Christian Reformed World Missions and Christian Reformed Home Missions, including the communications from those two agencies seeking to have their proposal considered separately from the proposals of the Task Force Reviewing Structure and Culture. Veenstra also expects the proposal to seat deacons at synod to be a topic that generates debate. (Please see the report from the Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon.)
They do not see discussion of the interim report from the Committee to Provide Pastoral Guidance on Same Sex Marriage as creating a lot of discussion since it is an interim report (p. 337 of the Agenda for Synod 2015). The officers expect that some of the various overtures may create more discussion.
An interesting twist to this year’s officer elections included casting lots (actually, names in a hat) to narrow down the ballot. When there was a tie in the number of votes for the lower two of the top three nominees for president, the names were put in a hat to determine which two would be voted on for president. The same thing happened during the vote for first clerk. “We changed synod rules without an overture,” one of the officers quipped afterward.
Part way through the week, vice president Bill Veenstra had to leave for a funeral, and the officers decided to move ahead with an executive of three people, rather than elect a new vice president
Synod 2015 is meeting at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, from June 12-18. For continuous Banner coverage, please follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit crcna.org. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.