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Synod Prays and Weeps After South Carolina Shooting


Synod 2015 opened its last session on a somber note. Rev. Stedford Sims, Classis Grand Rapids East, wept as he led delegates through a prayer of lament and hope after synod received the news of a mass shooting in Charleston, S.C. News reports indicate that a Caucasian man entered Emanuel AME Church in Charleston during a Bible study and shot and killed nine African American people on June 17.

Sims cried out to God for comfort for those in pain, for the families of those slain, and for the leaders of the church who will have to navigate the tragedy in the congregation. He thanked God for raising up the church “for such a time as this,” as our society is riven by racism, division, hate, misunderstandings and ignorance. “What a time to be an example of the love of God, to show America hope for our nation,” he prayed.

Synod president Rev. Bruce Persenaire thanked him and thanked God for raising Stedford up “for such a time as this.”

“We thank you for your prayer, the man you are, and what you represent to us in the CRC,” he said, “and that you still pointed out that ‘this is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it.’”

Synod 2015 adopted a resolution declaring its abhorrence of the tragic killings in the Emanuel AME Church in South Carolina, declaring its solidarity with the families, the church, and others affected by this event, and its hope that even in tragedy, the power of the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ can be displayed.

Elder Fronse Smith, Classis Holland, thanked synod for making that resolution. “I can’t put into words how much that means,” he told delegates.


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

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