The Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church decided at its May 2016 meeting to close World Literature Ministries (WLM), a CRC ministry that has produced theological materials in foreign languages since 1979. Its Spanish-language marketing brand Libros Desafio and sales of current inventory will be continued.
While the majority of the publications produced are in Spanish, there are also products translated into Russian, including John Calvin’s Institutes. The Spanish-language materials have provided Reformed content for Bible schools and missionaries all over Latin America.
The denomination hopes to partner with other denominations to launch a new entity to produce materials written by Latin American Reformed authors in their local context. Funding would come from foundations and individuals.
WLM currently receives denominational funding of $204,000. The board cited the need for that money for ministries that focus on local churches.
The board heard an update on the transition from Board of Trustees to Council of Delegates. The plan now calls for the council to have 52 delegates rather than the 60 originally proposed. Some Canadian board members expressed concern about the fact that the new council will have 14 Canadian delegates and 38 U.S. delegates, compared to the current board, which is half and half. Trustee Garry Sytsma said that “a serious problem is brewing.”
The board recommended to Synod 2016 a ministry share of $346.27 for calendar year 2017, a 2 percent increase over 2016. Trustee Peter DeBoer said he sensed that “we may be nearing maxing out the ability of our membership to commit to this, not just for income reasons but local priorities.”
The board elected Ralph Luimes, Andy de Ruyter, Don Draayer, Chris Van Spronsen, Socorro Woodbury, and Calvin Hoogendoorn as its officers for the coming year.
The board is recommending to Synod 2016 that Synod 2018 be held in conjunction with the synod of the Reformed Church in America and include both joint celebrative sessions and integrated sessions to focus on future collaborative efforts.