Synod 2016, the general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church, includes not only the old but the young. Seven young adults serve synod as advisors, adding their voice to those of the delegates in committees and in the synodical sessions. And they are having a great time doing it.
Chelsea Dost called her service at synod “a crazy privilege.” Aren Plante said that it’s “like jury duty.” Everyone dreads it, but then it’s a great experience. Plante has future ambitions for his involvement with synod, which include someday being the president of synod or, perhaps, taking over Steve Timmermans’ position as executive director of the denomination. Representatives Onalee Sneller, Laura Vander Horst, and Josh Chen were equally enthusiastic.
Service as a young adult representative is not always easy. Sometimes, said Brandon Vander Stoep, it’s hard getting getting in one’s opinions in the synodical committees. Ashley Bootsma, watching the process for the second time, thought that perhaps it was slower and not quite so smooth this time around. She is also a young adult representative on the Board of Trustees.
Laura Vander Horst, who served on the committee to which the report on same-sex marriage was assigned, said, “It’s hard to know what the future is going to be like,” but she was impressed with the way the delegates listened to each other and with their compassion. Asked whether there was a generational difference between people of her age and older delegates, said that she thought there was: “The world,” she said, “has completely changed.”
Synod 2016 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-17. 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/synod. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.