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What to Watch for Post-Synod 2017


Synod 2017, the general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church, is a few months past. Now the denomination’s executive director, the newly established Council of Delegates (COD), and other committees are working on the many tasks given them by synod delegates.

Some developments to watch for:

  • A face-to-face visit initiated by the executive director between Classis Minnkota (a regional group of churches) and representatives from the CRC’s Centre for Public Dialogue and the Office of Social Justice to discuss issues raised by the classis about the Do Justice blog. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 638.)  
  • Articles for the Do Justice blog written in a way that encourages a Reformed understanding of Scripture, ensured by those who have oversight of the blog. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 698.)
  • Footnoted comments with the Belhar Confession to provide biblical and confessionally grounded clarity to the parts of the Belhar that are widely recognized to cause disagreement and alarm. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 708.)
  • Members of the new Council of Delegates encouraging classis delegates to consult with members of those denominational boards not governed through the COD (World Renew, Calvin College, and Calvin Theological Seminary), and also to confer with the nonvoting representatives of those agencies to the COD, in order to provide a link between those institutions and the classes in a region. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 642.)
  • An executive summary for any reports from synodically appointed committees and task forces longer than 10 pages. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 642.)
  • A list from the executive director of current denominational resources related to church renewal, including church planting with emphasis on training for evangelism; collaboration of CRC agencies and educational institutions in relation to church renewal; development of effective strategies for implementation by classes and churches; and ongoing call to prayer for church renewal, church planting, and evangelism. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 706.)


Completed tasks from Synod 2016:     

✓Appointment of a committee to investigate ministry partnerships with Koreans in Korea, building on relationships already formed by staff of Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 684.)

✓A study of the feasibility of developing new Sunday school and catechism material for children in the CRC led by Faith Formation Ministries. (See Agenda of Synod 2017, p. 215.)

✓Recommendations from the Candidacy Committee regarding commissioned pastors, including provision for an “emeritus” status for retired commissioned pastors; more help for classes (regional groups of churches) when the work of a commissioned pastor is terminated; and possible ways the office of commissioned pastor could in some circumstances be a “bridge ordination” toward ordination as minister of the Word. (See Acts of Synod 2017, pp. 685, 688-689.)

✓Creation of a website of resources and information for continuing education for pastors. (See network.)

✓Expanded efforts from the Office of Social Justice and several other ministries to raise awareness in the CRC of the injustice of persecution, to distribute up-to-date information about religious persecution, and to urge congregations to participate in the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. (See network.)

✓Appointment of a task force to address the inequity in classis funding for seminary students and the financial challenges facing Canadians who desire to attend Calvin Theological Seminary. (See Acts of Synod 2017, pp. 675-676.)

✓Evaluation by the BOT of every existing ministry and program, including charting which synod established the ministry and what the current funding allocation is, and seeking input from the churches on prioritizing those ministries. (See Agenda for Synod 2017, pp. 138-166.)

✓Consideration of a denomination-wide annual Day of Justice to recognize the plight of those who are oppressed and marginalized; to confess, lament, and listen to the stories of those who have suffered at the hands of others because of racism. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 631)

✓Appointments to the Synod Review Task Force and to the synodically-appointed Committee to Articulate a Foundation-Laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality. (See Acts of Synod 2017, p. 695.)

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