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Council of Delegates Releases Statement about Killings and Natural Disasters

The newly constituted Council of Delegates adopted a statement about recent tragic events, including hurricanes, mass shootings, earthquakes, wildfires, and refugee crises. “In June, Synod 2017 challenged the Christian Reformed Church to remember, reaffirm, and reinvigorate our denomination’s commitment to a comprehensive and integral response to global humanitarian crises,” the statement begins.

The Council acts on behalf of synod, the annual leadership of the Christian Reformed Church.

Delegate Mark Volkers, Classis Heartland, wondered what the feedback is for statements released by denominational leaders. “Many times silence is considered endorsement,” responded executive director Steven Timmermans. “Criticism is if we get something wrong.”

After some discussion about what to include in the list of ills affecting humanity, the Council adopted the statement (see box). The statement reads, in part: “Our hearts are heavy as we consider all of this suffering. The sheer scope and scale of need can overwhelm us and leave us feeling helpless to respond. Yet, even in times of immense darkness and suffering we are reminded that God is in control.”

 Statement from Council of Delegates (CRCNA) About Our Hurting World

In June, Synod 2017 challenged the Christian Reformed Church to remember, reaffirm, and reinvigorate our denomination’s commitment to a comprehensive and integral response to global humanitarian crises. Since then, it seems as if the situation in our world has deteriorated and the need for our care and compassion has increased.

Earlier this year, an estimated 20 million people were already living on the brink of starvation in South Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, and Nigeria. In August and September, hurricanes such as Harvey, Irma, and Maria tore through the Caribbean and the United States, causing untold damage. As hurricane recovery began, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake in Mexico killed more than 300 people and left 6,000 injured. Soon after, we heard about the plight of Rohingya refugees who were being massacred in Myanmar and were forced to flee for Bangladesh. And more recently, we were faced with news of a terrible attack on the streets of Edmonton, a horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, and raging wildfires in California.

These are just a handful of the hurts taking place in our world right now. There are also daily acts of racism and injustice, persecution of people because of their faith, and ongoing discrimination against people with disabilities.

Our hearts are heavy as we consider all of this suffering. The sheer scope and scale of need can overwhelm us and leave us feeling helpless to respond. Yet, even in times of immense darkness and suffering we are reminded that God is in control.

As a Council of Delegates, we encourage Christian Reformed churches across North America to join us in a time of both lament and praise. We wish to express the heaviness on our hearts, to stand in solidarity with those who hurt, and to grieve and mourn for that which has been lost. We also celebrate that we serve a God who heals brokenness and despair, who hears our cries, and who has promised to heal our broken and hurting world.

Please join us in a personal or congregational time of prayer. The CRC Office of Worship Ministries has put together some worship resources to help you get started.

We also encourage you to act. Please visit WorldRenew.net to learn more about how you and your congregation can support World Renew as it responds to several of these urgent needs.
Adopted by the Council of Delegates of the CRCNA

October 12, 2017

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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