Michael Williams
Photo: Karen Huttenga for The Banner

Laughs, Lunch, and Multilingual Blessings

Taking a break from its work deliberating over issues of the governance of the church, the Christian Reformed Church synod (annual general assembly) held its yearly banquet Wednesday afternoon, honoring on this occasion retiring Calvin Seminary professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Michael Williams.

Rev. Sarah Schreiber, Old Testament professor at Calvin Seminary and onetime student of Williams, offered a tribute, recognizing among other things his love for the Bible, the books he has written, and his pioneering work in online learning.

Rod Hugen, Classis Arizona, who served on the banquet committee, was also not surprisingly the after-dinner entertainment, a role he has served “Ten Times and Counting”—the title of his remarks.

Hugen, who pastors The Village Church in Tucson, Ariz., in the office of commissioned pastor,  said he considered retiring this year, “But as synod voted not to give commissioned pastors pension plans, unfortunately, I’ll be around a little longer . . . or a lot longer.”

Referencing many moments from previous sessions of synod, Hugen had delegates laughing at his echoes of executive director Steven Timmermans’ “gallery of numbers,” delegate Amy Vander Vliet’s fast list-reading, and synod president Scott Greenway’s “mean” mocking of Canadians’ language.

The banquet closed—fittingly, as it honored Williams, a language scholar—with the blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 spoken in English, Tshivenda, Navajo, Dutch, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Korean, French, and then, by Williams himself, in Hebrew.


Synod 2018 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 7-14. For continuous coverage while synod is in session, download the Banner app on your mobile device or 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 and the webcast, please visit crcna.org.

About the Author

Alissa Vernon is a news editor at The Banner.

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