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One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. That was the message of the worship service that opened the synods of the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) and the Reformed Church in America (RCA), both meeting on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. Synod is the general leadership conference.

Pillar Church from Holland, Mich., hosted the service. Pillar is a union church belonging to both denominations.

Rev. Jenna Brandsen, a pastor in the CRC, and Rev. Jon Brown, an RCA pastor, are co-pastors at Pillar Church. They co-preached at the worship service.

Referring to 1857, when the CRC and the RCA divided into two separate denominations, the pastors pointed out that the apostle Paul had a different vision, to live as one. They spoke about the rupture between God and God’s people recorded in Genesis 3. “They fell, we fall,” Brandsen said. “The first thing they did was separate. They divided, they ran away. And we’ve been spiraling away ever since.” And yet, she added, God comes close and wants to stay connected.

Brown punctuated the message frequently. “One, one, one, one.”

The Calvin College chapel was full as delegates worshiped with both traditional hymns and contemporary songs led by the worship team from Pillar Church.

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 several times daily. For CRC Communications releases and the webcast, please visit

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