Asked by East Hills, a congregation in Vernon, B.C., to deepen awareness in the denomination of the plight of the Palestinians and plead their cause to the governments of Canada and the U.S., Synod 2019 took note that the justice ministries of the CRC are already working in various ways to bring reconciliation in the Middle East. (Synod is the general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.)
Delegates, particularly those who have traveled to the Middle East, urged the delegates not to look away from Palestine, what John Tenyenhuis, Classis Toronto, called “a tsunami of human horror.”
Theo Beels, Classis Grand Rapids North, said when he got to the Middle East, the plight of the Palestinians shocked him. “It was worse than I thought.”
Andy Buwalda, Classis Quinte, wondered, “How much do our churches know?” Jan Heerspink, Classis Grand Rapids South, said her experience in Palestine did not make her an expert, but “I became very sensitive. We must pay attention.”
Synod did so, encouraging the ministries of the denomination to continue “the work of addressing peace in the Middle East already being done.”
Some of the delegates were not satisfied with the strength of the synodical statement. John Tenyenhuis called it “approximate,” but, he said, “To say nothing isn’t right. It seems to me that we should say something.”
Synod framed the discussion in prayer. Sid Couperus opened the discussion with a prayer from the Mennonite Central Committee. At the end of the discussion, synod president William Koopmans directed the delegates to pray silently at their desks for shalom in the Middle East.
Synod 2019 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 14-20. For continuous coverage from our award-winning news team, 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 on The Banner’s dedicated Synod web page several times daily. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.