Requests that Synod 2019 Turned Down and Why

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Synod is the annual leadership meeting of the Christian Reformed Church.

Classis Lake Superior requested that pastors who left the CRC for United Reformed Churches due to deep convictions of their faith be identified and change their status where they deem appropriate to “honorably discharged.” Synod said a decision by classis (the original discharging of these pastors) may only be overturned by appeal through Church Order Article 30.

The Council of Williamsburg (Ont.) CRC requested synod place the New City Catechism into the category of contemporary testimony. The New City Catechism was produced by the Gospel Coalition and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City in 2017 as a tool to assist people of this generation to learn the basics of the Reformed faith. Synod referred the catechism to Faith Formation Ministries for curriculum review and potential use by the churches.

Classis Northcentral Iowa asked to commend the Great Lakes Catechism on Marriage and Sexuality to the classes and churches for reflection and study. Synod said no, saying it is premature to commend specific material to the churches prior to the completion of the work of the current synodical Committee to Articulate a Foundation-laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality and that the inclusion of the catechism in the committee’s interim report already encourages its study.

Synod turned down a request from Classis Hackensack to have an immigration lawyer kept on retainer for churches dealing with immigration issues, as well as a budget of $50,000 for immigration legal assistance, saying identifying appropriate help in each local context will be better overall.

Other decisions:

Synod 2019 adopted changes to Church Order proposed by Synod 2018 to provide guidelines for the composition of the Judicial Code Committee and clarification on the Rules for Synodical Procedure, and Guidelines for Handling Abuse Allegations Against a Church Leader. Synod did not grant a request from JCC members that a task force be created to study these matters further. But synod did instruct the Council of Delegates to review the Judicial Code every five years, assessing if modifications are needed to ensure the Judicial Code continues to function as intended.

Synod approved a ministry share of $346.48 for calendar year 2020. Synod ratified the list of denominational agencies and non-denominational agencies approved to receive offerings, including the inclusion of The Colossian Forum.

Synod accepted the invitation of Encounter Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., to serve as the convening church of Synod 2020 and the invitation of First CRC in Orange City, Iowa, to host Synod 2021, to be held on the campus of Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa.

Synod 2019 adopted changes to Church Order Articles 39 and 42 as proposed by Synod 2018, including a description of what classis does, to “offer one another mutual support and accountability, and find ways to live out a collective calling within their region.” And it added details on the role of regional pastors: “The regional pastor’s task is to support and encourage all who are pastors and to ensure that newly ordained pastors in the CRC are engaged in a mentoring relationship.”

Synod approved the transfer of All Nations Church in Bakersfield, Calif., from Classis Greater Los Angeles to Classis Ko-Am and the transfer of Bethany Korean CRC in Burbank, Calif., from Classis Greater Los Angeles to Classis Hanmi.

Synod approved the action of the Council of Delegates with respect to two appeals regarding a decision of Classis Chicago South. (The Council did not sustain the appeals related to the manner in which a union congregation was allowed to form with Calvin CRC in Oak Lawn, Ill., and Calvary RCA (Reformed Church in America) in Orland Park, Ill.)

Synod established a standing committee for the purpose of reviewing Bible translations for potential use in the CRCNA.

Synod 2019 created a new classis, Classis Northern Cascades, that will include 11 congregations drawn from the northern part of Classis Pacific Northwest.

In the matter of two personal appeals, synod did not sustain the appeal of Ms. J. De Wit from a decision of Classis Iakota on March 5, 2019, and synod did sustain the appeal of Ms. D. Kamer from a decision of Classis Holland on May 3, 2018

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