Synod 2019 Laments Abuse of Power

Synod 2019 Laments Abuse of Power

Synod 2019 did not stop at accepting and acting on the report of the Abuse of Power committee. After making moves to create an implementation committee and a guardian team—each with several significant steps to seek out, end, and prevent instances of abuse of power—synod paused and grieved together in worship.

Hearing and reading from a litany written by Sharon Fennema, delegates and gathered visitors lamented together:

We came with our stories, and no one heard,
because you did not know how to listen
We came with our wounds, and no one noticed,
Because you could not see past your loyalty.

We join with the Psalmist in crying out:
“I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint.” (Psalm 22:14a)
Those who were supposed to care for me used their power to hurt me.
For the breaching of relationships and the abuse of sacred trust, we cry out.

For the failure to hear believe, and take action in response to reports of abuse, we weep.

Those present were welcomed to bear witness to stories of abuse they themselves carry or stories they know of by taking and placing stones in a pile. “In the Old Testament stones were used by Jacob, Joshua, and Samuel to serve as witnesses and a physical testimony to both what has happened in the past but also to reaffirm their reliance and faith in the sovereign Lord,” said Rev. Carel Geleynse, in words of introduction.


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.

About the Author

Alissa Vernon is a news editor at The Banner.

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