The Christian Reformed Church’s Council of Delegates endorsed a proposal for recognizing the 25th anniversary of women’s ordination in the CRC in 2021. The Council of Delegates, which acts on behalf of the annual synod between meetings of synod, met Feb. 19-21 in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Some delegates advised caution that the celebrations and recognition remain balanced in light of the CRC’s official position on women in ecclesiastical office, which holds that there are two different perspectives and convictions on this issue, both of which honor the Scriptures.
The proposal came from Denise Posie, director of leadership and diversity for the CRC. The proposed plan includes asking for time at Synod 2021 to recognize the milestone anniversary. The denominational offices would be encouraged to develop resources and suggestions, inviting churches and classes to commemorate the occasion from September 2020 through August 2021.
It also proposes sharing stories of women who are ordained and those in training, prepared litanies with scripture and songs, and a designated Sunday to lament for hurt caused to each other concerning theological differences.
Tyler J. Wagenmaker, from Classis Zeeland was one of those who raised a caution. “I’m not saying don’t celebrate this,” he said. “We seek to honor each other, and we understand that we come to different understandings. I celebrate with those (in favour of women in office) and also celebrate the complementarians too.”
Roger W. Sparks, Classis Minnkota, also asked that the church recognize the role of non-ordained women’s involvement in ministry.
Sheila E. Holmes, Classis Hackensack, asked that diversity not be stifled. “God has placed people in ministry,” she said. “We can go forward, even agreeing to disagree, and celebrate what God is doing.”
The Council endorsed the plan, but the minutes of the U.S. delegates included a note suggesting that the planning team consider recognition of the ministry of non-ordained women as well.
No budget was set for the project. It is up to Synod 2020 whether or not to adopt the plan.