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With Synod 2020 canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, candidates approved for ministry in the Christian Reformed Church did not get the usual send-off ceremony, traditionally a highlight of the annual synod. 

Instead, the Council of Delegates, acting on behalf of Synod 2020, approved their candidacy and  hosted a special presentation via Zoom, June 17. David Koll, candidacy committee director, and Jul Medenblik, president of Calvin Theological Seminary, were among those who spoke words of encouragement to the candidates. 

A PowerPoint presentation showed the photo and name of each candidate as their names were read. Many of the candidates joined the Zoom call. A recording of the ceremony was subsequently provided for candidates, their family and friends, and interested CRC members. 

There are 36 candidates this year. Eight are women and 15 are persons of color. Koll noted that for the first time ever, women and persons of color outnumber the number of white male candidates. 

One of the candidates this year is Christopher Tibben. “Things were much different than any of us expected with the send-off being an online video rather than an in-person experience,” he said. “We all understand why it has to be this way. I feel very good about it as the joys of being graduated, confirmed, and officially a candidate is great no matter what form it comes in! I know this is the sentiment of my fellow students as well. Many are ready to hit the field running when it comes to ministry.”

“(The candidates) had a very unusual spring, so this is just one of many changes,” said Koll regarding the virtual ceremony. “I'm hoping this event, in the context of the virus limitations, will stay in their memory and their heart as a point of encouragement as they move into ministry."

Following the presentation, the delegates raised their hands to their screens to pray over the candidates.

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