CRC in Canada Reviews Governance Restructuring in Virtual Town Hall Sessions

CRC in Canada Reviews Governance
Three online town hall sessions offered updates on the CRC in Canada restructuring process.
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In November, the Christian Reformed Church's Canadian Ministries director, Darren Roorda, and restructuring consultant, Chris Bosch, hosted online "town hall" sessions to share with attendees “a draft of Canadian ministry priorities, and (offer) clarification on the process thus far as well as possible next steps.” The invitation, sent by email, was open to “any member or participant of any Christian Reformed congregation in Canada.”

The organization of Canadian ministry has undergone a shift, initiated in February 2020, after legal counsel advised on concerns raised about Canadian charitable law. An interim organizational structure is now being reviewed by the Canadian Restructuring Team. That team has been given the mandate by the Council of Delegates and the CRCNA Canada Corporation to “investigate and recommend how best to structure the Canadian CRC to ensure operational independence while preserving the desire for bi-national collaboration and optimal ministry effectiveness.”

Three online video calls were offered Nov. 18, 19, and 21. About 100 people attended over the three sessions. Participants were encouraged to provide feedback, ask questions, and discuss with each other in small groups in order to develop a better understanding of how ministry in Canada functions.

A slide sharing the “‘How’ of our mandate” described three aspects of the process: ensuring Canada Revenue Agency compliance for a Canadian charity; recommending to the board a structure, staffing, and revenue model that aligns well with Canadian ministry priorities; and consulting widely with CRC ministry leaders (Canada and the U.S.), classes, and the local church to ensure alignment and congruence.

The restructuring team said they are now ending the "consulting with the church" phase, having conducted "learning and listening" from March to June, "drafting priorities" in July and August, and "consulting with Canadian teams" August to September. From now until March 2021 the team will focus on "creating a national expression within the one CRCNA." The presenting of such an expression to the governance bodies of the CRC would happen in April and May, according to the team's timeline.

In response to a question of the cost of preparations around restructuring, Roorda told town hall attendees, “There are some rumours going around that this will cost three quarters of a million dollars to have this compliance happen, but that is false. This is actually a free process, to get compliance, unless we have to hire lawyers, which we do have to do for some of the work.” He said those legal costs, and the hiring of Bosch, “are all wrapped up in administrative expenses.”

Clarifying these town hall remarks to The Banner, Roorda declined to give a specific number for the costs, saying, “The dollar value is negligible. … I could go diving for a number, but I don't think that is fair since no other year does anyone ask how much things fitting into administrivia cost.”

In the town hall, Roorda said, “The fruit of this exercise (is) to becom(e) compliant and then thinking about (how) the alignment of the organization is meant to be a group of CRC churches within Canada from the pew to the council room to the classes to the denominational agencies and structures that all are saying ‘Yes and Amen!’ to the same vision.”

About the Author

Kristen Parker is a freelance writer. She has a passion for words and creativity. Kristen and her husband Chris, enjoy board games and thrift shopping. Kristen attended Barrie First CRC her whole life, though she has recently moved to Toronto.

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Though one can appreciate the COD / Canadian Ministries is working to address the alignment of CRC ministries with CRA / charity legislation – key to understanding developments on this matter are the reservations that have been expressed in communications to Synod 2020, but also in the Banner, Network, etc. To-date Canadian Ministries / COD has dismissed those expressed reservations.

Now reservations are being expressed by a number of classes that the COD / CRCNA Canada Corp. / Canadian Ministries is operating outside of the parameters of Church Order as an appointed body of Synod, the oversight assembly. One might argue that the COD / CRCNA Canada Corp. / Canadian Ministries is appropriating “deliberative” functions that more properly belong with delegates at Synod, as one of three “assemblies” of the CRCNA. In particular see:

Postma, Gayla R. “Classis Watch: Fall 2020” Banner 2020-12-08 https://www.thebanner.org/news/2020/12/classis-watch-fall-2020

Classis Toronto will send a request to Synod 2021 to halt all proceedings related to the administrative restructuring of the Canadian CRCNA churches “as the actions taken by Canadian representatives serving on the denomination’s Council of Delegates and the CRCNA’s Canada Corporation are in violation of Church Order Article 27(a) and Article 28(c).” Classis Alberta South & Saskatchewan will send a similar request, as “such a move is unnecessary as the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) has not communicated that the CRCNA Canada is in violation of current tax law.”

 

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