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.”