In response to two requests that the denomination’s restructuring process be halted, the Council of Delegates, acting in lieu of Synod 2021, said that in practical terms, “it does not seem possible to halt the process.” The Council met in special session by video conference June 15 and 16 due to the cancelation of synod, the Christian Reformed Church’s normally annual leadership meeting.
With people in two senior positions already working beyond their announced retirement dates, the Council said that the current structure is “untenable for much longer.”
In other words, the horse is out of the barn.
The Council at several points over the past months has repeated that the decisions and actions of the Council are not final but must be decided on by Synod 2022. However, the Council will come to Synod 2022 with new job descriptions for the senior leadership positions being proposed, and candidates to fill those positions.
The restructuring of the denomination’s governance and senior leadership is intended to solve issues of compliance with Canada Revenue Agency rules for nonprofit organizations. Interim changes were put in place in February of 2020.
An overture (request) from Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan asserted that the change is unnecessary. “Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has not communicated that the CRCNA Canada Corporation is in violation of current tax law,” the overture states. The same overture posits that the Council, in soliciting the tax opinion in the first place, acted well outside its mandate.
And Classis Toronto said in its overture that the Council of Delegates’ Canadian members acted in violation of the CRC’s Church Order by overstepping its authority. The Church Order contains the rules the churches covenant together to uphold.
The Council observed that the overtures “contain some inaccurate and/or incomplete information. For example, there has been no attempt to create two denominations.”
It reiterated its belief that the Council has “acted with the same intent and commitment” as expressed in the overtures—to “emphasize our unity as a binational church.”
In May 2021 the Council recommended to Synod 2022 a model structure that would create the Office of the General Secretary, with two leadership positions: general secretary and chief administrative officer for the whole denomination, and an executive director-Canada position to oversee all CRC ministries in Canada.