On May 25, 2022, synod opened with a virtual convening at 6 p.m. Eastern, running a bit over time and closing at 9:30 p.m. During the session attendees worshiped and prayed together and then elected the officers—president, vice president, clerk and second clerk—for Synod 2022. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.
The delegates used Zoom and an online voting platform, and after a few mishaps and technical challenges, they were able to successfully elect a slate of officers with a variety of experiences and backgrounds.
Rev. Jose Rayas, 62, was elected president. Rayas is the pastor at Valley Ridge Community Church in Socorro, Texas. A very experienced officer, this is Rayas’ 14th synod, and he has previously served as vice president and first clerk. He served that position in 2019, making him part of the longest-serving program committee (the officers of the previous synod) in synod’s history. According to William Koopmans, the president of Synod 2019, that program committee has been functioning for 1,070 days. Rayas also served on the synodical human sexuality committee and the liturgical forms committee.
Due to Rayas’s involvement on the synodical human sexuality committee, he will have to step down as chair when that report is discussed on the floor of synod. Following the rules of procedure, the vice president will preside over those deliberations.
Synod 2022’s vice president is Rev. Derek Buikema, 37. He’s the pastor at Orland Park (Ill.) CRC, and this is his second time attending synod. He is an adjunct professor of theology at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill. Buikema serves on the Chicago South classis interim committee and chairs the classis ministries leadership team.
The first clerk is Rev. Aaron Vriesman, 43, the pastor at North Blendon CRC in Hudsonville, Mich. It is his third time at synod.
Luann D. Sankey, 68, was elected as the second clerk. This is Sankey’s first synod, and she is coming as a deacon delegate from Classis Central California.
Addressing synod as the newly elected president, Rayas said, “At this synod, we have a large number of delegates coming for the first time, and perhaps it feels like a daunting task to be called to do what we are called to do. My suggestion is fear not because the Lord has provided all that is necessary to call out this work for him. … The task we have at Synod 2022 is going to be a historical one, and it’s going to require a lot of wisdom. Let our wisdom be the Lord’s wisdom.”
Synod 2022 is meeting at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod, download the Banner app on your mobile device, follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook, or subscribe to the daily synod news digest. On Twitter follow #crcsynod or twitter.com/crcna. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church (it did not gather in 2020 or 2021). Connect to the meeting’s livestream, read advisory committee reports, and find other resources at crcna.org/synod.