Synod: What It Is and How it Works

Synod What It Is and How it Works
| |

Every May The Banner publishes an article with a title like “Synod 2022: What to Watch.” It’s a preview of the expected stories to come out of that year’s general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. But before you can wonder what to watch for, you might need to know what synod is.

Synod is a gathering of delegates representing all 49 classes (regional groups of local churches). Each classis may send four officebearers (a minister, an elder, a deacon and one more of any office). Faculty advisers from the seminary, ethnic advisers, and young adult representatives also attend synod. The denomination’s governmental handbook, Rules for Synodical Procedure, guides how the annual synod is run. (It’s also available in Spanish and Korean.)

All delegates and advisers are appointed to one of eight or nine advisory committees, which are assigned various sections of the synod agenda to review—usually by similar topic (e.g., church order matters, global mission and ministry). After the classes have submitted their list of delegates, the program committee of synod (officers of the previous synod) appoints members to the advisory committees based upon a number of matters and rules. No two delegates from the same classis may serve on the same committee. The program committee also considers expressed committee preference, conflicts of interest (for example an overture from their classis), diversity (including of region, ethnicity, and gender), a balance between committees of the number of delegates from each office (ministers, deacons, and elders), and more. Dee Recker, director of synodical services, said it’s a careful day-long process. Read more about what the various committees do starting on page 12 of Rules for Synodical Procedure

For the first few days of synod the advisory committees meet to deliberate together. The committee meetings are not held in open session. The Rules say, “The advisory committees shall summarize matters before them and formulate recommendations with respect to these matters” (p. 13). When the committees present their recommended actions to synod in plenary sessions, The Banner will report on what delegates say about each matter as it’s dealt with and on how synod decides on each matter. Not all of the sessions will be in open session, but when they are open, The Banner will be there. Read more about the rules of order for synod, including rules on closed sessions, starting on page 20 of Rules for Synodical Procedure

Now you’re ready for what to watch.


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, or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook. 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.


 

About the Author

Alissa Vernon is the news editor for The Banner.

X