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He’s back! One-time Delegate Returns 50 Years Later

He’s back! One-time Delegate Returns 50 Years Later
Delegate Leo Jonker, with a Hekman Library copy of the Acts of Synod, 1971.
Photo by Steven Herppich

At Synod 1971, Leo Jonker was a 29-year-old elder delegate. Synod discussed the Lord’s Supper, the authority of Scripture, and dancing. All the delegates were male, and synod lasted twice as long as what it does today.

Now aged 80, Jonker is back for his second synod, again as an elder delegate for Classis Quinte. He is enjoying it rather more this time.

“This time, I find it easier to have conversations with others, even if they are of a different mind,” said Jonker, a retired mathematics professor. “Maybe it’s a matter of age and maturity. I’ve become more confident.” 

Although immunocompromised due to a recent kidney transplant, Jonker felt called to serve at the synod that will address the human sexuality report. 

“Delegates are listening to each other better than they were (in 1971),” he remarked. “I have been impressed by the discussions and the affection and the respect that remained in the room (in spite of differences of opinion.)”

Synod 2022 is meeting at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at, download the Banner app on your mobile device, or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook. On Twitter follow #crcsynod or 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

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