Synod 2022, the Christian Reformed Church’s general assembly, was exceptionally heavy, covering three years’ worth of material due to two canceled synods and deliberating and deciding on the recommendations in the human sexuality report.
It also gave a number of assignments to the CRC’s new general secretary, Zachary King, whose appointment is effective July 1, and to the CRC’s Council of Delegates, the board that carries out the work of synod between meetings of synod. It also passed on several matters to the next synod.
Assignments for the General Secretary
- Instruct the churches to seek and keep unity “in ways that are consistent with biblical principles, Reformed confessions, and ecumenical charter” and “to gather best practices on pursuing unity from various classes and share these with the church.”
- Update the CRCNA's governance documents to reflect a change in Calvin University’s bylaws that allow the university’s board to search for and appoint its own president.
- Curate Human Resources-related best practices and templates, including for congregational short-term disability insurance; study possible denominational and classical benevolence funds for congregations facing short-term disability needs.
- Review and clarify the use of the terms “agency,” “board,” “office,” “ministry,” and similar names for CRCNA entities.
Assignments for the Council of Delegates
- Review the implications of the church-planting activities in Classis Arizona and recommend any needed Church Order changes to help collaborative (Reformed Church in America and CRC) church plants find expression in both denominations.
- Examine congregational responses to the ministry share pledge system, asking why contributions are declining, especially in the U.S.; what other ministry priorities are congregations funding; and more.
- With Pastor Church Resources, review Church Order Articles related to the transition of pastors (Arts. 8, 12, 13, 14, 16, and 17) and bring an interim report to Synod 2023.
- Authority to act on the appointment of a chief administrative officer and all senior-level staff within the Office of General Secretary
Passed on to Synod 2023
- A request to clarify distinctions in categories of “synodical pronouncements, decisions, reports, positions, and advice and the extent to which they bind the churches” (Overture 3, from the Deferred Agendas for Synods 2020-2021)
- A request to appoint a task force to develop Church Order procedures to discipline officebearers, including disaffiliation initiated by a major assembly (Overture 11, from the Agenda for Synod 2022); the task force should also consider adopting an additional supplement to the articles related to church discipline (Overture 7, deferred from 2020)
- Amend Church Order Article 45 to give classes more leeway in formulating delegations to synod (changes in italics)—each classis shall ordinarily delegate one minister, one elder, one deacon and one other officebearer. A classis may only send up to two delegates of the same office.
Other things Synod Did
- Solemnly took note of the pervasive sin of pornography and its harm, and agreed to lead member churches into repentance and healing
- Approved a revised mandate for the historical committee responsible for the CRC’s archives
- Amended the supplement to Church Order Article 40-a to formally allow campus ministers to serve as delegates to classis
- Finalized changes to the Church Order to remove an expectation for two Sunday services
- Recognized Kingdom Network, USA, as a church in dialogue
- Heard that the Ecummenical Interchurch Relations Committee endorsed a continued conversation between Consejo Latino and the CRC in Venezuela where several churches would like to be affiliated with the CRCNA
- Honored Steve Timmermans, former executive director, who resigned February 2020
- Received a review of The New City Catechism, from the CRC’s Faith Formation Ministries
- Recognized three churches celebrating 150-year anniversaries
- Thanked Dee Recker for her years of service; she will retire as director of synodical services before the convening of the next synod
- Adopted the use of a consent agenda—matters that would be taken up in a single motion, without debate, unless requested—in future synods
Things Synod Didn’t Do
- Did not sustain a personal appeal from Rev. D. Roorda
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.