Any Christian Reformed Church member over the age of 50 likely remembers changing from leisure clothes back into church clothes to attend an evening worship service. In the winter it meant going back out into the cold. In the summer, that meant leaving the fun being had with neighbor kids.
That practice is no longer required.
Synod had already softened the requirement years ago when it changed Article 51-a of the Church Order to insert “ordinarily”: “The congregation shall assemble for worship, ordinarily twice on the Lord’s Day.” Synod 2019 proposed removing “ordinarily twice” to bring the Church Order into conformity with the practice of many churches. Synod 2022 followed through. (Church Order changes have to be proposed by one synod and enacted by another.)
Synod did add a second part to Article 51, which asks the classes “to affirm the rich tradition of assembling a second time on the Lord’s Day.”
Along with dropping the requirement for two worship services, synod dropped the requirement in Church Order Article 54-b to make one of the services a time to preach from one of the Reformed confessions, especially the Heidelberg Catechism, which is divided into 52 Lord’s Days for just that purpose.
Synod 2019 said that “although it is important for our preaching to reflect the instruction of the Reformed confessions ... a specific obligation for catechetical preaching is an unrealistic expectation when the majority of our congregations do not have a second service.” (Acts of Synod 2019, p. 770.)
With that, an era officially ended. The requirement to change back into church clothes is gone.
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.