Delegates of Synod 2022 spent a long afternoon discussing human sexuality and came outside to a crowd of more than 100 people waving rainbow flags and raising their arms as they sang songs including The Benediction and Jesus Loves Me.
Alicia Mannes is a member of a CRC congregation and was part of organizing the event. She said the goal of the gathering was "to be seen, to be heard, and for delegates to realize the impact their decisions make."
Tom Hoeksema Sr., a member at Grace Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., and former Calvin University professor, is on the board of All One Body. He attended the gathering because, "I want everyone to know that God's love spills out. I want the CRC to know that God's story is one of embrace and welcome."
Byron Elzinga got up at 5 a.m. to drive from Toronto, Ont., to Grand Rapids. "I felt like I needed to be here because there is power in being present," he said. "It has been life-giving to be here and sing with so many people.”
“We recognize our presence likely won't change the outcome (of synod discussions), but in the moment, we will know our purpose: to celebrate or grieve,” said Elzinga. “I know a lot of people are concerned if they'll have a place in the CRC,” he continued. “LGBT members like myself wonder where we'll belong.” He said he was baptized in the CRC and has always loved the liturgical and worship elements of the CRC.
Some delegates who walked by the crowd were affected by their presence. Karen Walker, Classis Hackensack, said, "I was holding back tears. I wanted to go and sing with them. I wish there were a way they could see I'm an ally."
Roger Sparks, Classis Minnkota, said he admired their dedication, even though he disagrees with their convictions, “I'm glad they could express their point of view.”
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.