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Synod Observations from First Time Delegates

 Janet deWinter and David Nightingale are first-time delegates from Classis Toronto.
Janet deWinter and David Nightingale are first-time delegates from Classis Toronto.
Photo by Bryan Haley
June 13, 2022 - 

One hundred eighty-three delegates are committed to a week of long meetings, voting, and serious conversations at the Christian Reformed Church’s Synod 2022. In between the mentally strenuous events, delegates are laughing with old friends, connecting with new brothers and sisters in Christ, praying with each other, and are at risk of being sprayed with a colorful water squirter. One hundred and three of the delegates are first-timers. 

Early on, there seems to be a positive attitude among delegates, and people are expressing thankfulness for the opportunity to be there. 

Barb Bulthuis, an elder from Classis Rocky Mountain, said she is connecting with people from her college days that she hasn’t seen in 30 years. She added, “It’s wonderful to hear the perspectives of a variety of people, especially in conversations over meals and coffee.” 

Dominic Palacios, a minister from Rocky Mountain, said his favorite part is seeing several old friends from seminary and hearing about their lives. Palacios encouraged future delegates to “come in ready to be engaged.”  

Though synod might seem daunting, new attendees are not in the minority. First-time delegates make up 56% in 2022—lower than at Synod 2019 which had 58% first-time delegates.  

“It’s overwhelming, but I also feel like it’s an honor to be here,” said Marilyn Stulen, a deacon from Classis Lake Superior. She said synod is a good experience for anyone to attend at least once, “to see how the church operates and makes decisions.”

David Nightingale, a deacon from Classis Toronto, said that connecting with other delegates from across the continent and having face-to-face conversations is valuable. He also appreciates “the learning experience in terms of the work of the denomination, programs, and agencies.”

Each person who shared their experience agreed that synod is a valuable experience and an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the denomination.

Linda Witte, a deacon from Classis Georgetown, said, “I would encourage anyone to come to synod just to feel the body of Christ working together for the greater purpose.”

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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