This year and possibly into the future the Canada Corporation of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (the board of directors that serves the CRC in Canada) has decided to convene two virtual meetings “intended to connect the CRCNA Canada Corp Board with the classes and churches, and to connect the churches and classes with the board,” a July 14 invitation sent to stated clerks in Canada explained. The first meeting will be Sept. 24. Classes (regional groups of churches) in Canada are each invited to send four representatives to the meeting.
“The purpose of this gathering is two-fold,” read an advance notice invitation (sent July 8). It’s “an opportunity for the board to provide an update on the establishment of the Canada Office and other matters related to the implementation of the SALT restructuring report” (see Synod 2022 Adopts New Governance Structure, June 16, 2022) and “a listening time to hear what is bubbling up” as “the decisions around the HSR (human sexuality report) are causing turmoil in some of our churches and classes.” The final agenda is being determined by an ad hoc group formed after an April board workshop, in consultation with the Canada Corporation’s executive committee.
Greta Luimes, treasurer on the executive committee, said, “These gatherings offer a time of honest sharing and careful listening, of building relationships and supporting each other while working together towards the mutual purpose of expanding God's kingdom here in Canada.”
The board said the meetings will be patterned after a January 29, 2022, Canada-wide virtual gathering, which was called at the time to discuss concerns about the still-developing structure changes. “This is a fairly new venture,” the July 14 communication acknowledged, noting that “since this event likely precedes your next classis meeting,” the interim committee or executive in each classis “will need to solicit volunteers who wish to participate in this conversation.” The July 8 invitation said that “while this isn’t an official meeting, and as such the (representatives) do not have official standing, we recommend they be office bearers who can report back to their classis.” The board asked for names to be shared with the board by Sept. 8.
Henry Eygenraam, an at-large director of the Canada Corporation and on the ad hoc committee, told Canadian directors in a July 25 meeting: “Jan. 29 was classes-generated; this (the new proposed meetings) is a Canada Corporation board initiative, and so we are there to fully participate, but also very much to be listening to what we hear from across the country, and what we hear from across the country will go a long way toward helping us understand what our agenda for the January meeting is going to be.”
These virtual Canada-wide gatherings are in addition to the previously established Canada National Gathering, an in-person event for Christian Reformed churches in Canada that happens every three years and last took place in 2019 at The King’s University in Edmonton, Alta. It is next scheduled for May 25-28, 2023, in Ottawa, Ont.