Synod honored Dee Recker, who retired from her role as director of synodical services with the Christian Reformed Church in January 2023, and Joel Huyser, who retires from his work with Resonate Global Mission at the end of June.
Recker served with the denomination for 23 years, and Huyser for 28. Huyser currently serves as the interim director of Resonate, to be replaced by Kevin DeRaaf. whom synod appointed this week.
Synod delegates attended the banquet Wednesday, June 14, taking a break from their conversation about requests related to last year’s human sexuality report. Drew Sweetman, Classis Muskegon, welcomed guests saying that, “despite some of the weightiness,” he encouraged the attendees to view the banquet as an “oasis where we can come together and celebrate.”
Steve Holtrop, Central American regional mission leader with Resonate, worked with Huyser for 22 years. He shared about how Huyser values relationships and is “incredibly skilled in creating clarity and getting folks to a common point.”
“What makes Joel special is how he genuinely cares about the person right in front of him, in that moment,” said Holtrop.
Kathy Smith, polity professor at Calvin Theological Seminary and synod’s parliamentarian, said her friendship with Recker goes back to their college days. Recker has worked at 23 synods, worked for seven senior leaders in the CRC, and led over 70 meetings for the board of trustees and council of delegates.
“She’s one of the sweetest people I know. Always cheerful, always interested in other people’s lives,” said Smith. “I have no doubt Dee will continue to be used by God in many ways in the future.”
Sweetman led a humorous presentation of “Jeopardy—Synod Edition” with Dave Bosscher, Classis Thornapple Valley; Harold Caicedo, Classis California South; Willem Delleman, Classis B.C. North-West; and Herb Schreur, Classis Northcentral Iowa. With categories including “Roberts Rules,” “T.U.L.I.P.,” and “Ministry ‘Shares’,” the five poked fun at some CRC idiosyncrasies.
Michael Bootsma, Classis Hamilton, led an opening devotion. The delegates sang songs selected by Recker and Huyser: “Holy, Holy Holy,” “This is My Father’s World,” and “Ancient Words.” The banquet concluded with eight people reading blessings in eight different languages.
Synod 2023 is meeting June 9-15 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod. Visit crcna.org/synod for the synod schedule, webcast, recordings, photos, committee reports, and liveblog. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.