Delegate Dave Struyk, Classis Grand Rapids South, left Synod 2023 in protest Thursday morning, June 15, “on behalf of the pain that was caused to many LGBTQ+ people.”
“Because of the message we sent to many LGBTQ+ people—including my son—I will be leaving synod in protest,” Struyk said. Gathering his belongings and walking toward the door, he was intercepted by a few delegates and others who lined up to hug him.
The previous day, Struyk shared on the floor of synod that his son Ryan has been an inspiration to him. Ryan Struyk came out as gay 12 years ago and has a vibrant faith and a love for the church, his father said yesterday.
“I’m not doing this for attention,” Dave Struyk told The Banner on his way out. “What’s hard is the sense that a group at synod wasn’t really open to deliberation and, unfortunately, they had the majority. I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless. Nobody from the LGBTQ community has had the opportunity to express their reaction to what Synod decided.” (That sentiment was also expressed on the floor of synod, and synod was reminded that there is one celibate pastor who is gay among the delegation to Synod 2023.)
Struyk said he was inspired to act by a Facebook post from his son the previous night that accused synod of a “complete lack of empathy.”
As Struyk made his way out, synod president Paul DeVries asked delegates to bow their heads. “We pray that we will strive for full restoration,” he prayed.
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.
About the Author
Roxanne VanFarowe is a freelance writer who claims both Canadian and American citizenship and grew up in the Christian Reformed Church. She is a member of Blacknall Presbyterian Church in Durham, North Carolina.