The four ethnic advisers at this year’s synod bring a variety of perspectives and plenty of combined synod experience.
Catherine Chan, a clinical social worker from Toronto, Ont., is becoming more involved in church matters in her semi-retirement. Of the four, she’s the only first-timer at Synod 2023, the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
“I have always appreciated the CRC for its outreach to the nations, but over the years, I have seen some concerning practices—maybe because people don’t know what they don’t know,” said Chan. She said she would speak up on the floor of synod—and did on the matter of addressing declining membership—if she felt her words could be helpful. “I believe there is a process. We give each other time, patience, and lots of God-given grace to go through process.”
Chan and Darlene Silversmith have struck up a friendship while at synod. Serving together has enriched their role, as they encourage and peer mentor each other, they said.
“Because we are together, I feel that we have a little team of our own,” said Silversmith, who is Navajo and works for Classis Red Mesa. She was an ethnic adviser to last year’s synod and had previously attended synod in supportive roles.
Hyung-jun Kim was also an ethnic adviser last year and read a statement from the Korean Council in support of the human sexuality report. This year, he has not been sent with a message.
Kim said he appreciates the significant Korean presence at synod, since four classes (regional groups of churches) sent a Korean delegate, in addition to the eight delegates from the two Korean classes. Several of those participants formed a choir, which led in worship Monday afternoon, June 12.
William Krahnke, a member of Pease CRC in Pease, Minn., was a young adult representative at the past two in-person synods, 2019 and 2022. “It’s been interesting to serve in a different capacity while retaining my experience from last year,” Krahnke said.
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.