The Christian Reformed Church welcomed seven young adult representatives to Synod 2023 to engage in conversation, network with people in the denomination, and grow in their faith.
Young adult representatives (18- to 26-year-olds) have been welcome to synod since 2009, and this year Ana Timmer, Samantha Brinkman, Samantha Sebastia Pina, Myiah Klinger, Gavin Schaefer, and Luke Nieuwendorp are attending for the first time, and Daniel Choi is joining for his second year.
Choi said he wanted to return to synod because, “we are seeing the results of the decisions that synod implemented last year. I enjoy being at synod because I experienced a foretaste of what kind of meetings I will experience when I become involved in ministry with the CRCNA.” Choi is completing his Master of Divitiy at Regent College in Vancouver, B.C.
Brinkman said, “The conversations and decisions taking place at synod impact my life today and my future as I consider a career working in the church.” She shared about how as a young person pursuing ministry in Canada, she’s often told that the “future of the church” is on her generation’s shoulders. She said, “This can be a daunting sentiment to hear, but if I take it to have any truth, I want to make sure that my generation is a part of the conversations at synod.”
“I wanted to be more involved in the Church, grow in different areas of my faith, and voice my opinions as a young person,” said Sebastia Pina. She said that synod has pushed her to, “be drawn closer to God” and defend her faith “with passion.” Schaefer said he wanted to be at synod because he wanted to get immersed into the “world of the CRC.”
Timmer’s pastor encouraged her to apply to be a representative. She said she “cares very deeply for the future of this church.”
“The decisions that are being made here and now chart the course for the future of the church, for the future of my church,” Timmer said. She sees attending synod as a way to uphold the promises she made to the church at her profession of faith.
Nieuwendorp wants to “encourage the church to stay faithful to the gospel” and is “very thankful for the opportunity to represent” his peers and congregation.
Klinger expressed gratitude and admiration for the “Christ-like examples” of the members on the committee on which she served. Though the decisions were “nuanced and weighty,” they ended with “handshakes, hugs, and tears,” Klinger said. “I have been brought closer to the Lord through the integrity and love of my fellow committee members.”
Choi said, “I hope to see what steps our church will strive (for) to bring unity and whether our decisions at synod will affect aspects like missional outreach and church planting.”
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.