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Meeting by video conference Feb. 14-16, the Council of Delegates of the Christian Reformed Church in North America took several actions in its role as the interim committee of synod, the annual general assembly of the CRCNA.

The Council heard about and approved a project called “Gather,” which will seek stories of renewal from the classes (regional assemblies) in 10 gatherings hosted over the next year. It approved a proposed ministry share distribution for budget making and received an update on the ongoing review of the ministry share system (pledges collected from the churches to cover denominational and shared ministry expenses). And the Council made allowances to run Synod 2024 more effectively, including convening with an online opening session May 29 and hosting an online introductions-only session for advisory committees.

The individual ministry boards for the U.S. and Canada also met Feb. 15, sharing their operational actions with the full Council.

Other actions taken by the Council of Delegates at the February meeting include the following:

  • Giving provisional affirmation to recommendations from the Global Vision Team, whose revised report will come back to the Council in May for inclusion in the supplemental agenda to Synod 2024. The team was charged with developing “a conceptual framework for a global Christian Reformed Church” as a response to requests from classes looking for guidance or support in integrating non-North American congregations wishing to affiliate with the CRCNA.
  • Appointing two people to fill recent vacancies on the Assisted Suicide Task Force, a team that is to report to Synod 2025.
  • Acknowledging a new form from synodical services to solicit interest from individuals in the CRC with potential expertise and experience to serve on denominational task forces, committees, or other roles.
  • Expanding the mandate of the Virtual Church Team, which is charged with creating a “report that gives thought to and a theological framework for the possibilities and parameters of a virtual church.” Besides addressing “the marks of the true church articulated in the Belgic Confession” and exploring opportunities and pitfalls for online ministry (Acts of Synod 2023, p. 979), the report now also should “address the important theological, missiological, pastoral, and polity implications of a virtual church.” Synod 2023 mandated that “the report should be presented to the Council of Delegates for discernment,” without indicating a timeline. (See “Synod 2023 Considers ‘Virtual Churches,’ Doesn’t Rule on Their Validity,” June 13, 2023.)
  • Taking note of “challenges related to planning and the timing of synodical assignments along with the clarification of expectations to Synod.” For example, for assignments that come in June, when planning is already in place for the fiscal year starting in July, implementation might not be possible until 24 months after synod made the assignment.
  • Making several additions to the charters of Council of Delegates committees, including for the Governance Committee, to “appoint non-COD members to serve on committees and ensure agreement with Statement of Agreement with Beliefs of the CRCNA, the Code of Conduct, and signing the Conflict of Interest” (change underlined). This conveys that the expectations set for Council of Delegate members are also required of non-COD members who have roles on committees that report to the Council. A member of the Banner Advisory Committee whose term was up for renewal opted not to take another term as a result of this change. “I question the wisdom of probing non-officeholders in this way (on beliefs, not conduct or conflict of interest), especially when they are just advisers who are volunteering their expertise,” said former Banner Advisory Committee member Dan Hawkins.
  • Requesting the Bible Translation Committee review the Easy-to-Read Version of the Bible for use in worship.
  • Agreeing on the topic of “evangelism” as the board development theme for the Council’s May meeting.

The Council of Delegates is the ecclesiastical governance board of the CRC, acting on behalf of synod in between meetings of synod. One delegate from each of the 49 classes and several at-large delegates comprise the Council. Its next meeting is scheduled for May 1-3 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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