Skip to main content

Council of Delegates’ Address Commits to Binationality, Updates on Building Moves

Council of Delegates’ Address Commits to Binationality, Updates on Building Moves
Steven Herppich

Michael Ten Haken, a pastor at Ridgewood Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Mich., and chair of the CRC’s Council of Delegates, addressed Synod 2024 on Saturday, June 15, one of two speeches received that night. (See also “General Secretary Says God is Planting Seeds in the CRCNA.”) Highlighting some work of the Council over the past year, he noted in particular a commitment to continued binational—U.S. and Canada—ministry.

Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. It is meeting June 14-20 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Ten Haken and the Council of Delegates vice-chair Greta Luimes are attending synod as advisers. In addition to their roles on the COD executive, they each serve as the chairs of the U.S. and Canada ministry boards. Ten Haken reminded delegates of the Council’s role, serving on behalf of synod, and the significant time and energy the volunteer delegates give to their board service. “I would encourage each of you to know who your classical delegate is, thank them for their service, and pray for them regularly,” Ten Haken said.

Ten Haken mentioned the Council’s work to “strengthen our bonds with our three denominationally-affiliated ministry partners—Calvin University, Calvin Theological Seminary, and World Renew,” through a new Connections Committee that increases sharing, support, and feedback between the institutions.

Ten Haken also mentioned the Council’s recent effort to spend more time in prayer, noting that he’s “grateful to see synod embracing, more and more, the importance and centrality of prayer.”

“Flawed though we may be, if this, or any, denomination is going to flourish, it will be through regular and intentional prayer—asking that his kingdom come, and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Part of Ten Haken’s speech emphasized the denomination’s cross-border commitment. “Please know that the Council of Delegates remains very committed to working binationally,” Ten Haken said, commending the effectiveness of the restructuring model that synod approved two years ago. “By living into this new structure we are not only ensuring legal and regulatory compliance with federal law in both countries, we are also identifying clear and definable areas of accountability and collaboration through our Joint Ministry Agreements. We and the CRCNA staff remain committed to this work and want to encourage all of you toward the same,” Ten Haken said.

There is a group, Toward CRC Canada, organized by a steering team of six, which includes two pastors and a retired pastor in the CRCNA, “who feel that the time is right for the CRCNA to birth a distinct, independent Christian Reformed denomination in Canada that will continue to partner with the Christian Reformed Church in the U.S.” rather than continue with the binational model, its website describes. The website says the group is growing, but it has no official status with the CRCNA or with the Canadian Ministry Board of the CRC. Canadian delegates to Synod 2024 have been invited by the group to a presentation June 18 in Grand Rapids at the Woodlawn CRC Ministry Center.

Regarding ministry in the U.S., Ten Haken shared about the recently approved sale of the property at 1700 28th Street in Grand Rapids to the grocery chain Meijer, which currently has a gas station just south of the CRC property and a Meijer superstore across the street to the west. “The facility located there has served this denomination well for over six decades, and we are grateful to God for his provision of that space,” Ten Haken said, noting that a new era of ministry requiring fewer staff members and “a more geographically dispersed workforce” means “that our current location became much larger than we now have need for.”

A smaller facility—more than 100,000 square feet smaller, Ten Haken said—has been acquired at 300 East Beltline in Grand Rapids. “This new CRCNA Ministry Support Center, along with the denominational offices in Burlington, Ont., will, by God’s grace, serve the CRCNA in both the U.S. and Canada and indeed around the world for many decades to come if, indeed, the Lord tarries,” Ten Haken said. He asked for prayer for the staff for the transition. They expect to move into the new building after necessary renovations of the new space, which should begin by early 2025.

Synod 2024 is meeting June 14-20 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Find daily coverage from The Banner news team at Visit for the synod schedule, webcast, recordings, photos, committee reports, and liveblog. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church.

We Are Counting on You

The Banner is more than a magazine; it’s a ministry that impacts lives and connects us all. Your gift helps provide this important denominational gathering space for every person and family in the CRC.

Give Now