Denominational Services oversees the work of Christian Reformed agencies and specialized ministries and provides funds for synodical expenses and offices, the Board of Trustees, and general administration.
Specialized Ministries serve the church by initiating, designing, and implementing ministry programs in the areas of Abuse Prevention, Urban Aboriginal Ministries, the Committee for Contact with the Government (Canada), Chaplaincy Ministries, Disability Concerns, Pastor-Church Relations, Race Relations, and Social Justice and Hunger Action.
Abuse Prevention’s mission is threefold: to create awareness of various forms of abuse against persons of all ages, to help churches reduce the risk of an incident of abuse, and to help churches promote healing and restoration through a just and effective response to victims and offenders.
To support this mission we offer education, training, resources, policies, protocols, and consultation services. In addition, we train classis Safe Church Teams to conduct the advisory panel process and encourage teams to assist churches with educational opportunities.
In September churches had the opportunity to create awareness of child abuse and domestic violence by ordering bulletin inserts and inexpensive booklets. If you missed ordering them, Faith Alive Christian Resources, in partnership with Abuse Prevention, will keep inserts and booklets in stock in small quantities so that churches may order these resources throughout the year.
This year, for the first time, the Classical Safe Church Team chairpersons are meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich., to learn how to network via computer with churches and to share best practices with each other. Nineteen chairpersons are attending the two-day event, which will include planning for expanding the role of the Classis Safe Church Team.
Later this year the office of Abuse Prevention will release a revised edition of Preventing Child Abuse: Creating Safe Places. The revised book contains new appendices and covers new topics such as sexual harassment, bullying, and integrating sexual offenders. This fourth edition includes a broader array of policies for the benefit of nonprofit organizations that serve the needs of youth and may be church-based or independent of churches.
In a co-publishing venture, Abuse Prevention and Faith Alive announce the publication of a book for teenagers on healthy sexuality. The book offers a refreshingly honest approach to sexuality with plenty of zany humor to relieve the tension the topic evokes. Providing a biblically-based perspective on sexuality is a necessary foundation for preventing abuse in later years.
Beth A. Swagman, director
552 churches report implementing a child safety policy.
Chaplains are called by the church to extend the ministry of Christ to people in institutions and through professional chaplain organizations. Chaplaincy Ministries coordinates that ministry for the Christian Reformed Church.
Rev. Herman Keizer Jr. retired as director of Chaplaincy Ministries on July 1, 2008. He will serve part-time until a replacement is selected.
The CRC has 123 chaplains: 93 full-time, 23 part-time, and seven in the National Guard and Reserves. This is a blessing because we have had several retirements in the past few years.
One of the amazing aspects of chaplains’ ministry is that it takes place in many secular institutions and organizations. When chaplains address the spiritual needs of people in secular institutions or workplaces, it enables the denomination to provide more than $6 million in ministry at very little cost to the church, since the institutions hire and pay their chaplains.
Chaplaincy Ministries has been blessed to have two chaplains in the Canadian Armed Forces. We also have chaplains serving in Iraq who minister to members of the U.S. military and their families in a long and difficult war. Pray for them and for the military personnel. Many soldiers and Marines are on their second or third deployments.
Rev. Herman Keizer, Jr., director
616-224-0733 or 0844
There is a continuing need for chaplains in the U.S. Army, especially the Reserves.
Two chaplains are serving in the Canadian Army.
There are several chaplains in Clinical Pastoral Education, including supervisor training.
Chaplains feel supported by the prayers you offer on their behalf.
Among the unique ministries that the Christian Reformed Church operates in Canada are three ministry centers working with aboriginal people. These ministries are located in the urban cores of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Regina, Saskatchewan; and Edmonton, Alberta.
The Indian Metis Christian Fellowship in Regina celebrated its 30th anniversary this year. It holds a daily prayer circle at which this prayer is offered up to the Lord:
Creator Father, thank you for a new day.
Thank you for each person in this circle of prayer.
We gather with the faithful creatures of your creation, from all its directions, visible and invisible, to praise you, Gitchie Manito, Yahweh, Ngewo, Lord Jesus.
It is good for us to join the chorus of praise that rises to you from different languages and cultures.
We praise you for making us in your image.
We praise you for loving us even though we have become weak and broken.
We praise you for coming as the Christ child and sacrificing your life for us and calling us to turn to you in repentance so that we may have forgiveness, calling us to turn to you for healing so that we may share that healing with others.
Creator, we ask for this blessing: may each person who comes to Indian Metis Christian Fellowship this day experience your Fatherly love, know the peace of your Son, Jesus Christ, be renewed by your Holy Spirit, in Christian fellowship.
Phone: 905-336-2920 or 800-730-3490
The Urban Aboriginal Ministry Centres are anticipating 34,000 visits by aboriginal people this year.
ServiceLink, the volunteer coordinating ministry, has seen a surge in youth and young adults volunteering with denominational agencies.
The Committee for Contact with the Government now produces “Mobile Justice,” an electronic monthly digest of Canadian justice columns and opinions from the CCG, tailored for the Christian Reformed churches in Canada. See http://www.crcna.org/pages/ccg_mobilejustice.cfm.
Disability Concerns helps churches flourish by including people with disabilities in every aspect of congregational life. In healthy churches, everybody belongs and everybody serves.
With the blessing of the Christian Reformed Church’s Board of Trustees, Disability Concerns has partnered with the Reformed Church in America (RCA). Our joint purpose is as follows:
The disability ministries of the CRC and the RCA will, individually and in partnership, help their congregations to become hospitable, inclusive, and healthy communities that intentionally seek
to end the isolation and disconnectedness of persons with disabilities and their families.
to nurture the spiritual lives of people with disabilities so that they become professing and active members of their churches, and
to encourage the gifts of people with disabilities so that they can serve God fully in their churches.
With Faith Alive, Disability Concerns co-published a book this year by John Cook titled A Compassionate Journey: Coming Alongside People with Disabilities or Chronic Illnesses. The book enables church leaders and members to more effectively care for individuals with disabilities.
Mark Stephenson, director
More than 550 volunteers carry out the work of Disability Concerns across the continent.
We offer free bulk subscriptions to our newsletter, Breaking Barriers, which helps to equip congregations for ministry with people with disabilities.
About 17 percent of people in the U.S. and Canada live with disabilities.
If this statistic holds true in our denomination, about 46,000 CRC people live with disabilities.
Our website features many resources for developing inclusive ministries.
Pastor-Church Relations (PCR) is a ministry through which the Christian Reformed Church provides programs of healing, prevention, and ministry enhancement for ministers, church staff, councils, and congregations.
While PCR has existed for only a short part of the CRC’s 150 years of existence, it serves as a reminder of changing relationships, challenges, and new programs. The staff of PCR is available as a resource for interventions, consultation, education, leadership development, and support.
Ministry share funds allow PCR to provide services even though congregational resources may be limited. In a time of change in the church and the culture, it is crucial to maintain support for one another as a family of congregations.
PCR is in a time of transition. Rev. Duane Visser, who has directed the ministry for 13 years, will retire in January, and Rev. Norm Thomasma will become the director.
In the meantime PCR will be looking for another staff person to do consultation and intervention. This transition of personnel, along with on going response to pastors, ministry staff, and congregations, provides an opportunity and challenge as PCR explores other ways of ministry within the CRC.
Duane A. Visser, director
staff ministry specialist
Norm Thomasma has worked with PCR for six years.
There have been a growing number of educational offerings to the churches.
Church Visitor training is beginning in several classes.
There are a growing number of Ministry Associates entering into leadership in the CRC. These, along with ministry staff, pastors, lay leaders, and congregations, receive support from PCR.
Race Relations provides leadership and assistance to the Christian Reformed Church, congregations, and church members in working to eliminate racism and its effects within the body of believers and throughout the world.
Race Relations uses five ministry tools to do this work: All Nations Heritage Week, the Dance of Racial Reconciliation (DORR) and Widening the Circle (WTC) workshops, the biennial Multiethnic Conference, Race Relations scholarships, and the Women of the Nations conference.
The Office of Race Relations awards an annual scholarship to applicants attending Reformed institutions of higher education. This year, $15,200 was awarded to 16 scholarship recipients from Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, Dordt College, and Kuyper College.
Funding for the scholarships comes from offerings received during All Nations Heritage Sunday celebration services designated to support the work of Race Relations.
DORR training has been in operation since September 2006. In the past year 152 participants have completed the workshops in locations such as Los Angeles, Holland (Mich.) Christian Schools, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, and the CRCNA denominational offices. Another 59 facilitators were added for the DORR and WTC curricula.
Esteban Lugo, director
Steve Kabetu, coordinator (Canada)
The DORR curriculum has been translated into and conducted in Spanish.
The next Multiethnic Conference will be held in June 2009 at Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Ill.
Scholarship information and applications are now available on our website.
A schedule of upcoming DORR workshops can be seen on our website.
Office of Social Justice & Hunger Action
The Office of Social Justice and Hunger Action (OSJHA) responds to God’s call to let justice flow like a river in our personal and communal lives as well as in the structures of our societies.
Check out our social networking website, CRC Justice Seekers, at http://justiceseekers.ning.com. Join others in the CRC as we discuss and reflect on social justice issues from a Reformed perspective with photos, videos, and blog posts.
We continue to build and organize other networks in CRC communities through our monthly e-newsletter, The Advocate, and our website, www.crcjustice.org, which offers study and worship resources, action ideas, and information on issues such as hunger, poverty, refugees, and more.
We’ve also been working hard to promote and support the Micah Challenge, a global Christian movement that aims to deepen our engagement for and with the poor and to urge leaders to live up to their commitments to meet the poverty-fighting Millennium Development Goals.
Peter Vander Meulen
You can sign up for The Advocate and find all sorts of great resources and information at www.crcjustice.org.
To learn more about the Micah Challenge and support the movement by signing the Micah Call, visit www.crcjustice.org and click on the Micah Challenge link.
You can wear a white wristband to show your support for the global call to action against poverty. Make your own or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.