Synod

Attending Synod has a way of expanding my world. I’m asked to give input into issues, items and discussions that are often larger than my local circle of influence. Organizers have divided some 220 delegates into twelve committees, and I’ve been placed on committee #4. Our committee has been asked to read reports from Faith Formation Ministries, Chaplaincy and Care Ministry, Committee for Contact with the Government/Centre for Public Dialogue; Disability Concerns; Indigenous Ministries Canada, Race Relations, Safe Church, Social Justice and Hunger, and Friendship Ministries. Committee #4 has also been assigned to read, discuss and make recommendations to synod on four of 25 Overtures. Overture #6 is asking Synod not to forget Palestinian Christians and challenging the denomination to follow Christ’s way of Peace, doing Justice and Bringing Reconciliation to the Peoples of Israel and Palestine. I am blessed by the thought that our collective voice is not too insignificant in a screaming world of indifference. We have two overtures asking Synod to declare Kinism Teaching as heresy. I did not even know what Kinism was until I read the overtures. Kinism is using Old Testament teachings that claim inter-racial marriages are not in God’s plan, and that God has ordained separation in a religio-ethnostate that necessitates racial separation in all areas of life. There are strains of such teachings in our reformed historical past which justified apartheid in South Africa for generations, but the Christian Reformed Church of North America has long condemned such teachings and the Belhar Confession has stated all such teachings to be contrary to New Testament realities. It comes to us at Synod this year because one pastor was still preaching from this perspective and ended up leaving our denomination and taking most of his congregation with him. We have also been assigned two opposing overtures which address claims made in Synod 2012 on Climate Change. I’m delighted the overtures have drawn our attention back to that magnificent piece of work, challenging all God’s people to care for God’s creation more intentionally. All of Synod will enter into dialogue on the third-year presentation of a five year study committee and Task Force on Foundation-Laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality. There is lots to talk, pray about, discern and discuss. And we get to do this with 220 delegates from all over North America in a period of five days. Much thought and preparation has already gone into this gathering of reformed thinking believers. You can catch a lot of the working of Synod online. And to think, deliberations such as these, have been happening for generations, every year again.                                              Pastor Sid

Karin Terpstra