Press Release, Thursday, July 29, 2010
Press Release #3 – July 29, 2010
When Synod convened at 8:00 on Thursday morning, the delegates received greetings from Dr. Hubert Krygsman of Redeemer University College and from Rev. Ben Westerveld, ecumenical observer from the Eglise Reformee du Quebec. Other addresses where heard throughout the morning. Dr. Cornel Venema spoke about the work going on at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Rev. Andrea Ferrari of Christ United Reformed Church, Santee, California reported on the mission work taking place in Italy. Rev. Paul Murphy of Messiah’s Reformed Fellowship informed the delegates about the work of church planting in New York City.
During the morning session, Synod dealt with the matter of ecumenical relations.
One of the tasks of synod is to determine the status of our ecumenical relations with various other federations and denominations. This process has three phases—Corresponding Relations, Ecclesiastical Fellowship, and Church Union. With great joy, synod voted to move our federation into Phase 2 with the Eglise Reformee de Quebec (Reformed Church of Quebec). Synod took note of the blessing of this decision by pausing to sing the doxology and offer a prayer of thanks to God for this blessing to our federation. Synod chose to withhold action on the recommendation to make this move with the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America.
The United Reformed Churches in North America is a member of North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) along with nine other denominations and federations. One of the privileges of membership is ratifying the membership of others who will be welcomed as members of NAPARC. Synod voted to ratify the memberships of the Canadian Reformed Churches and the Presbyterian Reformed Church. Synod also voted to consider the five other members of NAPARC which are not already in Phase One or Two of ecumenical relations with the United Reformed Churches to be in Phase One. They are the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, the Heritage Reformed Congregations, the Korean American Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church in America, and the Presbyterian Reformed Church.
Synod took up the appeal from Hills United Reformed Church that asked synod to regard the Nine Points of Pastoral Advice adopted at Synod Schererville 2007 as null and void. This appeal was made on procedural grounds, without addressing the theology of the Nine Points. After extensive debate, synod voted not to sustain the appeal.
Throughout the afternoon, synod had the pleasure of hearing from more of its guests. Rev. Hans Uittenbosch gave an update on the work of the Seafarer’s Ministry. Rev. John Koopman, ecumenical observer from the Free Reformed Church brought greetings to our synod. Rev. Reuben Sernas reported on the Spanish-speaking ministry in Ontario, California. Rev. Kalala Kabongo, ecumenical observer from the United Reformed Church in Congo informed the synod about what God is doing in that country. Rev. Allen Vander Pol explained his work with Miami International Theological Seminary. Rev. Larry Johnson spoke about the church planting efforts in Prinsburg, Minnesota.
As a relatively young federation, we are still develping our synodical prodecures. The synod was presented with a set of definitions to distinguish the various types of actions that it takes. These definitions explain the following terms: Doctrinal Affirmation, Pastoral Advice, Study Committee Reports, and Synodical Judgments. However, our youth is still manifesting itself. After discussing this for some time, the synod voted to commit this matter to the Synodical Rules Committee.
During the evening session, synod received greetings and reports from Rev. Yonson Dethan of the Calvinist Reformed Churches in Indonesia, Rev. David Fraser of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Rev. Derrick Vander Meulen of Kauai Reformation Church, Kauai, Kauai, Hawaii.
Synod spent part of the evening in strict executive session responding to appeals.
Synod recessed at 11:30 p.m., and will take up its work again tomorrow morning at 8:00.