Press Release, Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Press Release #2 – July 28, 2010
Synod spent the entire morning working as Advisory Committees completing most of the work that was given to them.
The afternoon session began by taking up the report of the Songbook Committee. Synod adopted the proposed process for evaluating the hymn suggestions for the new songbook, which says that recommended changes to the list of hymns will be processed by churches sending an overture through classis to the Psalter Hymnal Committee. With regard to the Liturgical Forms Committee, synod voted to encourage the churches to utilize the new forms and prayers that have been presented and to continue to give feedback to the committee.
Synod then turned its attention to the report of the Proposed Joint Church Order Committee. The synod accepted for continued study the PJCO 2010 and instructed the churches that changes should now be directed to the synod by way of overture, rather than to the committee.
The relationship between our churches and the Canadian Reformed Churches took up the rest of the afternoon session and most of the evening session. Synod explicitly reaffirmed without dissent our conviction that the Canadian Reformed Churches are a federation of true faithful churches of Christ, whom we love and respect as fellow-workers in the kingdom. Synod encouraged the churches to facilitate further opportunities for our churches to interact with Canadian Reformed Churches.
In a related matter, the synod voted to receive and approve the work of the Theological Education Committee and to declare that their mandate has been fulfilled and then dismissed the committee with thanks. However, synod did not accept the model proposed by the committee suggesting the use of independent seminaries as well as a seminary under the governance of a Regional Synod. Churches which wish to recommend a model may do so by way of overture.
An amendment of the Church Order was adopted which affects the timeframe for when ratified changes of the Church Order will take effect. Previously, any changes to the Church Order that had been ratified by the consistories of the federation took effect after the next synod. The synodically adopted change will take effect after it has been ratified by the churches, rather than waiting until the next synod.
A number of decisions were made with regard to the website of the federation (www.urcna.org) and its operation and oversight. We trust these will help the website to continue to be an effective tool used for the glory of God and the edification of the churches.
Throughout the day, synod received greetings from a number of guests. Fraternal delegates Rev. Vernon Pollema of the Reformed Church of the United States, and Rev. John Hilbelink of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church brought greetings from their denominations. Two church planters gave updates on their work: Rev. Spencer Aalsburg of the Sioux Falls United Reformed Church, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Rev. Dr. Brian Lee of Christ Reformed Church, Washington D.C. Representatives from two seminaries brought us updates about their institutions: Rev. Steven Oeverman from Westminster Seminary California, and Dr. Gerhard Visscher from the Seminary of the Canadian Reformed Churches. Rev. Richard Bout gave a report of the mission work going on in Tepic, Mexico. Rev. Tony Zekveld spoke of his work among the Sikh at The Hope Centre in Toronto, Canada.
Synod recessed at 10:00 p.m., and will take up its work again tomorrow morning at 8:00.