Monday, April 7, 2008

CRC Poised For Big Step

I thought I would post this one quickly as I have had 6 emails about this already. Good work! Must be the buzz of the day. For those of you trying to decipher the photo to the right it is purportedly the cover of the Acts of Synod circa 1857 JofA

Christian Reformed Church poised for 'big step'

Posted by Chronicle News Service April 05, 2008 19:46PM

Categories: Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS — Denominational tradition will yield to Scriptural inclusiveness when women serve for the first time as delegates at the Christian Reformed Church in North America's annual Synod, one local pastor said.

"The Bible speaks more often and forcefully that all are one in Christ, all are given gifts in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, and all are given an opportunity and privilege to do so," said the Rev. Thea Leunk, pastor of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church. "It speaks to our desire as a denomination to be inclusive, and this is a big step in that direction."

Leunk is one of seven female pastors and 24 women of the 188 delegates appointed to participate as delegates in Synod 2008 this June at Calvin College.

The back-and-forth struggle ended when the Synod voted last year to strike the word "male" from the church order as a requirement for ecclesiastical office bearers, said the Rev. Gerald Dykstra, CRC executive director.

The 2007 Synod also opened the way for CRC congregations to ordain women as ministers, elders, deacons or ministry associates.

Predictably, the decision did not sit well with everyone, Dykstra said. Many still believe the Bible prohibits women from leading and teaching in churches, he said.

So far, six classes, a group of churches within a geographical region, have declared women should not be allowed to serve as delegates, while another classis is sending female delegates under protest.

The CRC has 47 classes: 12 in Canada and 35 in the U.S.

"There are those who are disappointed with the decision, and those who are excited, and those tensions will be part of Synod this year," Dykstra said.

Leunk said she doesn't believe the Bible bars women from serving as church leaders.

"It's just like race or ethnicity," she said. "It's not a reason a person is a lesser member of the church or should have fewer opportunities in the church."

This year's Synod also will decide if the addition of women delegates means that a panel of women advisers that made recommendations to Synod committees is no longer needed.

"We first have to make sure we don't need women advisers anymore," said Leunk, who served on that panel for two years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's great news. Looks like the handwriting is on the wall!
Would Exeter CRC be wise to " get with the programme" rather than being forced to, perhaps, later on?
Some of us hope that Synod will be more decisive and forceful this year , actually making a decision that ALL CONGREGATIONS must put gifted people of non-Dutch ethnicity, gender or whoever else may be discriminated against, on nomination and on the ballot.
Even using lots would avoid the popularity contest which often muddies the water. If Synod took that step, then congregations would decide the outcome by voting. If lots were used, the outcome would be even more impartial! The best scenario in my opinion........