Once again Synod has bowed to the patriarchs by forbidding female elders to serve communion at Synod's worship service. Isn't it about time for the patriarchs to compromise OR not to be so overly sensitive to women serving?
Isn't it about time for Synod not to make half-hearted decisions but to give women all the privileges of the church offices i.e. serving communion , as they undoubtedly do in their home churches? We have catered and compromised long enough. Many are leaving the CRC over this waffling attitude! "
Synod 2008 Seeks Balance on Women in Office
Synod tried to show sensitivity to both sides of the women-in-office issue as it made decisions this week.
On Wednesday evening, delegates voted to discontinue the appointment of women advisers to Synod, since women now participate as delegates. On Thursday morning, Synod said that worship services during Synod should be planned to “show sensitivity for both views held in the denomination on women in office,” including the serving of communion.
But the decisions did not come easily, as delegates walked a fine line between the two positions on the issue.
As delegates wrestled with a proposal to end the practice of women advisers, they struck out wording that said synod was “rejoicing…thankful for the women delegates present this year and trusting that [the church] will continue along this path…”
“I can understand how difficult it is for them when Synod is asked with one voice to rejoice and be thankful,” said Rev. Ken Vander Horst, Classis Lake Erie.
But some delegates would have liked to go a step further by establishing a threshold number of women delegates. If the delegate threshold were not reached, additional women would be appointed as advisers – as is the practice with ethnic advisers.
It’s not easy to trust that significant numbers of women delegates will be sent to synod every year, said Rev. Joan De Vries, Classis Toronto. “I want you to hear my pain also as you have heard the pain of those who spoke on the other side.”
Thursday morning, delegates responded to an overture from Classis Minnkota asking that only men serve communion at synod’s worship services by voting to “instruct the executive director and the convening church of synod to show sensitivity for both views held in the denomination,” as they plan the service and communion.
Some delegates said that peoples’ consciences were offended by the service on Sunday when they were served communion by female elders.
“The consciences of many … who hold to the traditional view are troubled,” said Rev. George Koopmans of Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan. “I believe this recommendation is sensitive to the consciences of many.”
“It’s sad for me to sit here and listen to this,” said Rev. Ronald Chu, Classis California South. “We bind each other so we have to watch what we do and what we say… It’s sad that we don’t give each other the grace, understanding and wisdom to say ‘That’s okay.’”
Synod News Service is provided by the CRC's Office of Communications.