The other day I received the fourth provisional agenda for our synod, which is scheduled to begin on May 11. More than one observer has noted that this synod will be a turning point for the Canadian Reformed Churches. Depending on how much value you assign to things, there are at least five big issues on the docket:
- Our relationship with the United Reformed Churches — are we going to press them on whether they’re serious about federative unity?
- Our relationship with the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands — are we going to say something substantial about their current direction?
- Our seminary — the appointment of two new professors and the possibility of a fifth professor and the establishment of a missions department.
- The issue of women’s voting — will we accept a majority report (that favours women’s voting) or the minority report (that opposes)? Or will we question the process by which these reports came to the table of our synod (i.e. appointing a church to be a study committee, etc.)?
- The Book of Praise — will we see a new church book, with some new hymns and revised psalms?
The fact that this is a landmark synod is reflected in the interest of local churches. From what I can tell, the number of letters from churches appearing on the agenda is unprecedented. For instance, there are 17 letters regarding the report of Committee for Church Unity (CCU) Coordinators. There are 46 letters regarding the CCU Church Order Subcommittee. We have 8 letters regarding the CCU Songbook Subcommittee. Creeds and Forms has 7; Theological Training has 13. The Committee for Contact with Churches in North America has 27 (most which deal with the RPCNA). The Book of Praise Committee has 47. The Committee on Relations with Churches Abroad has 40 (most which deal with the RCN). In addition, there are two overtures and 26 appeals. The delegates are going to have a lot of work on their hands! They will need our prayers.