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Council of Delegates Meets

October 19, 2022

The Council of Delegates (COD) of the Christian Reformed Church in North America met at the CRCNA offices in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Oct. 12-14, 2022.

During this meeting, the COD received reports, held discussions, and made decisions as follows. They:

  • Heard from Zachary King about his first few months as general secretary.
  • Heard from Lloyd VanderKwaak about his accomplishments thus far and his goals for the remainder of his tenure as interim chief administrative officer.
  • Discussed membership trends within the CRCNA, paying specific attention to which congregations are seeing increased numbers and why. A summary of the discussion will be presented to the COD in February for consideration of forwarding to Synod 2023.
  • Discussed and approved a process for filing an exception to the COD Statement of Agreement with the Beliefs of the CRCNA.
  • Endorsed the consolidation of the ministry operations of Raise Up Global Ministries (e.g., Timothy Leadership Training, Global Coffee Break, and Educational Care) under Resonate Global Mission branding, to be completed by Jan. 1.
  • Heard a report from the newly established Dignity Team of the CRCNA and their ongoing work to address the abuse of power.
  • Recommended that Synod 2023 approve the discontinuation of the current practice of providing an annual list of organizations accredited and recommended for support by CRC congregations.
  • Discussed ministry shares and spent time addressing questions about how effective the current system is for our congregations – and if it could be improved. Additional responses from classes will be collated over the coming months and presented to the COD in February.
  • Discussed and endorsed a proposal to further delineate organizational from synodical governance. The proposal included recommendations regarding new committee structures for the COD based on the agencies, and new ways of connecting with the Calvin Theological Seminary, Calvin University, and World Renew boards. Input from COD members was gathered and will be integrated into a revised COD Governance Handbook to be presented to the COD in February for consideration of forwarding to Synod 2023.
  • Heard an update on Inspire 2022 and asked staff to explore the feasibility of holding a similar event in 2024. A report on this will be brought back to the February COD meeting.
  • Heard an update on the search for a chief administrative officer for the CRCNA. It is hoped that a name will be presented to the COD for appointment at a special virtual meeting on Nov. 16. At this meeting, the appointment of a new director of Synodical Services will also be ratified.
  • Appointed people to a search team for a new director of Resonate Global Mission.
  • Endorsed a codirector model for Congregational Ministries and acknowledged the appointment of Lesli van Milligen (Canada) and Chris Schoon (U.S.) to the codirector positions. Lesli has already begun this role; Chris will begin in January 2023.
  • Appointed people to plan an antiracism training for the COD at its February 2023 meeting.
  • Received the denominational survey summary report for 2022.
  • Received metrics from Our Journey 2025 for the 2021-2022 ministry year.
  • Instructed the Office of General Secretary to appoint a team to review the Judicial Code and bring a final report to the COD by February 2024.
  • Noted the upcoming retirements of Dee Recker (director of Synodical Services) and Lis Van Harten (director of Congregational Ministries) in 2023.
  • Appointed people to serve in interim roles on the COD, as part of the Church Order Review Task Force, as synodical deputies and alternate synodical deputies, and as representatives of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee.

The gathering of the COD also included meetings of its four corporate entities: the CRCNA Canada board, the CRCNA U.S. board, the ReFrame Ministries Canada board, and the ReFrame Ministries U.S. board.

CRCNA Canada Board: Approved 2021-22 year-end joint ministry agreement reports; appointed an auditor; heard from Al Postma, transitional executive director - Canada.

ReFrame Ministries Canada Board: Appointed an auditor.

CRCNA U.S. Board: Appointed an auditor; appointed people to the joint management agreement committee; approved salary increases for the human resources director and U.S. controller; took note of Shirley DeVries’s appointment to the position of director of administrative operations; approved the housing exemption for ordained staff; approved the benefits program and premiums for employees in the coming year; approved changes to the joint ministry agreements; affirmed the appointment of Chris Schoon to the role of U.S. director of Congregational Ministries.

ReFrame Ministries U.S. Board: Appointed an auditor; appointed people to the joint ministry agreement committee; approved joint ministry agreements and joint ministry agreement reports.