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Decisions in Progress for Synod 2021

January 21, 2021

The following letter was linked to in a "For Pastors" email sent to all pastors and was emailed to all stated clerks of classis to keep church leaders informed about the progress of decisions being made regarding Synod 2021.

Dear pastors and stated clerks of classis,

Many of you have asked about or expressed interest in knowing more about the plans for Synod 2021. We wanted to take this opportunity to outline the current discernment process that is taking place and also outline the timeframe for when a decision will be made.

The Program Committee of synod (officers of Synod 2019) met to discern:

  • The feasibility of an in-person meeting of Synod 2021, given continued concerns for restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Alternative ways of holding synod (e.g. virtual, a hybrid, or a special meeting of the COD) if in-person is not an option.
  • The content of the Agenda for Synod, most notably the report of the human sexuality committee.

The committee reviewed reports from experts in the field of infectious diseases regarding the anticipated recovery and return to a more normal routine for travel and meetings in person.

The committee surveyed the stated clerks of classis to assist in the discernment process. Three Yes/No questions were asked:

  • Are you comfortable with an in-person meeting of Synod 2021 (June) in Iowa?
  • Is it prudent to delay a decision on the report of the synodical Committee to Articulate a Foundation-laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality until Synod 2022?
  • Are you comfortable with the format used in 2020 whereby the Council of Delegates, in lieu of synod, handled matters on synod’s agenda that could not wait?

Based on this feedback and additional comments received, the Program Committee has prepared a proposal and recommendations for consideration and official decision by the Council of Delegates when it meets February 17-19.

The decision regarding the meeting of Synod 2021 will be shared with all churches, pastors, and classes as soon as possible following the meeting of the COD.

In the meantime, we also wanted to make you aware that Calvin University library has compiled a research guide to provide ready access to documents related to the Committee to Articulate a Foundation-laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality's 2020 report. This guide links to documents referenced or alluded to in the report. It also provides access to documents that engage with or respond to the report. We believe you may find it helpful.

If you have any additional questions about Synod 2021 or the report, please let us know by emailing [email protected]

Sincerely,

Colin Watson, Executive Director, and Dee Recker, Director of Synodical Services

On behalf of the Synod Program Committee