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Minutes of Special COD Meeting Available

August 5, 2020

The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council of the Delegates, held in June via the internet, are now available online and will soon be available for purchase through Faith Alive Christian Resources.

Synod 2020, originally scheduled to meet June 12-18, 2020, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you want to gain a deeper look at all the material submitted to the special meeting of the COD, it will help to keep the Agenda for Synod 2020 at hand, writes Colin P. Watson, Sr., executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, in the foreword to the Minutes.
“It is necessary for the user of this volume to keep the Agenda for Synod readily available as a reference. The Agenda [for Synod 2020] is not republished within this publication,” he said.

Watson goes on: “The minutes of the Special Meeting of the COD make reference to reports and overtures in the Agenda for Synod, and the pagination from the Agenda continues into this volume.”

Both the volume containing the minutes and the Agenda supply “continuing evidence of service by the Christian Reformed Church in response to a vision statement adopted by Synod 2005,” writes Watson.

That vision statement says: “The Christian Reformed Church is a diverse family of healthy congregations, assemblies, and ministries expressing the good news of God’s kingdom that transforms lives and communities worldwide.”

Keeping in mind this vision statement, Watson says, “I pray that the reports and decisions presented here will remind us of God’s faithfulness to us in every generation, place, and context. May we demonstrate Christ’s love in all its fullness to every people and nation, and may we do so together in ‘the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace’ (Eph. 4:3).”

To prepare for the COD’s special meeting on behalf of synod, the program committee of synod (officers of Synod 2019) reviewed the Agenda for Synod 2020 and supplementary materials, which are now included in the Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council of Delegates 2020, to decide matters that could not wait until Synod 2021, indicated by shading within these publications.

The Council of Delegates of the CRCNA held the special meeting June 11-12, 16-17 to address those matters, which included the approval of candidates for the office of minister of the Word and appointments to boards and committees.

This historic meeting of the COD did not replace synod—it is within the mandate of the COD and prescribed by Church Order that the Council of Delegates of the CRCNA act on behalf of synod in matters that cannot await action by synod itself (see Church Order Art. 33-b).

Issues that the COD addressed also included the appointment of Colin P. Watson, Sr., as interim executive director, approval of a name change for Back to God Ministries International (to ReFrame Ministries), and abuse of power training for pastors and other church leaders.

The COD also endorsed the CRC’s next Ministry Plan: Our Journey 2025, which aims to help the churches of the CRC journey together with God, with each other, with our neighbors, and for mission.

On behalf of Synod 2020, the COD also decided to “implement the content of the Reimagining Ministry Shares report, adopted by Synod 2019 in principle.” As a result, beginning in July 2021, church councils will “prayerfully consider their response to ministry-share requests” by synod, and classes will “determine the best way to maximize the pledged support for denominational ministry.”

The COD also approved a recommendation that the Center for Church Renewal be included among organizations approved for congregational offerings.

As a ground for this decision, the recommendation noted: “The Center for Church Renewal seeks to equip churches and congregational leaders for renewed gospel impact in a rapidly changing world and to develop intentional missional congregations that make more and better disciples who transform lives and communities for Christ. Their long-term goal is to be a primary resource hub to assist more than two thousand CRC and RCA ministries and ministry leaders through the radical realignment of faith engagement that will be taking place over the next three to five decades so that the churches of our two denominations will have a vibrant missional presence in a post-Christian society.”

Other organizations that the COD approved as recommended for offerings included Pathways to Promise and the Christian Labour Association of Canada Foundation.

In addition, the COD received ministry presentations from and celebrated the work of Calvin Theological Seminary as well as several Servant Leadership ministries: Candidacy, Chaplaincy and Care Ministry, Leadership Diversity, Pastor Church Resources, and Raise Up Global Ministries.

The COD also recommended that Synod 2021 recognize the 25th anniversary of the ordination of women and that “denominational staff and resources be used to support classes and churches” desiring to recognize this milestone.

In its meeting the COD took time as well to pray for and lament current situations in North America and the world, noting, as Rev. Emmet Harrison described it, “that we are in a pandemic within a pandemic—with the effects of systemic racism compounding the effects of the COVID-19 virus.” Together, COD members reflected on Scripture, heard music, read a litany, and observed a moment of silence, recognizing, as Rev. Sheila Holmes pointed out, that “God has reconciled us to one another. He calls us to action—to become a renewed body of Christ.”

For more information on the discussions and deliberations of the COD at this meeting, see the Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Council of Delegates 2020.