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Photo: Karen Huttenga
Candidates for ministry
Photo by Karen Huttenga

The auditorium of the Covenant Fine Arts Center at Calvin College filled with family and friends as twenty men and women took the stage in front of Synod 2018. These men and women represent nearly half of the 43 candidates for the office of Minister of the Word who were welcomed by synod this year.

As is the custom in the Christian Reformed Church in North America, Synod 2018 spent time welcoming these candidates with words of encouragement, expressions of congratulation, and a time of worship.

Rev. David Koll, director of candidacy, read all the names, noting many of the 23 who were not present may be joining the proceedings through the live web cast. He asked synod to “receive these persons as gifts of God to the church.”

Assembled delegates, family, and friends stood to applaud and acknowledge the candidates, and Koll noted and gave thanks for the many people — pastors, mentors, youth leaders, and others — who played roles in forming the faith of those marking this milestone.

Calvin seminary president Jul Medenblik gave an address. He spoke about how he, as a father, has often stood at the door as his children went out on a trip. He’d ensure that they had good directions and enough money. He’d also make sure to tell them that he loved them.

“We are here at this doorway to pray for you as we anticipate your moving out into the ministry that God is preparing for you,” he said to the candidates.

“You now face the church and this body that represents and embodies the Christian Reformed Church in North America. This is a church that loves you, that desires to pray for you and also to challenge you to a long obedience in the same direction.”

Synod vice chair Elizabeth Vander Haagen closed the time with prayer. She asked each candidate to go and stand by their classis delegates. The delegates laid hands on those present as Vander Haagen spoke a prayer.

Following this service, candidates, delegates, staff, family, and friends spent time in celebration and fellowship over coffee and cake.

For continuous coverage of Synod 2018 including the live webcast, news, video recordings, photos, reports, liveblog, social media links, and more visit www.crcna.org/synod.