The new, streamlined Christian Reformed Church Yearbook for 2016 is now available.
Offered in print and digital versions, it features the names, locations and contact information of churches, as well as the listing and contact information for pastors and commissioned pastors. Also included is a concise directory of classes and information regarding denominational ministries and offices.
“We are delighted with how the new format turned out,” said Dee Recker, director of the Synodical Services Office.
The CRC Board of Trustees voted last September to approve the production of the much-simplified and cost-effective version of the Yearbook, which was put together by Synodical Services, the Yearbook office, information technology and design teams, said Recker.
Even though previous synods required changes to information to be gathered for the Yearbook, its general format stayed the same for decades.
The new Yearbook is available for purchase through Faith Alive Christian Resources, both in print and digital versions.
Significantly, said Recker, each book/CD will include a "bright reminder" on page 11 to visit crcna.org/Yearbook to access additional information no longer found in print.
A particular advantage to using the online information has to do with timeliness. “As soon as the Yearbook office receives updates on classical, church, or minister information, the changes made in the database are reflected online almost immediately,” said Recker.
A full directory of CRC churches with links to their websites if available is accessible on the Church Finder page. Visitors to this site will find membership, contact information, a helpful map, and more for each CRC congregation. Also available are links to local church websites where church ministry staff listings can usually be found.
Also found online are the annual statistics (CRC "snapshot") that many have found helpful in their ministry over the years.
This change in the Yearbook composition comes as annual sales of the Yearbook “show a continued decline in the need for a printed directory of ever-changing denominational statistics,” says a report submitted to the BOT before its vote in September.
More and more, people are accessing this information on the CRCNA website. For instance, the Church Finder tool has become one of the most popular pages on the website, diminishing the need for duplicating information in a printed directory.
Steven Timmermans, executive director of the CRC, says in the introduction of the book that the Yearbook Office serves an important purpose.
“The Yearbook Office continues to provide a one-time snapshot of the long, ongoing story of the Christian Reformed church — a story told as recorded each year by hundreds of local churches in vastly different geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic environments across two countries supporting ministry around the globe.”