Photo: Karen Huttenga
Jeff Scripps from Classiss Georgetown
Photo by Karen Huttenga

The Christian Reformed Church is set up with three levels of governance: the local church council, the regional classis, and the denominational synod. When problems arise at one level, people can appeal to the next level for guidance. Delegates at Synod 2018 decided to not change this process.

Classis Minnkota had previously sent a request to Synod 2018 to ask it to consider changing Church Order so that one classis can appeal directly to another. In other words, if one regional group of churches was concerned about the actions or decisions of another group of churches, this process would allow them to express that concern directly. Moreover, this change would allow the first classis to ask the second to reexamine a decision that was made.

Synod 2018 ruled that “councils and classes are already free to communicate matters of concern with one another” but that taking this communication to the level of a formal “appeal” would create a contradiction in Church Order.

“The real concern is that we would be creating a system in which classes could circumvent the work of synod,” said Rob Toornstra. “We encourage classes who have issues and concerns with one another to continue to communicate with each other -- it doesn’t have to be an appeal process.”

Jeff Scripps from Classiss Georgetown agreed. “I hope that when communications are given [from one Classis to another], there would be the courtesy of a response,” he said.

In this way, dialogue could happen without a formal appeal process.

Roger Sparks from Classis Minnkota, however, disagreed. “The way the system is now it does seem impossible for any classis to appeal to synod matters of concern about another classis,” he said.

In the end, delegates voted to maintain the current system of appeals and communication.

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.