Frequently Asked Questions about Synod 2021 and the Human Sexuality Report
At its February 2021 meeting, the Council of Delegates voted to cancel Synod 2021 and to defer any discussion or decision about the report from the Committee to Articulate a Foundation-Laying Biblical Theology of Human Sexuality until Synod 2022. The following is intended to answer some of the questions that individuals, congregations, and classes may have as a result. If your question is not addressed on this page, please email [email protected].
Questions about Overtures
What if a council or classis has already processed an overture regarding the human sexuality report (now deferred to Synod 2022)?
If your council or classis has already sent in an overture, that overture will automatically be deferred to Synod 2022. However, you may also choose to withdraw your overture (notify the ED/Synodical Services or the classis immediately) to take more time to study and consider the human sexuality report before submitting or resubmitting an overture to Synod 2022 (deadline of March 15, 2022).
My classis was still in the process of writing an overture to Synod 2021, what do we do now?
With this decision to defer discussion about the report until 2022, you may choose to spend more time studying and deliberating regarding the report. Pastor Church Resources has produced a “Challenging Conversations” toolkit that may be of use to you in this process. Overtures in response to the report will now be due by March 15, 2022.
If classis decides that it will no longer address overtures or communications to synod at their upcoming winter meeting because synod is cancelled, may the person or council submitting an overture to classis submit the overture for the Agenda for Synod 2021 this year?
If an overture or communication was submitted to classis by the classis deadline for consideration, but classis decided NOT to address the overture/communication, the individual or council may submit the overture to synod. (Note that these must be received by the synodical office by the March 15 deadline). Please indicate at the end of the overture that you processed the overture/communication through the classis, and include the reason why classis would or did not consider it (also include the note in the cover email). As long as you indicate that you followed the Rules for Synodical Procedure, submitted the overture to classis in time for consideration by the meeting, and that this was prior to the March 15 deadline for the Agenda for Synod, it will be considered to be legally on synod's agenda.
Please also remember that there is the possibility for classis to consider next year an overture that the council submits to Synod 2021 if classis decided they will not consider overtures this year. Classis could adopt the overture even though it was submitted to synod by the council in 2021. The synodical office would update the overture to indicate that the classis subsequently adopted it at the _______, 2022 meeting. (The overture would not be printed twice - but simply have a note added to the end of the overture.)
Questions about Synod Content
I was chosen as a delegate for Synod 2021, will I automatically become a delegate for 2022?
You will not automatically be a delegate to Synod 2022. Classes may appoint the same delegates, but will need to take into account whether the delegates will still be an office bearer in June 2022 (specifically elders and deacons) and explore the delegates’ availability to serve in 2022.
Will classes still be required to submit the Credentials for Synod if classis already appointed delegates, and will the appointed delegates be required to complete the Synod Delegate Information Form?
No, because delegates to synod are no longer required for 2021, classis does not need to appoint delegates and submit the Credentials for Synod form. Similarly, delegates who have already been appointed by classis to attend Synod 2021, do not need to complete the Synod Delegate Information Form. The Synodical Services Office will notify any delegates who have already submitted their form that Synod 2021 has been cancelled.
I know someone who was supposed to be approved as a candidate for minister of the Word this year. Will that still be happening? How can I watch?
The Program Committee of synod (officers of the previous synod) will consider all matters on synod’s agenda and determine which matters cannot wait until Synod 2022 for decision. These matters will be dealt with by a special meeting of the Council of Delegates in June 2021. Approval of candidates for ministry was one such matter addressed by the Council of Delegates meeting in lieu of synod in 2020. We anticipate something similar this year. Because of limitations of virtual meetings, the presentation will likely be recorded and posted for public viewing later in the day.
Will an Agenda for Synod 2021 still be produced?
Yes. All reports and overtures intended for Synod 2021 will be compiled into an Agenda for Synod and reviewed by the Program Committee. They will determine the matters that cannot wait to be addressed by the next synod in 2022 (similar to 2020). The rest of the Agenda will be deferred to Synod 2022. You can see the format used for identifying matters in the Agenda for Synod 2020 for address at the Special Meeting of the Council of Delegates or matters to be deferred to Synod 2021.
When will we know the decision regarding matters being addressed by the Council of Delegates [in lieu of synod] in 2021 and what is being deferred to Synod 2022?
The Program Committee will announce by mid-April the agenda matters to be addressed in June 2021; the announcement regarding matters in the supplemental reports (e.g., Council of Delegates Supplement, Candidacy Committee Supplement, etc,) will be made in late May.
Questions about the Report on Human Sexuality
Are there additional resources to help us process the reports that will now be going to Synod 2022?