Press Release #4 – July 30, 2010
Synod began its last day of deliberations with a good deal of work yet to be completed. By God’s grace, Synod was able to complete its work in a timely manner.
Synod continued to refine the way in which the churches and classes do their work. A procedure was adopted for voting on examinations held at classes. This will help to ensure more uniformity between the classes of the federation with regard to the process for those examinations.
The Regulations for Synodical Procedure were adopted as a standard of parliamentary law for synod in order to ensure that the business of the synod is transacted in an orderly, practical manner. An overture proposing a change to the Church Order was adopted. It makes clear the method of receiving a church and its minister into the federation. The change will need to be ratified by two-thirds of the churches.
The committee appointed by Synod 2007 to study the level of doctrinal commitment advisable for communicant memberhip in our churches presented two positions to synod. This resulted in majority and minority reports coming from the Advisory Committee. Synod chose to recommit the matter back to the Study Committee for further clarification in light of the discussions that took place at synod.
With regard to the report of the Synodical Study Committee of the Federal Vision and Justification, the synod took several action. First, synod urged all office-bearers to repudiate Federal Vision teaching where they are not in harmony with the Three Forms of Unity, listing nine specific articles in the confessions. Next, synod affirmed a list of fifteen teachings from Scripture and the Three Forms of Unity regarding the matter. Both of these recommendations were adopted without dissent.
Synod received greetings from Rev. Peter Kloosterman of the Reformed Church of New Zealand. Later in the day, the delegates with great joy voted to enter into Ecclesiastical Fellowship (the highest level of ecumenical relations with churches abroad) with the Reformed Churches of New Zeeland. Following the decision, the delegates sang their praise to God for blessing both federations with this step of unity. Synod did not adopt the recommendation to take the same step with the Reformed Churches of South Africa, but rather to remain in Phase One, Ecumenical Contact. However, we were pleased to hear the greetings from Dr. Douw Breed of the Reformed Churches of South Africa.
The delegates voted to remain in Phase One with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (Liberated). They also voted to enter Phase One with both the United Reformed Church of Congo, and the Calvinistic Reformed Church in Indonesia.
Synod continued the discussion regarding the work of the United Reformed and Canadian Reformed unity committees. Synod decided to conclude the mandate of the Songbook Committee to produce a common songbook with the Canadian Reformed Churches, reminding them to dialogue with the Canadian Reformed Churches in a manner consistent with Phase Two relations.
Synod appointed an ad hoc committee to serve the churches with advice regarding the status of the membership and credentials of retired ministers. In another action, synod instructed the Stated Clerk to send a letter on behalf of the URCNA, urging United States Armed Force officials, urging them to maintain the current policy on homosexuals serving in the military.
In dealing with some administrative matters, synod elected a new Stated Clerk, Rev. Bradd Nymeyer, and a Webmaster, Mr. Gary Fisher. Elder Bill Konynenbelt was thanked with a standing ovation for his work in these two positions for the past 6 years. The next synod of the United Reformed Churches in North America is scheduled to be convened by Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church, Pompton Plains, New Jersey, and is scheduled to be held in June 2012.
Throughout the week, the delegates labored with the matters before them and sought to serve God and His people. Weak and fallible men were called to make difficult and binding decisions. May the King of the Church bless our efforts.
The Seventh Synod of the United Reformed Churches in North America adjourned at 11:15 p.m., on July 30, 2010.