The following is a summary of the proceedings of Synod and its related meetings, which took place on April 14 –16, 2010, in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.
An Office-bearers’ Conference took place on Wednesday afternoon. Del Deur from Grand Rapids spoke on the topic, “God’s Character— Reflected in My Walk and Talk.” The address was a timely call to consistency of word and deed for all Christians, especially office-bearers.
Rev. James Greendyk led the Synod prayer service, preaching from Luke 24:44– 49. His theme was “Post-Resurrection Schooling” and the points were: (1) being Word-centered, (2) understanding the truth, and (3) equipping for a task.
Notable points from the Theological Seminary Committee Meeting held on Thursday include: Dr. William VanDoodewaard was hired as an associate professor of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. Mr. David VanBrugge, from the Burgessville congregation, was accepted as an HRC student to the first year of study at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. Student Scott Dibbet was declared a candidate for gospel ministry and will be callable after June 15, 2010. Student Marty Slingerland will be declared a candidate upon successful completion of a pastoral internship in the Burgessville congregation. A two-year mentorship program for all new ministers will be drafted by the PRTS Board of Trustees for presentation at our next meeting.
Synod 2010 moderamen (officers) were elected:
Rev. Bart Elshout— Chairman
Rev. Jan Neels—Vice Chairman
Elder James Beeke— Clerk
Elder William Tanis, Sr.—Treasurer
Recording Secretary: Rev. Don Overbeek (2nd term expires Oct. 2010)
Standing Clerk: William Tanis, Sr. (2nd term expires Oct. 2010)
Rev. Overbeek was appointed as Standing Clerk and Neil DenDekker as Recording Secretary.
Synod was formally opened on Thursday morning by Rev. Elshout on behalf of Chilliwack, the calling church. The opening meditation was provided by Rev. Wade Koenen from John 13:1–17. We are called to follow our Master’s example by washing one another’s feet in humility and servant leadership.
Numerous special events were mentioned as causes for rejoicing. Some examples are: the Bradford consistory was re-constituted in February; Rev. Maarten Kuivenhoven was ordained into the ministry in late February; Rev. Johnny Serafini was installed as pastor of the Franklin Lakes congregation; Dr. Arthur Miskin’s recovery of health; Rev. and Mrs. Molenaar received a healthy child; Dr. and Mrs. Brian DeVries were recently married, and Dr. Joel Beeke completed twenty-five years of seminary teaching and editing of denominational periodicals.
Each HRC congregation read a spiritual welfare report sharing how God has been working in the congregation. We thank God for the content of these reports and for the evident unity in the congregations.
Four brothers brought fraternal greetings to Synod on behalf of their denomination. The United Reformed Churches were represented by Rev. Kevin Hossink, The Presbyterian Reformed Churches by Rev. Michael Ives, the Free Reformed Churches by Rev. Lawrence J. Bilkes and elder Ed Laman, and the Southern Presbyterian Church of Tasmania by Rev. Terreth Klaver.
The work of Darryl and Kara Dedert with Logos International in Cambodia was accepted as a denominationally approved missionary endeavor under the oversight of Grand Rapids. This means that the Mission Committee can assist them as they need it and our churches can learn more about their work from articles in Glad Tidings, the HRC mission periodical.
A new Emeritus Fund committee was chosen, with the responsibility to develop a plan for retiring ministers.
Synod accepted the application of the Harrison, Arkansas church plant to become a full member congregation of the HRC with all rights and privileges. This was a joyful moment as God has blessed this group by causing them to persevere and reach this point. Synod established a few steps to guide Harrison as they organize as a church.
A revised policy for Admission of non-HRC ministers into the HRC pulpit ministry was accepted. It is hoped that this policy will provide more clarity and serve the congregations well.
Level 3 correspondence with the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) was approved. This means that consistories can invite any minister from the Free Church (Continuing) to preach in their churches; members of the Free Church (Continuing) can partake of the Lord’s Supper in our churches; and that denominational representatives will address each other’s highest level meetings.
Synod approved the Church Correspondence Committee to follow the present guidelines for correspondence with an independent Reformed congregation seeking closer fellowship with the HRC.
Synod approved the dissolution of the Disaster Fund after all the money is distributed appropriately. Each congregation can continue to promptly and directly contribute to worthy causes around the world as they have been doing.
Synod approved the advertising for a Senior Lecturer at Mukhanyo Theological College and encourages anyone interested to contact the Mission Committee.
The position of HRC denominational accountant was created as a volunteer service of Synod. The person serving in this capacity would oversee and organize the financial information submitted to Synod and thereby greatly assist the Standing Clerk.
Synod commissioned Rev. Maarten Kuivenhoven and Elder James Beeke to write a devotional book for teens/young people and to work with Dr. Beeke on editing and publishing it.
As Vice Chairman, Rev. Jan Neels acknowledged the Lord for His guidance and thanked Rev. Elshout for chairing the meeting. Brotherly kindness was evident throughout the day, and may we return to our congregations on our knees and with confidence in God. To God be the honor and glory. — JWB, clerk
This article is reprinted by permission from the May/June issue of The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, the official publication of the Heritage Reformed Congregations.