Reflections on Synod 2011


Pastor Jerry Blom
The very early morning of June 9 was clear
and cool as I was dropped off at the Gallatin
airport. I was on my way to Grand Rapids, MI
where I would serve the Christian Reformed
Church as a delegate from classis Yellowstone.
The flight to GR was fantastic as the skies were
clear enabling incredible views of the mountains
and prairies and lakes below. I arrived in Grand
Rapids at 2:30 in the afternoon and as I stepped
out of the airport I was met with the heat and
humidity of the great state of Michigan. How
thankful I was to know what really great weather
is like in Montana!
The opening of Synod 2011 came on Friday
morning as Classis Yellowstone representatives
gathered around the table which would be our
home for the next week; we shared it with the
delightful representatives from Classis Wisconsin.
Synod 2011 was quite an experience for all of
us, especially for those who are not well
acquainted with computers. Each delegate was
assigned a laptop computer for use throughout
the week. This was to be a ‗paperless‘ Synod,
which turned out to be exciting and frustrating at
the same time.
We jumped right into the paperless
experience after Gaylen Byker, president of
Calvin College, welcomed the delegates and
officers of Synod 2011 to the campus of Calvin
College and the Van Noord Arena where our
general or plenary sessions were held. Our first
experience with the computers came when all the
delegates logged in to the digital roll call and
proceeded to elect the officers of Synod.
The election of Rev. James C. Dekker as
President, Rev. George G. Vink as Vice
President, Rev. Bert Slofstra as First Clerk and
Rev. Sheila E. Holmes as Second Clerk was an
adventure of starts and stops and frequent ―let‘s
do this again, please refresh your screens.‖ In
the end though, these officers of Synod were
effective and efficient as they shepherded us
through an incredible amount of committee work
and thoughtful deliberation on many different
The highlights of Synod were many. Each day
we began with a time of worship. These were
very meaningful and inspiring; the singing was
truly awesome as the acoustics of the Van Norrd
arena would reverberate with the harmony of
well known favorites of the faith and the melodies
of new songs. The time of singing was followed
by a meditation for the day in which speakers
presented a particular aspect of Grace.
Rev. Joel Kok spoke on the theme ―Grace and
the Spirit.‖ Rev. Bonnie Mulder-Behnia shared
her reflections on ―Grace Through Generations.‖
Rev. Paul Mpindi spoke on the theme of Grace in
Proclamation and focused on ―Authority for
Mission.‖ Dr. Mariano Avila spoke on the theme
―Reconciliation, on Paper or in Reality?‖ Synod
President Rev. James C. Dekker led our final
session of Synod worship by reading from
Ephesians 4:1-16 and shared his reflections
regarding the unity of the Spirit.
Another highlight of Synod was the
introduction of the Rev. Joel Boot who will serve
the denomination for two years as the Interim
Executive Director in view of the unexpected
resignation of the former Executive Director Rev.
Gerry Dykstra. Rev. Boot‘s address to Synod
concerning his selection and acceptance of the
position was moving and encouraging as Rev.
Boot shared his awareness of God‘s presence
throughout the process. Please make time in your
prayers for Rev. Boot because the work he has to
do is immense and very challenging.
Another highlight of Synod 2011 was the
presentation of those who had become
candidates for ordination in the CRC. This year
there were 42 such candidates. The group of
future ministers in the Christian Reformed Church
was a diverse group along lines of ethnicity
(Korean, Hispanic, African), gender (35 men/7
women) and age (25-53; with a majority being
under 30). What a thrill it was to see that the
future of the church is secure because God
continues to call and prepare [young] men and
women to serve him as leaders, pastors, and
This year‘s Synod was also the first time that
the CRC and the RCA (Reformed Church of
America) have met in joint session of Synod.
There was much talk and eager anticipation of
the possibility that one day soon our two
denominations will once again be one
denomination as it was prior to 1858.
All these were highlights for me. But probably
the most moving and memorable time was the
presentation of Rev. Moses Chung to be the head
of Christian Reformed Home Missions (Yes, Rev.
Randy VanOsdol has a new boss!) If you would
like to hear his address to Synod, you can go to
the CRCNA home site on Facebook to watch the
video (It is really awesome).
Rev. Chung‘s appointment to this position in
our denomination was thrilling for me for two
reasons. First, it was thrilling to me that one of
my Seminary classmates was now in a very high
profile position of leadership. Second, it was
thrilling because as Rev. Moses Chung begins his
new position, he brings to that position and to all
our attention the need for a dedication to prayer.
In his address to Synod, Moses testified to the
power of prayer in the building of the church he
pastored in Korea. I am so thankful that God has
brought Moses to this place of leadership and I
pray that Moses‘ vision for prayer and missions
will be blessed so that more and more churches
will be birthed in our land by fervently praying
mother churches.
I truly enjoyed the committee work in which I
was involved and you will no doubt be able to
read all about the decisions of Synod in the next
issue of the Banner. Thank you, Bozeman Church
for allowing me to go to Synod this year and for
your prayer support for the entire Classis
Yellowstone delegation. If you have any
questions concerning Synod 2011, I would be
glad to share more of my experiences from this
denominational gathering.