The Banner

Ecumenical Speakers Share Stories of CRC’s Contribution to Their Ministries
06/18/2024

Delegates to Synod 2024 got the opportunity to hear from ecumenical guests—siblings in Christ in related denominations—as they shared stories of their ministries and how the Christian Reformed Church in North America has supported their efforts.Four speakers, three from Africa and one from the Unite

Synod Celebrates 25 new Candidates for Ministry Amid ‘Pastoral Leadership Shortage’
06/18/2024

Before introducing 25 new candidates for ministry of the Word, director of candidacy Susan LaClear spoke frankly to the body about realities in leadership preparation as well as what she would like to see from the denomination.LaClear told synod that the Christian Reformed Church in North America, l

Comparison Girl for Teens: Thriving Beyond Measure in a World That Compares
06/18/2024

In 2020, author Shannon Popkin’s book, Comparison Girl: Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-Up World, was addressed to Christian women who were struggling to follow Jesus and find their worth in him in a competitive world.In Comparison Girl for Teens, Popkin joins forces with Lee Nienh

Synod Addresses Need for Clarification on Expectations for Church Members
06/18/2024

Synod 2024 believes the church needs guidance “on the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of (church) membership” and it has tasked the Office of General Secretary with providing that theological reflection and advice, reporting back to Synod 2026.In addition to asking for that report, syn

Synod Retains Current Church Order Process for Accountability of Officebearers
06/18/2024

As a response to a request seeking a formal way for regional assemblies of the Christian Reformed Church to object to actions of another assembly, Synod 2024 declined to add to its current Church Order supplement, instead noting that by Acts of Synod 2018, “Councils and classes are already free to c

Synod 2024 Discusses Pension Plans
06/17/2024

Synod 2024 discussed pension plans Monday morning, with some conversation around inflation and how retired pastors are being affected by the current plan. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. It is meeting June 14-20 in Grand Rapids, Mich.The discus

Synod Approves Effort to Strengthen Relationships With Churches Outside North America
06/17/2024

Delegates to Synod 2024 unanimously approved recommendations aimed at strengthening relationships between the Christian Reformed Church in North America and churches outside North America, adopting the Global Vision Team report from the Council of Delegates.These recommendations include the introduc

Intercessors ‘Stand in Gap’ For Synod Delegates
06/17/2024

Thirty intercessors—Christian Reformed members committed to patient, listening, confidential prayer—are assisting at Synod 2024, seated in the chapel at Calvin University while in session and “roaming” campus open to praying as God directs them, said Jodi Gillmore, a prayer coordinator with Classis

Lee Street CRC Welcomes Synod 2024
06/17/2024

Lee Street Christian Reformed Church in Wyoming, Mich., welcomed synod participants to worship on Sunday evening before the plenary sessions begin Monday.Delegates and guests loaded school buses for the 20-minute ride from the Calvin University campus where synod is meeting to join the bilingual con

‘What We’re Doing Right Now is the Best for the Churches in Canada’
06/17/2024

Al Postma, executive director, Canada, for the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and Greta Luimes, chair of the Canada Ministry Board, hosted a Sunday afternoon presentation for participants of Synod 2024 on the campus of Calvin University. About 30 people attended the event that was desig

Dip Into Summer Reading
06/17/2024

Charlotte’s Web (Audiobook)Reviewed by Lorilee CrakerI’ve always loved this story of a pig named Wilbur, a girl named Fern, and a spider named Charlotte, but the audiobook version, read by the late E.B. White himself, is, as Charlotte described Wilbur, “radiant.”Listeners will be transported to an o

The Comeback King
06/17/2024

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.” —Matthew 25:31In a small studio in Memphis, Tenn., Elvis Presley and his newly formed quartet of musicians recorded a song with a pulsing eight-bar blues progression. Called “Heartbreak Hotel,”

Church Potlucks and the Sharing of Blessings
06/17/2024

“Next week is church potluck again! My favorite!” says my 11-year-old son while reading about the upcoming events listed in the church bulletin. He’s a food enthusiast, but interestingly is not a huge fan of eating at buffet restaurants. I think he prefers the celebratory atmosphere at church.My mot

Council of Delegates’ Address Commits to Binationality, Updates on Building Moves
06/16/2024

Michael Ten Haken, a pastor at Ridgewood Christian Reformed Church in Jenison, Mich., and chair of the CRC’s Council of Delegates, addressed Synod 2024 on Saturday, June 15, one of two speeches received that night. (See also “General Secretary Says God is Planting Seeds in the CRCNA.”) Highlighting

General Secretary Says God is Planting Seeds in the CRCNA
06/16/2024

Zachary King, general secretary of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, addressed Synod 2024 with a speech focused on seeds of hope and no mention of the distinct fault lines of some churches seeking discipline against others and the divergence of confessional belief.King read John 12:23-

Synod Committed to Work ‘Within Confessional Positions’
06/15/2024

During the Saturday morning session of Synod 2024, president Derek Buikema gave an update on the conversation he had with delegates who chose not to stand during the Public Declaration of Agreement with CRC Beliefs the previous day.Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Churc

Documentary Viewing at Synod’s Annual Women’s Dinner
06/15/2024

Women delegates, some staff, and advisers at Synod 2024 gathered June 14 for the Women’s Dinner, an annual event that started in 2017. The dinner had three hosts: Elaine May, Lesli van Milligen, and Amanda Benckhuysen. They are all ordained ministers of the Word and work with Thrive, the Christian R

Synod 2024 Opens With Worship, Training, Challenges
06/14/2024

As Synod 2024 got under way, host congregation Lee Street Christian Reformed Church in Wyoming, Mich., led in worship, pastor Steve De Vries from Lee Street preached a message of humility and gratitude, general secretary Zachary King introduced guests, officers gave announcements, interim president

Some Delegates Don’t Stand for Public Declaration of Agreement with CRC Beliefs
06/14/2024

Every year, as part of the rules of synod, delegates stand to indicate their agreement with a public declaration of the beliefs of the church. As Synod 2024 president Derek Buikema introduced the declaration this year, he asked people to consider carefully their ability to stand in agreement and dir

The Lady with the Dark Hair
06/14/2024

In this intriguing novel for adults, which combines a vivid sense of geographical setting and emotionally complex characters, author Erin Bartels narrates the challenges, restrictions, and fears two women face as they make their way in the world. Separate, side-by-side narratives relate the stories