After ruling that seven minutes of the official recording of the June 16 morning session of Synod 2022 should be excised from the public version of that recording, officers of Synod 2022 reversed that decision. The unedited video was posted June 21.
Sessions of synod, the annual general meeting of the Christian Reformed Church, typically are recorded (Acts of Synod 1989, p. 445) and, for the past many years, made available as a live webcast and later an archived video collection on the denomination’s YouTube channel. This year the webcast streamed the sessions on a 20-minute delay, but CRC communications, directed by Kristen deRoo VanderBerg, was live-blogging and tweeting details of the proceedings so synod watchers could keep track of the events.
That process hit a hiccup Thursday, the last day of synod’s convening, when, after the vote on Neland Avenue CRC, a motion that broke confidentiality rules was ruled out of order. Chad Werkhoven, Classis Minnkota, made a motion to initiate church discipline against another delegate. Any matters addressing discipline are required to be handled in strict executive session (Rules of Synodical Procedure, p. 20).
Initially the officers of Synod 2022 tried to “respect the privacy of those involved,” deRoo VanderBerg told The Banner and called for the record (in the live blog and on twitter) to be altered to remove the details about the out-of-order request. The webcast continued unaltered because the technology didn’t allow for edits to the stream as the webcast was airing.
At the lunch break Thursday the officers decided that the archive of the stream should be edited to remove everything pertaining to the out-of-order motion.
When the Thursday session went up on YouTube on Saturday evening it had seven minutes missing.
Followers on Twitter questioned the choice to excise the video. “They are trying to scrub an ugly moment from it,” tweeted Dominic Palacios, who was a delegate to synod from Classis Rocky Mountain.
On Monday, June 20, the officers came to a different conclusion, deRoo VanderBerg said. “They had been praying about it. They talked to the people involved, the one who made the motion and the one it was about. They both said they would be fine with it being posted,” deRoo VanderBerg said.
She was instructed to have the original June 16 session posted in its full form. That video was posted Tuesday morning (June 21).
Tweets after the full posting expressed thanks for the reversal. steve d. tweeted “@crcna made the integrity move to post the full video.” Rebecca Warren tweeted “I thank you for the transparency in making this available.”
Synod 2022 met June 10-16 at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Find coverage from The Banner news team at thebanner.org/synod. Synod is the annual general assembly of the Christian Reformed Church (it did not gather in 2020 or 2021). Connect to the meeting’s archived web cast, read advisory committee reports, and find other resources at crcna.org/synod.