I love the self-quarantine of the COVID-19 pandemic. Really, I do. Sequestered in my study either reading or writing, my imagination slips through closed doors and roams freely. I love this gift of quiet and solitude. Sort of. Sort of, because I am realizing how shriveled my world has become.
In Vancouver, Washington, Richard Liedtke greets up to 1,000 people by name every Sunday. If he doesn’t know someone, he makes a point of introducing himself and learning a new name. A finish carpenter by trade, Liedtke shares his theology of hospitality in his terrific booklet Master Greeter. He’s always looking for the next member.
I believe restoring healthy positive relations among the church people, congregations, classes and leadership is key to the viability of the CRCNA. No, I know it is.
Can we, like the residents of Fraser Flats, come together to draw strength from our communal meeting with God? Can we seek forgiveness from each other? (Matt. 5: 21-26). Can we forgive one another in order to restore unity in Christ? (Matt. 6:14-15). Last June, Overture 18 urged Synod to focus on denominational unity and reconciliation – to reestablish binational unity, as much as practicable.
The Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) is not a large denomination. It currently has 227,900 members, compared to the Lutheran Church’s eight million. Its relatively small size, however, has never stopped the CRC from large-scale outreach and mission work or from big-picture thinking. But membership has been steadily declining for 25 years, and no one seems to know how to stop it.