Time for an independent Canadian CRC

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To the Christian Reformed congregations in Canada;
To our U.S. citizens resident in Canada;
To our brothers and sisters in the United States of America,

Friday, January 20, 2017 is an historic day. America First. The wealthiest nation in the world places its interests before all other peoples on God’s earth. The most powerful nation in the world will enforce its interests over all other of God’s people on earth.

The Christian Reformed Church across the USA has had that power over the Canadian churches since the earliest churches, and rightly so for many formative years. Now it’s more than a hundred years since those early days. Gradually there was some delegation or sharing of power, but never any delegation of power at the very top. Every synod, every final decision, was and is still under the power of approximately 75 percent of all votes being cast by U.S. church members.

More recently, some interim power was shared. The Board of Trustees, acting on behalf of Synod between annual meetings, was constituted of 15 Canadian residents and 15 USA residents.

That sharing of power was abruptly changed two years ago. Has some of the same “America-first” spirit influenced Christian Reformed churches?

The Christian Reformed Church decided at a synod in 2015 to disband the equally balanced Board of Trustees and to establish a 60-person council, comprised of delegates reflecting the 75 percent vote by USA residents.

That transition was designed to be studied and implemented in 2018. Two months ago, The Banner carried a news item that it would be implemented immediately, in 2017. That leaves no time for overtures that question or oppose the new structure.

It is now time for Canadian Christian Reformed Churches to become independent, to become masters in their own house, responsible to their own government, to their own directors, to their own leaders. Thirty years ago Canadian churches had the Council of CRC in Canada, but it was disbanded at the urging of our USA-resident brothers and sisters. As such, we have no independent method of taking a vote.

I ask all churches, I ask all delegates to Synod 2017, I ask all U.S. citizens resident in Canada, and especially I beg our USA resident delegates who will have the vote and the power, to approve an independent CRC denomination in Canada. In turn, we pledge cooperation in our common goals and purposes, and probably joint Synods, and more. Canada’s CRC will exercise its independent decision power. It will work hard to serve our Canadian Churches with Canadian-designed programs, ministries and missions.

Britain voted to leave the EU in what became known as Brexit.

Shall we call this Crexit?

God bless America; God bless Canada.

Harry Houtman, CFP
B.Ed (Calvin College), MA (Ohio University)

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