Vastberaden nee 5 E
We zagen in Canada een persverslag van de Landelijke Vergadering van de GKN van 12 maart jl. voorbij komen. Het lijkt ons goed om dat ook via ons magazine te publiceren. Het geeft een duidelijk verslag van het werk van deze kerkelijke vergadering en vergroot het inzicht in de ontwikkelingen.
Het persbericht is in het Engels, volgende keer hopen we een Nederlandse versie ervan te geven.
We veroorloven ons één correctie van het verslag omdat er toch al zoveel verwarring is in kerkelijke hoofden over de situatie in Nederland. Er staat in het Press Release 'The minister, Rev. E. Heres, will remain the minister of the church of Zwijndrecht.' Dat moet natuurlijk neef ds. L. Heres zijn. Want ds. E. Heres is predikant van de DGK gemeente te Dalfsen. En zou naar ons beste weten beslist niet van plan zijn om naar Zwijndrecht te verhuizen.
Misschien heeft hier, zoals de Canadezen zeggen, wishfull thinking plaats gevonden? In elk geval zou het aanbeveling verdienen dat ook de GKN zelf deze misser even rechtzetten in hun communicatiekanalen. De verwarring is al groot genoeg.
GENERAL SYNOD MARCH 12, 2016
GEREFORMEERDE KERKEN NEDERLAND (GKN)
(The Reformed Churches Netherlands) (RCNvv)
held in the Church Building Elim, Stakenberg 94, Ede.
Rev. R. van der Wolf opens the Assembly on behalf of the convening church of Hardenberg, he requests the singing of Psalm 22 : 10 and 11, reads Matthew 26 : 30 - 46, and leads in prayer. He addresses the Assembly based on the Scripture reading and wishes all a good assembly. He also welcomes the brothers and sister in the general public. All churches are lawfully represented. The churches of Assen – Boerakker and Dalfsen are represented by two delegates, the others by three. The agenda is adopted.
MINUTES AND CORRESPONDENCE
The minutes of the meeting held September 28, 2015, are approved and signed. The church of Hardenberg responds that it has not yet prepared a proposal for the guidance of theological students. With respect to the status as advisor of Prof. Dr. J. Douma it is decided that he will always be invited as advisor to the assemblies of the GKN. Since he is unable to attend this assembly he has submitted written advice to the chairman. A total of 40 letters with supplements have been received or mailed. The reading of these documents is deemed unnecessary. The Deputies Men, Women and Office of the Reformed Churches (Liberated) have requested the completion of a questionnaire – it is decided not to comply with this request.
Rev. J.R. Visser attends the GKN meeting for the first time. The chairman requests him to sign the Subscription Form for Ministers. After the reading of the form Rev. Visser signs the declaration. On behalf of the churches the chairman congratulates the church of Zwolle with her minister. He wishes Rev. Visser the Lord’s blessing in the performance of his office and welcomes him in the midst of the churches.
GENERAL QUESTION PERIOD
The church of Kampen informs that the duties her minister, Rev. E. Hoogendoorn, have been diminished by 50 % due to semi retirement prior to full retirement. In due time the church of Kampen will inform the General Synod.
The General Synod of the Canadian Reformed Churches will be covened at Dunnville on May 9, 2016, the Lord Willing. The church of Zwijndrecht proposes to send brotherly greetings and blessings. The current Assembly adopts this proposal.
The proposal of the church of Zwijndrecht is adopted to inform the appellants to the Assembly of September 24, 2014, that the Assembly of September 20, 2015, has decided to file their appeals without further action.
The church of Zwijndrecht requests the churches to appoint a committee for contact with other denominations in The Netherlands. The Assembly has sympathy for the request but is of the opinion that the preparation of the request is insufficient. The church of Zwijndrecht is advised submit a completely developed proposal.
COOPERATION AND STRUCTURE
The Committee for Cooperation and Structure (CCS) has submitted a report with proposals to the churches. The CCS has first taken the time to reflect on the position and function of the Church Order (CO) in the church federation. It is important to gain a clear view of the meaning and intention of the CO and then to determine what is good and possible for the GKN. Consideration needs to be given to the articles which can be observed in the current circumstances, which partly and which not yet or not at all.
Subsequently the CCS has dealt with all other questions which were submitted. The CCS has used material which was submitted and reviewed previously as well as suggestions from the churches as far as applicable. The CCS report was dealt with in the presence of all committee members.
After discussion the Assembly decides to adopt the CCS proposals as follows:
- The Gereformeerde Kerken Nederland will use the Church Order adopted by the Gereformeerde Kerken in Nederland in 1978. The churches have adopted this CO and will apply themselves to the provisions of this CO as long as they have not been changed by the General Synod.
- As long as the church federation is small the GKN will have two ecclesiastical assemblies – the Consistory and the General Synod. All tasks and competences of the Classis and Regional Synod are assigned to the General Synod until it is possible to have Classes and Regional Synods.
- As long as the federation is small the following CO articles will be adhered to as far as possible: art. 18, 28, 41, 45, 46. And as long as there is no theological college deputies will provide adequate guidance for theological students.
- Current minor differences among the churches such the use of liturgical forms for public profession of faith and confirmation of marriages, the use of a number of hymns,as well as participation of women in the election of office bearers will not form a hindrance in the acceptance of each other as churches of Christ and the living together in the church federation.
From this time on the Assembly of the GKN will be known as the General Synod (GS). As a rule the GS will be convened twice a year, in March and October. Each church shall delegate to the GS a minister and an elder, when a church is vacant two elders.
The executive of the GS will be delegated to a moderamen consisting of a preses, a clerk and an assessor elected from among the delegates. The regulation for the GS has been adopted.
It is decided to appoint a deputy clerk for a term of one year to take care of the activities of the convening church and to perform the other administrative duties of the GS. Outgoing mail will be signed by the clerk.
When the church federation reaches the number of ten congregations two Classes shall be formed. A Classis will be made up of at least four churches.
An Appeals regulation is adopted. The description of the responsibilities of the church visitors as outlined in CO Art. 44 and the existing regulation is deemed sufficient.
The Assembly makes the following arrangements for neighbouring churches: Zwolle for Hardenberg, Hardenberg for Kampen, Kampen for Zwijndrecht, Zwijndrecht for Ede, Ede for Dalfsen, Dalfsen for Assen-Boerakker, Assen-Boerakker for Zwolle.
Finally it is concluded that it is not the responsibility of the churches in common to provide an inventory of available sermons for reading services.
Since this General Synod has adopted the proposals of the CCS it will be necessary to review and amend various existing regulations and presentations as well as the website so that they agree with the adopted proposals. The CCS is discharged from its current tasks with thsnks and subsequently instructed to serve the next GS with proposals for needed amendments, appointments and the access to GS documents.
In the presence of the treasurer of the Financial Committee, br. B. Hoogendoorn, the report and annual financial statements 2015 as well as the 2016 budget are reviewed. The brothers H.P.C. Bos and H. Hoek are appointed to audit the records of the treasurer. The 2016 budget and the assessment of $60 per member are adopted. As proposed by the Financial Committee br. C.M. Blootens is reappointed for a three year term effective as of September 2015.
CHURCH ORDER Article 38
The Church of Zwijndrecht requests the approval to institute the offices at Ede in conformance with article 38 CO. The request for institution of the ward Ede – Veenendaal comes from the ward itself and is strongly supported by the members. The Assembly concludes that the process has been carefully prepared and discussed by the consistory with the members of the ward. The minister, Rev. E. Heres, [must be rev. L. Heres, editor EIW] will remain the minister of the church of Zwijndrecht. The church of Ede will be vacant. It is the intention that Rev. Heres will be the counsellor with extensive duties such as regular preaching and catechism teaching. The church of Ede will provide compensation to the church of Zwijndrecht as agreed upon. The Assembly approves the institution of the offices at Ede and the appointment of Rev. Heres as counsellor of Ede and surroundings. The congregations of Zwijndrecht and Ede are congratulated.
INITIAL MEETING with DEPUTIES of the REFORMED CHURCHES (RESTORED) (DGK)
Rev. J.R. Visser acts as the chairman fort his part of the Assembly since Rev. Van der Wolf acts as spokesman of the Deputies who met with the DGK Deputies.
The GKN deputies have submitted their report in writing. They inform the Assembly that the DGK deputies are bound by the instructions of the DGK Synod and this impedes a free and fruitful discussion. Deputies advise this Assembly to send a letter to the next DGK Synod. The draft letter concludes with
“As churches of the GKN federation we appeal to you to review the instruction of your predecessor to grant your deputies the opportunity to have an open discussion with us about the necessity and privilege to be truly catholic reformed today. To the praise of the LORD and the welfare of the churches.”
At the suggestion of the chairman, Rev. Visser, it is decided to deal with the report and advice in public session after an informative round in closed session.
The delegates are disappointed that the DGK instructions form a barrier to an open discussion since from the report it is evident that both sides have the intention, desire and willingness to continue the discussions. Various feelings and opinions are aired including the suggestion to request the DGK deputies to seriously attempt the earlier convening of the DGK Synod to deal with this matter since that is possible in the DGK instructions. The DGK deputies know themselves bound by their instructions which can only be revised by the DGK Synod and as GKN we cannot interfere in that responsibility. After a few minor additions the draft letter is adopted.
There will be no separate press release on this subject. Rev. Visser will respond to any questions, inquiries from the press and others.
The next General Synod will be convened on October 1, 2016, at the church building of Ede. Convening church will be Kampen. Censure Art. 48 CO is not necessary. The preses addresses words of appreciation to the delegates and deputies for their preparation, participation and cooperation. The Church of Ede was thanked for her hospitality. After prayer and the singing of Hymn 22 : 3,4 and 7 the Assembly was closed.
Ermelo, March 16, 2016.