Christian Reformed Church Opens 2006 Synod, Elects Ill. Pastor as President

Delegates to the 2006 Christian Reformed Church annual synod opened the weeklong meeting over the weekend with the election of an Illinois pastor as the new synod president.

The Rev. W. Wayne Leys, pastor of the Community Life Christian Reformed Church in Lockport, Ill was elected president on Saturday, while the Rev. William Veenstra, senior pastor of the Ancaster Christian Reformed Church, was elected vice president. The two men directly represent the delegates gathered for the 2006 meeting in Grand Rapids, Mich., and indirectly serve as the heads of the denomination through the year.

The 300,000-member denomination meets each year for a weeklong business and fellowship conference, where they elect new representatives, bless new candidates for ministry, hear reports on current issues, and pass recommendations and proposals.

This year, the focus will be placed on ecumenical relationships, as delegates will take up a recommendation to adopt a revised ecumenical charter and a recommendation to restore the relationship with the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.

Delegates will also consider a new financial proposal to support smaller congregations through grants and providing other forms of support, as well as an overture to permit women elders to serve as delegates to the synod.

Business sessions are held behind closed doors and delegates are not allowed to “report – publicly, privately, orally, or in print – on the discussions held in an executive session of the synod.”

However, parts of the June 10-17 gathering has been made available live via internet video streaming.