Christian Reformed Church Selects New Executive Amid Crisis

What was to be a new beginning for the Christian Reformed Church ended on a sour note when the first elected Executive Director-designee resigned.

The Rev. Calvin Bremer stepped down as Executive Director of the CRC and the director of the Back to God Hour – the denomination’s worldwide broadcast ministry. He was to be the first Executive Director for the CRC beginning August 22.

According to officials, Bremer acted inappropriately in recommending a female employee of a closely related fund-raising organization to be director of development for CRC.

"This really was a lapse in good judgment that became known and therefore had to be dealt with," said Rev. Peter Borgdorff, executive director of ministries for the CRC. "The information we dealt with caused an erosion of confidence in Cal's leadership ability, to the point where we felt he could not function as the executive director."

The female colleague was from Rancom Associates, a group that raises funds for and takes directives from the Back to God Hour. She is a 56-year-old married resident of Grand Rapids Township, and had worked at RACOM for about three years before resigning alongside Bremer.

Bremer said he had not done anything morally wrong with the colleague, but had poor judgment.

"If your employer says you lack good judgment, by definition you lack good judgment," said Bremer, 57, who lives in Dyer, Ind. "There are things I would choose to do differently if I had the opportunity to do it over."

In his letter of resignation, Bremer wrote: "I regret that my lack of good judgment to maintain appropriate boundaries with a colleague in ministry has caused pain to the church of our Lord Jesus Christ and to many of you both personally and professionally.

"Please forgive me for the pain and injury that my actions have caused to you and to the witness of the church.”

As the first executive director, Bremer was to assume a position that combined duties of Borgdorff and the Rev. David Engelhard, the former general secretary of the CRC. Engelhard, who is battling cancer, has already stepped down. Borgdorff, meanwhile, was selected on August 3 as the interim Executive Director for the denomination until a new appointment is made next year; he was set to retire on August 3.

Upon his appointment, Borgdorff sought prayers from the church’s supporters.

"Please pray for Dr. Bremer and his family, the board and personnel of the Back to God Hour, and for the Board of Trustees of the Christian Reformed Church as it seeks to guide the denomination through these regrettable circumstances," he said.