Monday, August 02, 2010

URCNA synod, a few reflections

I don't mean to rain on the parade, but I do have a few thoughts about the recent URC synod.

1. A URC friend and colleague of mine said that many at the synod were hesitant to keep moving towards merger with the CanRC because of a perceived hierarchicalism in the CanRC. Considering that fear, I'm surprised that this past synod has decided that the next synod will be only two years hence rather than three years. That seems to me to be a sign of a creeping hierarchicalism in the URCNA.  Synods should be kept at a minimum to ensure that the focus stays on the local church.

I am also surprised that the URCNA keeps, and is even strengthening, the office of Stated Clerk. Added to his regular duties of keeping things running, and preparing for the next synod (something that, if you want to avoid hierarchicalism , should be done only by the convening church of the next synod and not a permanent employee of the federation), he must also, on behalf of the federation of churches, address the US government on policy.

2. I'm saddened that the Theological Education and the Songbook committees have been terminated. I suppose it was inevitable considering that the joint TE committee had reached an impasse, and the URCNA synod 2007 had already told the Psalter Hymnal committee to shift its focus from a new songbook for the merged federation to a distinctively UR one, but it still saddens me. I must admit that my sadness is a bit selfish, when I think about the many 100s of hours I put into the project (duplicated many times over by others on my committee and on the PH committee), but one must not be selfish. I'm thankful for the friendships forged with brothers and sisters who serve on the URC PH committee.

The merger between our two sister federations will likely never happen. We should resign ourselves to a de facto pluriformity of the church position. It's too bad, but it is what it is. Perhaps there was/is a lack of will on either side to make it happen. Regardless, I had a great Sunday yesterday serving the URC in Brockville, and their minister was, again, well received by my congregation. Thankfully, such exchanges will continue.

Final thought: so often the analogy of dating, engagement and marriage is used to describe our relationship and a possible merger. That is an improper metaphor as the URCNA and the CanRC are both the bride of Christ. We are not a couple of teenagers, young adults, or whatever, who are dating; we are the bride of Christ. Let us speak of the church correctly and properly.