Delegates and visitors met the evening before Synod for a Prayer Service led by Rev. C. A. Schouls, the former pastor of the calling church. The sermon, based on Psalm 93, emphasized "the Lord reigneth. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea." Following the Prayer Service, Rev. C. Pronk, counselor of Vineland FRC chaired the opening of Synod and the election of the executive officers for Synod 2000. The thirty delegates from the fifteen FRC congregations elected the following: Rev. Schouls, Chairman; Rev. Pronk, Vice-Chairman; Rev. G.R. Procee, first clerk; Rev. L.W. Bilkes, second clerk.
Invited delegates from other Reformed and Presbyterian churches were present. There were also two elders from the Bethel Reformed Church in Monarch, Alberta. A couple from the Cowichan Valley mission station in B.C. came to visit the meetings as well.
These are some of Synod 2000 decisions and highlights:
1.Synod approved the formal request of the Bethel Reformed Church in Monarch, Alberta to join the Free Reformed Churches. The request was made via the Abbotsford FRC. Upon being warmly welcomed, the two elders from Monarch became full voting delegates of Synod. The chairman of Synod, Rev. Schouls pointed out that, in many years, this is the first time we have received a new congregation in this manner.
2.By Synod 200 1, the Lord willing, Pastor H. Overduin will have taken over the radio ministry from pastor Pronk. The Evangelism committee is mandated to implement a proposal to transfer the administrative work of the radio ministry so that this will not be part of the radio pastorÕs responsibility.
3.The Cowichan Valley Home Mission station, guided by the Abbotsford consistory, has experienced the blessing of the Lord this past year, especially through the seven-week ministry of Rev. H. VanEssen. The membership has doubled over the past year from 9 to 20 confessing members. The station is very eager to call a man to labour in its midst. There is also much opportunity for further home mission work in other places on the island. Synod agreed that in the event Abbotsford calls a home missionary for the island, the Home Mission committee will support this cause financially
4.A great highlight of Synod was the successful examination of student Jack Schoeman. With joy and thanksgiving to God, he was declared a candidate for the ministry of the gospel in the FRCNA. Because some studies need yet to be completed and in view of a short internship in Chatham FRC under the tutelage of Rev. ' Schouls, Candidate Jack Schoeman will not be eligible for call before September 1, 2000.
5.The Foreign Mission work in Cubulco, Guatemala continues to expand under the blessing of God. There is requirement for a North American linguist to be added to the translation team and a real need for another ordained missionary to succeed missionary Ken Herfst when he leaves the field in 2002. We quote from the Mission Committee Report: "This is a matter of great importance to the Mission Board and we therefore ask that this need be brought before the Lord in prayer in all our churches on a regular basis."
6.Seven other Reformed and Presbyterian churches had been invited to send delegates to visit our Synod. Delegates from four of the churches, namely, the Canadian Reformed Churches, the Orthodox Christian Reformed Churches, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and the United Reformed Churches, were given opportunity to address our meeting by way of fraternal greetings. In our efforts "to manifest the unity of the Church of Jesus Christ by entering into relationships with churches that are based upon and maintain the Reformed Confessions" this Synod agreed to a relationship of limited contact (the first level of formal ecclesiastical fellowship) with the Canadian Reformed Churches, the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregations, the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and the United Reformed Churches. The limited contact level is primarily a communicative exploratory level of relationship "in an official and brotherly manner."
7.We rejoice that another applicant for the ministry has been accepted: Mr. Lawrence James Bilkes, 26 years of age from Abbotsford, B.C. Students David Kranendonk and Eric Moerdyk are scheduled to preach in the churches this summer. We give thanks to the Lord that student Bill VanDoodewaard, after a time of sickness, is recovering and able to take up his studies again. Synod expressed much appreciation for the work of our theological instructor, brother Jerry Bilkes, and for the increased role of several of our ministers in teaching courses. There is also thanksgiving for the good working relations with the Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. Synod mandated the Theological Education Committee "to seek ways and means to expand our theological education endeavour in such a manner that an additional full-time theological instructor would be possibly proposed to Synod of 2001."
8.The three ad hoc committees established in 1999, (one to study the New King James Version as a possible alternate to the use of the KJV in our churches, another, to study the implications of internet and computer related technology, the third, to submit a report on the confession of faith questions), have all been granted another year to complete their mandate.
9.The Mitchell and Dundas consistories are to meet together with their respective church counselors in reference to the Bornholme preaching station with a view to the promotion of the spiritual wellbeing of everyone involved and promotion of true Christian harmony in all our churches and with all our ministers.
10. Church Day 2000 (Labour Day, September 4) is scheduled to be held in the Dundas FRC with Vineland FRC being the host church. The morning speaker will be Rev. Pronk on the topic, "The Work of the Holy Spirit" and the afternoon speaker Rev. Van Essen on "Home Mission Work, the Lord willing. Synod 2001 is scheduled for June 5-8, Abbotsford FRC the calling church and Dundas FRC the host church.