GS 1980 Art 1



On behalf of the convening Church at Smithville, Ontario, the Rev. Cl. Stam calls the meeting to order. He requests that Psalm 16:1, 3, 4 be sung, after which he reads I Corinthians 12:1-11, and leads in prayer.

He addresses the delegates with the following words: “Esteemed brethren in the Lord:

On behalf of the convening church, I may heartily welcome you all to the town of Smithville in the district of Niagara. Despite the widely advertised claim that we here form “the hub of the Niagara peninsula,” the name of our town itself is quite unpretentious, the character of our people is simplicity, and it is in this spirit of unpretentious simplicity that we hope to serve you as convening and host church so that you may be fully enabled to do your important work as members of this General Synod.

We welcome you especially in the unity of the true faith. as fellow-saints in Christ with whom we have true communion in the Lord. We recognize that when you meet as delegates, you meet as brethren united by one Spirit in one purpose: to serve the edification of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Although you are each separate individuals, each with his own character, personality and gifts, yet sharing in the same Spirit you will use your diverse talents tor the common good of the Churches. May the Scripture portion which we read and which speaks so clearly and comfortingly about the communion of saints, the unity in diversity, be your foundation and your guideline and may you all give yourselves to this work to the best of your ability and strength. Then certainly we may expect the blessing of the Lord also over this work.

Since we in Smithville have been deeply involved in the preparations for this Synod, we have increasingly looked forward to this day. Undoubtedly all the chur­ches have eagerly anticipated the actual meeting of Synod, for matters of com­ mon interest and concern are to be dealt with. Indeed, a Synod can be “eagerly anticipated” or perhaps fearfully dreaded, depending, I suppose, on the materials presented. I am sure that you will find much material which gives reason for joyous gratitude. I think especially of the work accomplished with respect to our Book of Praise. Perhaps there will also be some tense moments. I think here of the various appeals placed before Synod. But certainly the Lord will provide us with the necessary wisdom for which we will pray every day again so that we may discuss and conclude all matters in subjection to God’s Word and our confes­sional standards, in accordance with the adopted Church Order, also in mutual appreciation and consideration. Be not afraid to speak openly and honestly with one another, yet do not forget kindness and gentleness – the willingness to listen and to comprehend – for it is of these things together that good Synods are made.

We welcome you in gratitude for the freedom and prosperity which the Lord gives to us all in this country. We remember God’s children throughout the world, many of whom suffer persecution and affliction for Christ’s sake. May we all use our freedom and prosperity for the coming of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Brethren, may God richly bless you and in you our Churches. With these words I declare Synod Smithville 1980 as opened.”

Rev. Stam requests that Psalm 133:1, 2 be sung.

He informs the brothers that the Free Reformed Churches of Australia, the lgreja Reformada of Sao Jose, Brazil and De Gereformeer e Kerken of The Netherlands, wish Synod the blessing of the LORD and the guidance of the Holy Spirit over all its deliberations.