GS 1989 art 175

GS 1989 ARTICLE 175Closing

In closing the chairman speaks the following words: Esteemed brothers:

We have come to the close of this twelfth General Synod of our churches. Soon we will be — as Synod — history. We have worked together for 16 work- days, a time even shorter than our predecessor, General Synod Burlington, 1986. Our agenda was not one with a great abundance of items, although the pile of documents with appendices was alarmingly thick, but most of these items were of great importance.

I believe that we have treated each submission from committees, churches, members — and even some non-members — with due respect. We tried to read carefully and critically, but above all sincerely and honestly. In all this we tried to preserve “unity in continuity”, to refer to my opening words, which is the unity of faith. Now there are no items left on the agenda, except for the concluding acts, and therefore our reason to meet no longer exists.

Brothers, we have been very involved with all this material, and we will not judge our work. It is the task of the churches to judge what we have done. It is ulti- mately the judgment of the Lord Who must approve or disapprove of our efforts. May He be merciful to us, also with respect to this work.

We all know how things went: we are individually more pleased with some decisions than with others. On the whole, however, we may say that this has been a very united Synod. There was usually great consensus on the decisions which were made. We knew where we wanted to go, although we sometimes differed on the best way to get there. Yes, we had one purpose, and the mutual respect in speaking and debating was always evident. For this we may be extremely grateful, for not every General Synod experiences such a blessing.

There were some truly unforgettable moments which will be passed on in the private anecdotes of the members of Synod. There have also been a number of public highlights, of which I mention only a few: meeting Dr. and Mrs. Gootjes, hav- ing Dr. and Mrs. Faber as celebrity guests in our midst, hearing the words of dele- gates from afar, Rev. J.J. Peterson of the OPC and br. Jac. van der Kolk from our sister churches in the Netherlands. It was also a solemn moment when we heard our fellow member of Synod, Rev. J. De Jong, state his acceptance of the appoint- ment as professor at our Theological College. Yes, this Synod had many important visitors who were all joyfully received.

I may thank you, brothers, for the support which you have given the modera- men and me as chairman. Please forgive any remark or ruling by which you were hurt or even offended, for it was never my intention to be personalistic. Together we have sought to serve the Lord, each with his own talents and gifts, and may He forgive us any self-seeking moments which have plagued us. Let me say that I have great admiration and appreciation for each of you personally and for the hon- ourable way in which you have always conducted yourselves. We came as broth- ers and we may depart as brothers with even greater appreciation of one another than before.

I may also speak a word of gratitude to the hosting church here in Winnipeg. We have been made to feel very much at home in this building, in this congrega- tion. The meals were delicious, appealing, and well-balanced, in fact so well-bal- anced that many members of Synod ate well and still lost weight. The dietary insight of the hospitality committee is truly remarkable. It is never really fair to sin- gle out persons, but may I specifically mention those in charge: srs. Alice Kuik, Grace Schriemer and Annie Teitsma. Your many hours of work and service will always be gratefully remembered.

This was in many ways a “Yuppie” Synod -as we heard more than once.

Designer track suits, Reebok running shoes, striped cravats and all! A Synod fully computerized, who would have dreamed of such a thing? Last minute info by fax, you saw it here at Synod ‘89. Truly a new era has arrived in synodical efficiency. Various “Yuppie” expressions such as “I can live with it” or “Let’s just tighten this wording up a little” or “with your indulgence, Mr. Chairman” became standard items in the new synodical jargon. How things have changed since 1968 when Dr. J. Faber was appointed.

We are grateful, Rev. den Hollander, Consistory and congregation of Winnipeg, for your excellent hospitality. If we did not have families and work else- where, we might have been persuaded to stay longer. But now the agenda’s done and the planes are waiting to lift us off to where we belong.

We are grateful to the Lord for all that He has given to us together as members of General Synod, as churches in this land, with our sister churches in this world.

May you all have a good trip home, receive health and happiness also in the future, and above all experience peace with God through Jesus Christ in the only comfort which remains both in life and in death.

He requests the delegates and guests to sing Psalm 125:1,2,3,4.

On behalf of Synod the second clerk expresses gratitude to the sisters who have served Synod with copious and delicious meals. He presents the three ladies who have organized it all with tokens of appreciation.

The vice-chairman requests the floor and addresses Synod with the following words:

Allow me at the count-down of this General Synod to speak a few words to you, Mr. Chairman. Soon we will be confronted with the sad, but nevertheless, Reformed rule of Article 35 of the Church Order, which reads: “In major assem- blies the office of president shall cease when the assembly is ended.” As we are used to in this Synod, Mr. Chairman, to “undergird” our statements with appropri- ate references, for the deep meaning of this rule of Article 35 I may refer to John Jansen, Korte Verklaring van de Kerken Ordening who in his turn refers to a cer- tain Plantinus, who is believed to have said in his Politica Ecclesiastica, Volume IV, page 201: “De vlam is wel het naast aan de rook, nochtans kan door den rook niets verbrand worden, maar door de vlam wel.” We are thankful for these enlight- ening words of Plantinus and we may conclude from them, that soon, Rev. Stam, your chairmanship will evaporate in smoke. Being confronted with this sad reality, we like to thank you for the work you have done as chairman of this Synod. As vice-chairman I had no reason to complain. Except for a few urgent escapades which you had to make, you did not bother your neighbour too much even when you were a little “under the weather”. On behalf of all members of Synod, I like to express our appreciation for the way you knew how to usher us “through” all diver- gencies, and we are also appreciative for the benevolence in which you have let us “use” and sometimes “abuse” you. Your indulgences and your witty and cheer- ful manner in which you have put the matters of our extensive agenda before us has contributed much to the pleasant and brotherly atmosphere in which the work of this Synod could be done. In short, Rev. Stam, we thank you for the firm and able leadership which you have given to General Synod Winnipeg, 1989.

The chairman requests Rev. M. VanderWel to close Synod. Rev. M. VanderWel requests the assembly to sing Psalm 48:1,4 and leads in prayer.

Synod is closed.

By order of Synod:

  • Rev. Cl Stam Chairman
  • Rev. M. VanderWel Vice-chairman
  • Rev. P.K.A. de Boer First clerk
  • Rev. R. Aasman Second clerk