GS 1998 art 109

GS 1998 Article 109Appeal of Burlington Ebenezer re Women’s Voting

Committee IV presents agenda item II.C.2.


Appeal from Ebenezer Church at Burlington-East re: Women’s participation in election of office bearers.


Synod declares this appeal admissible.


  • A. Synod Abbotsford 1995, in Article 51, declared an overture from sister C. VanEerden on the subject of women’s voting rights to be inadmissible on the following grounds:
    • 1. “That according to Art. 33 C.O. matters once decided upon may not be proposed again unless they are substantiated by new grounds;
    • 2. A new matter which has not been previously presented to that major assembly may be put on the agenda only when the minor assembly has dealt with it (Art. 30 C.O.).”
  • B. The council of Ebenezer Church in Burlington asserts that:
    • 1. Synod Abbotsford 1995 tried to side-step the issue of women voting “while it implicitly made the decision that the practice of our Dutch sister churches is scriptural”;
    • 2. this decision (to the effect that the practice of our Dutch sister churches is scriptural) is implicit in the fact that, in spite of this decision of the Dutch churches, Synod nevertheless concluded that “these churches are faithful to the Word of God, the Confessions and the Church Order [Acts art. 19.IV.A];”
    • 3. if the Dutch churches are right, then there are new grounds for us to consider, and therefore General Synod should have granted the request of Sr. VanEerden; if the Dutch churches are wrong, on the other hand, then we must correct our Dutch sister churches of the error of their ways;
    • 4. that the 1996 General Synod at Berkel has upheld the decision of Ommen.
  • C. The council of Ebenezer Church in Burlington overtures Synod 1998 “to appoint a committee to study the matter and report to the churches no later than six months prior to General Synod 2001.”


  • A. The submission of Sr. VanEerden submitted to General Synod Abbotsford 1995 was not an appeal but an overture. Thus it was, “a new matter”(Article 30.C.O.) and for this reason it was inadmissible.
  • B. If the Ebenezer Church in Burlington questions the legitimacy of our continuing relationship with our Dutch sister-churches in the light of their decision to allow women to vote, they may appeal this matter. If the Ebenezer Church wants to deal with the matter of women’s voting rights again, the Church Orderly path must be followed. A proposal must proceed through the minor assemblies until it reaches General Synod.


Synod decide:

  • A. to declare that General Synod Abbotsford 1995 did not err when the overture of Sr. C. VanEerden was declared inadmissible.
  • B. not to appoint a committee as requested by the council of the Ebenezer Canadian Reformed Church at Burlington-East.