27 Oct GS 2007 art 147
GS 2007 Article 147 – Appeals from Coaldale and Guelph re Art. 89 of Synod Chatham
The advisory committee presented its second proposal:
- 1.1-2 Letters from Coaldale and Guelph
- 2.1 Regional Synod East 2003 overtured General Synod 2004 to add the following to the Guidelines for General Synod: “Although advice can be requested in particular matters, advisory members shall not be appointed.”
- 2.2 Synod Chatham 2004 notes that Regional Synod East submitted two reasons for its overture:
- 2.2.1 The convening church does not send a delegate to general synod; rather, delegates to general synod are sent by regional synod.
- 2.2.2 To preclude the seating of advisors does not mean that general synod cannot call upon others for advice in particular matters. Article III.A.9 of the Regulations states that: “If anyone has been requested to advise Synod on any matter, he shall address Synod on this point only when asked to do so by the chair.”
- 2.3 In rejecting the overture of Regional Synod East 2003, Synod 2004 considered the following:
- 2.3.1 That regional synod is correct when it says that “delegates to general synod are sent by the regional synods and not by the convening church.” However, Synod 2004 went on to say that “this does not say anything about advisors.”
- 2.3.2 That “advisors may be called upon for advice by synod but, unlike delegates, advisors cannot vote on any matters before synod.”
- 2.3.3 That while general synod can call upon others for advice on any matter at any time, this does not preclude the seating of advisors.
- 2.4 Coaldale and Guelph argue that Synod 2004 has failed to recognize that even without the right to vote, advisors to synod could have a great deal of influence on decisions made by synod and that this type of influence is contrary to the principles and spirit of Reformed church polity. Coaldale and Guelph believe that only those properly delegated by a regional synod may have the privilege of deliberating and making decisions at the table of a general synod; non-delegated persons should be at the table “only by way of exception and for a good reason.” Coaldale and Guelph also argue that Synod Chatham 2004 failed to reckon with Article 16 of Winnipeg 1989 which records a decision to not seat professors at synod.
- 2.5 In addition, Coaldale presents arguments which quote from and interact with the overture of Regional East 2003 to Synod Chatham 2004.
- 4.1 Coaldale and Guelph are correct in emphasizing that the right to be part of the deliberative and decision making process of a general synod belongs only to those who have been delegated by a regional synod.
- 4.2 Those who have been delegated to represent churches with whom we have ecclesiastical fellowship have the right to be seated at the table of a general synod. They may participate in the deliberative process but not in voting.
- 4.3 Even though Synod Chatham 2004 was correct in stating that the place of an advisor is not specifically covered by the Church Order, the principles expressed in Articles 3, 47 and 49 of the Church Order indicate that while synod can ask anyone for advice, advisors should not be seated at the table of a synod as part of the deliberative process. Article III.A.9 of the Guidelines for General Synod states that “If anyone has been requested to advise Synod on any matter, he shall address Synod on this point only when asked to do so by the chair.”
- 4.4 Synod is not able to interact with the material mentioned in observation 5 because the material from Regional Synod East 2003 is not available to this body.
- 5.1 Synod Chatham 2004 erred in rejecting the proposal of Regional Synod East 2003.
- 5.2 To add to the Guidelines Article 1.G as follows: “Although advice can be requested in particular matters, advisory members shall not be appointed.”
- 5.3 To allow Rev. J. VanSpronsen to remain seated as advisory member for the duration of this synod.
Rev. VanWoudenberg and br. Westrik abstained according to Art. 32 CO.