GS 2007 art 155

GS 2007 Article 155 – Appeal by Burlington Ebenezer re Days of Prayer

The advisory committee presented its proposal:

1.      Material

  • 1.1     Appeal from Burlington Ebenezer

2.      Observations

  • 2.1     In 2003, the church at Winnipeg Redeemer had approached the churches appointed for days of prayer ad Art. 54 CO to declare a day of prayer in response to legalization of same-sex marriage in Canada. The churches ad Article 54 did not declare a day of prayer. The church at Winnipeg Redeemer in turn complained to synod that a day of prayer should have been declared. Synod Chatham 2004 disagreed with Winnipeg. Chatham argues:
    • 2.1.2    [4.4] “Article 54 states ‘In time of war, general calamities, and other great afflictions the presence of which is felt throughout the churches…’ The plain reading of this article does not include the issue of general moral decline as reason for calling a day of prayer…”; and
    • 2.1.3    [4.5] “The general moral decline of our nation should be a constant matter of congregational prayers.”
  • 2.2     Burlington Ebenezer appeals this conclusion of Synod Chatham, since “Synod’s application of article 54 CO is too narrow and/or restrictive.” Burlington says that “Synod failed to recognize the broader purpose for days of prayer, namely, the forgiveness of sin and guilt on the part of the churches and Nation.” Burlington’s point is that our churches are part of the nation and certainly not without guilt in the matter. Burlington Ebenezer further explains that Bill C-250 legalizes a great evil, that “our nation is in big trouble, and that the judgment of God is coming down upon our nation and upon the Church in our nation.” Burlington adds: “it is in circumstances such as the passing of Bill C-250 that we as a federation of churches must join together and communally implore the Lord to avert His coming judgment upon our nation.”
  • 2.3     Burlington Ebenezer requests Synod Smithers to decide that:
    • 2.3.1    Winnipeg was correct in identifying this development as a national crisis for the churches.
    • 2.3.2    They were also correct in their assessment of the threat to Christian freedoms and their concerns for the moral decay in our land.
    • 2.3.3    Their request for a day of prayer was appropriate and should have been endorsed.

3.      Considerations:

  • 3.1     In Art. 31 CO the churches have agreed that “if anyone complains that he has been wronged by the decision of a minor assembly, he shall have the right to appeal to the major ecclesiastical assembly; and whatever may be agreed upon by a majority vote shall be considered settled and binding, unless it is proved to be in conflict with the Word of God or with the Church Order.” The church at Burlington Ebenezer has detailed that Bill C-250 was an evil development requiring prayer, but has not shown that Synod Chatham erred in not granting Winnipeg’s request.
  • 3.2     Synod Chatham drew to the churches’ attention the fact that “the moral decline of our nation should be a constant matter of congregational prayer.”

4.      Recommendation

Synod decide:

  • 4.1     Not to grant Burlington Ebenezer’s appeal.


Rev. Nederveen and br. Nordeman abstained according to Art. 32 CO.