GS 2007 art 28

GS 2007 Article 28 – Appeal from Calgary re Art. 111 of Synod Chatham

The advisory committee presented its second proposal:

1.      Material

  • 1.1     Appeal from Calgary

2.      Observations

  • 2.1     Calgary requests Synod Smithers 2007 to declare that Synod Chatham 2004 erred when denying Calgary’s appeal against the relevant decision of Regional Synod West of 2002.
  • 2.2     Calgary requests Synod Smithers 2007 to consider the following:
    • 2.2.1    Synod Chatham qualified Calgary’s appeal as “technical in nature.” The term technical was not used in Calgary’s appeal. This qualification distorts the whole case as such.
    • Calgary’s desire – as expressly stated – was that no financial consequences be attached to a decision in the line of its appeal.
    • 2.2.2    Although Synod Coaldale 1977 recognized the OPC as a true church, no sister church relations were in force in the year 2000, when Rev. R. Boersma decided to move to a place where there was no Canadian or American Reformed Church and to join the OPC there.
    • 2.2.3    Anyone who moves to a place where there is or is not a Canadian or American Reformed Church, nor a church with which the Canadian Reformed Churches entertain a sister church relation, and joins another federation there, breaks with the Canadian Reformed Church of which he or she was a member.
    • 2.2.4    This carries with it the consequence that such a former member forfeits all the rights and privileges included in membership and status within the Canadian Reformed Churches.
    • 2.2.5    Quoting “personal family circumstances” as an excuse for such breaking with the Canadian Reformed Church of which one was a member does not justify the act of separating oneself from the church.
    • 2.2.6    Synod Chatham 2004 considered that the church at Calgary is correct in its position.
    • 2.2.7    In spite of and contrary to this, Synod Chatham 2004 stated that the church at Surrey was justified in an exception in the Boersema’s case.
    • 2.2.8    Thereby Synod Chatham 2004 approved of a deviation from the generally accepted rules and of acting against the faithfulness to promises made in the Church Order (e.g., Art. 76) as well as creating a dangerous precedent to which in the future anyone can appeal, quoting “special family circumstances.”
    • 2.2.9    This is disastrous and opens the door to all sorts of allegedly justified exceptions.

3.      Considerations

  • 3.1     Synod Chatham should not have used the word ‘technical’ because that qualifies the appeal of Calgary in a way that is not in accordance with the intention of Calgary. Calgary intended to address a principial matter regarding abiding by the rules agreed on in the Church Order.
  • 3.2     Calgary asked Synod Chatham 2004 “to finally provide a clear judgment on Calgary’s appeal regarding the validity of a person remaining as a minister in good standing within the Canadian Reformed Churches while at the same time becoming a member of a church with whom the Federation of Canadian Reformed Churches have no sister church relationship (and therefore not under the supervision of the churches) as described in Article 13 of the Church Order. Synod Chatham 2004 agreed with Calgary about the general rule in such situations, but leaves room for exceptions in special circumstances.
  • 3.3     Synod Chatham 2004 allowed for an exception to the rule in Articles 3 and 13 of the Church Order without explaining why such an exception was justified in Rev. Boersema’s case. In fact, Synod Chatham 2004 acknowledged that the arguments brought forward by Calgary were ignored by Regional Synod (see Art. 111, 4.1, p.112). Synod Chatham 2004 stated too much when it said that the church at Surrey was justified in providing an exception in Rev. Boersema’s case.
  • 3.4     Synod Chatham’s Consideration 4.2 that Calgary’s arguments do not sufficiently acknowledge the lack of clarity in the relationship between the CanRC and the OPC during the time period involved is beside the point. There was no sister church relationship with the OPC at that time.

4.      Recommendation

Synod decide:

  • 4.1     Synod Chatham 2004 erred in denying Calgary’s appeal.