GS 2013 art 71

GS 2013 Article 71 – Appeal of Sr. Annette VanTil re: Regional Synod East 2012

Committee 5 presented their proposal. After some discussion, the proposal of the committee was withdrawn and a new proposal from the floor was put into discussion. After a minor change, this was the result:

1.         Material:

Letter of appeal from sr. A. VanTil (8.5.17)

2.         Observations re: Admissibility

  • 2.1.      Sr. VanTil appeals the four decisions of Regional East of November 14, 2012 pertaining to her appeal against the judgment of Classis Ontario West of Dec. 14, 2011.
  • 2.2.      Her first request to General Synod is to “determine that Regional Synod erred in upholding Hamilton Consistory’s new protocol for Lord’s Supper admittance.” She requests General Synod “to determine that this protocol for admitting members of NAPARC and ICRC churches as guests at the Lord’s Supper table is contrary to Scripture, Church Order and the confessions of the church.”
  • 2.3.      Her second request is that “General Synod determine that Regional Synod erred in upholding Hamilton Consistory’s procedure for announcing withdrawals”. She requests General Synod to “determine that this protocol Hamilton Consistory has adopted for announcing withdrawals from the Cornerstone Canadian Reformed Church to attend churches affiliated with NAPARC is contrary to Scripture, to the confessions of the church and the church order.”
  • 2.4.      Her third request is for General Synod to “determine that Regional Synod erred in not dealing with the concerns raised about NAPARC membership.” She requests “General Synod to interact with the concerns raised about NAPARC membership and ultimately to rescind our membership in NAPARC.”
  • 2.5.      Her fourth request is for General Synod to “determine that Regional Synod erred in upholding Hamilton consistory’s decision to request [her] to attend Lord’s Supper prior to interacting with [her] concerns.”

3.         Considerations re: Admissibility:

  • 3.1.      In her first request, sr. VanTil merely reiterates the same grounds that she raised in her appeal to Regional Synod East (contra Article 33 CO).
  • 3.2.      In her second request, sr. VanTil provides no evidence to show that she has taken up the issue of withdrawal announcements with her consistory. This was pointed out to her by both Classis Ontario West (Article 9 Consideration 2) and Regional Synod East (Article 7, Request 2, Obs.2.1, 2.2). This has still not been finished at the minor assembly (contra Article 30 CO).
  • 3.3.      In her third request the appellant is basically expressing her disagreement with the Hamilton consistory’s acceptance of General Synod’s decision regarding membership in NAPARC and the implications of that membership. She requested both Classis and Regional Synod to direct Hamilton consistory to appeal General Synod’s decision to retain membership in NAPARC. Classis already pointed out to her, “It is not within the jurisdiction of a classis to direct a local consistory to appeal a decision of a general synod (for example, in the matter of inter-church relations), but such an action would have to originate from the consistory” (Article 8, Consideration 3). Regional Synod showed her the proper route to follow, “If the appellant is not able to convince the Hamilton consistory of the need to appeal the decision regarding NAPARC, the way is open for her to take up the matter with the major assemblies (see Synod 2001 Article 45; Synod 2004, Article 20).
  • 3.4.      In the appellant’s fourth request grounds 1 and 3 are the same as she brought forward in her appeal to Regional Synod. In ground 2 the appellant ignores the fact that even though the apostle reprimands the Corinthians by saying, “It is not the Lord’s Supper that you eat” (1 Cor. 11:20), he did not forbid them from attending but called every member to examine himself before partaking (1 Cor. 11: 28, 29). Sr. VanTil has not indicated how Consideration 4.2 of Regional Synod East and the texts mentioned there do not apply to her situation.
  • 3.5.      An integral element of an appeal is that it presents grounds to show how one has been wronged or grieved by the decision of an ecclesiastical assembly. Sr. VanTil has not submitted an appeal but simply a restatement of what she submitted to the minor assemblies.

4.         Recommendation:

ThatSynod decide to declare the appeal of sr. A. VanTil inadmissible (Articles 30 and 33 CO).