GS 2016 art 108

GS 2016 Article 108 – Committee for the Needy Students’ Fund (CNSF)

1. Material

  • 1.1    Report from the Committee for Needy Students’ Fund (CNSF) (8.2.16)
  • 1.2    Letters from the following CanRC: Winnipeg-Redeemer (, Abbotsford (, Willoughby Heights (

2. Observations

  • 2.1    The Committee reports that:
    • 2.1.1     GS 2010 founded the Committee for the Needy Students’ Fund (CNSF) as a centralized body responsible to work with all member classes of the Canadian Reformed Churches under the direction and council of the Grassie-Covenant CanRC;
    • 2.1.2     Ten students have been supported since 2012;
    • 2.1.3     Churches are assessed annually based on projected student enrolment and anticipated fees;
    • 2.1.4     Students eligible for assistance apply through the CRTS website;
    • 2.1.5     Following an application for funds, visits are scheduled with each student to determine the level of assistance required.
  • 2.2    Winnipeg-Redeemer and Willoughby Heights express some concerns about the functioning and principles of the CNSF. These can be summarized as follows:
    • 2.2.1     Re: Principle 1.6: To eliminate the cut-off date of September 1 for requests for additional funds to allow for the possibility that students have to deal with changing circumstances in their families.
    • 2.2.2     Re: Principle 1.6: It is contrary to CO 20 to expect students of theology to be responsible for their own financial shortfall.
    • 2.2.3     Re: Principle 1.7: The requirement for comprehensive records of expenses is excessive.
    • 2.2.4     Re: Principle 1.8: The allowance for vehicle maintenance is “far too low.”
    • 2.2.5     Re: Principle 1.9: Both churches want this principle removed because it is redundant.
  • 2.3    Re: Application Process 2.3: Abbotsford is concerned that the CNSF acts too much like a bank which charges interest on borrowed funds, and recommends that interest only be charged where there is dismissal due to unchristian behaviour. They urge synod to instruct the committee to be charitable as the Lord is charitable (Luke 6:34-35).

3. Considerations

  • 3.1    The committee has completed its mandate and has done its work faithfully.
  • 3.2    Insofar as the CNSF guidelines have not received a synod’s approval (GS 2010 Art. 91 Rec. 4.3; GS 2013 Art. 90 Rec. 4.4.1), the concerns raised by Winnipeg-Redeemer, Willoughby, and Abbotsford should properly be passed along to the CNSF for their consideration.

4. Recommendations

That Synod decide:

  • 4.1.   To thank the Grassie-Covenant CanRC and the committee for their work;
  • 4.2    To discharge Grassie-Covenant for the duties completed during the period January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2014;
  • 4.3    To re-appoint Grassie-Covenant as the Committee for Needy Students’ Fund (CNSF) to look after extending financial aid to those students of theology who are in need of it;
  • 4.4    To mandate the CNSF:
    • 4.4.1     To review the current guidelines and procedures in light of Cons. 3.2 above;
    • 4.4.2     To assess the churches annually as per the number of communicant members in the current Yearbook based on the anticipated funding required for the year ahead;
    • 4.4.3     To report annually to each church of the federation on its activities and to report triennially to each general synod on the same and to conclude this report to synod with appropriate recommendations.