GS 2022 art 142

GS 2022 Article 142 – Appeal against RSE 2019 Art. 10 (Worship Services on Days of Commemoration)

1.   Material

  • 1.1    Appeals from the Flamborough-Redemption CanRC and the Toronto-Bethel CanRC (8.6.4)

2.   Admissibility

  • 2.1    The appeal from Flamborough-Redemption was declared admissible
  • 2.2    The appeal from Toronto-Bethel was declared admissible.

3.   Decision

Synod decided:

  • 3.1    To sustain the appeals of Flamborough-Redemption and Toronto-Bethel that RSE 2019 (Art. 10) erred when it judged that “CCO June 14, 2019 erred when it judged that Redemption church, by ‘inviting’ members and visitors to a ‘commemorative service’ (and not calling them to an official worship service) on Good Friday, fulfilled the obligations of articles 52, 53, 55 of the Church Order and the judgment of Classis on September 6-7, 2018, concerning this matter” (Article 10, Recommendation 1).

4.   Grounds

  • 4.1    RSE 2019, in Consideration 4, is unconvincing in arguing that the churches must read CO Art. 53 in conjunction with CO Art. 52. Distinct articles in the CO are distinct for a reason. If the intent of the CO is to require that the consistory shall call the congregation together for worship on the Lord’s Day and on other days that commemorate events surrounding the life and ministry of Christ, then one article would be sufficient. Nevertheless, there are two articles which are distinct. There are common elements such as a reference to the consistory; however, where the one specifies “shall call,” the other does not. Where the one says “worship”, the other says “commemorate”. Where the one uses the phrase “in the manner decided upon by the consistory”, the other does not.
  • 4.2    Since RSE 2019 is unconvincing in arguing that the CO makes no distinction between a ‘worship service’ and a ‘commemorative service,’ they err when they say in Consideration 4 that such an argument is ‘specious’. GS has received no clear evidence that Flamborough-Redemption’s service was anything but a commemorative service/event as they have claimed. (cf. Ground 4.x of Flamborough-Redemption’s appeal to GS 2022; Observation 3 in Classis Central Ontario, June 14, 2019). Further, GS 2022 has not received evidence that Flamborough-Redemption is insisting on this distinction to get around the stipulation of CO Art. 55 as RSE states in Consideration 5. RSE 2019 provides no ground to have GS suspect the veracity of their claim.       
  • 4.3    Given 4.1 above, RS 2019 errs when it claims in Consideration 6 that any distinction between ‘calling’ and ‘inviting’ is ‘specious’.

The following synod member abstained from voting and asked that this be recorded: Clarence VanderVelde