Dwight (A Religious Liberal Blog) notes the decision of the just-concluded Synod meeting of the Christian Reformed Church in North America
voting to remove the word â€œmaleâ€ as a requirement for holding ecclesiastical office in the Christian Reformed Church. Synod also decided that women will be allowed as delegates to Synod 2008. [Official Synod wrap-up]
The currently all-male Synod is the final decision making body of this conservative and historically Dutch denomination. I’m interested in the CRCNA because
- they’re a bit bigger than the Unitarian Universalist Association in aggregate, but in the same ballpark. So what are they doing that we would have the capacity to do?
- they put out a lovely hymnal some years back, and are planning a new one with the Reformed Church in America, an older, more moderate Dutch-heritage church.
- they’re one of the few North American (as opposed to United States-ish) denominations that’s reasonably balanced between the U.S. and Canada.
- defections of its most conservative elements to other Reformed and Presbyterian bodies make for some interesting church watching.
- note that abuse prevention was high on their list of actions this year, and
- they’re one of the few denominations that have allowed women in ordained ministry only to reverse their decision, leaving the shell of a local option. (c.f. informal provision for gays in the Episcopal Church)
So now we’re back. Of course, the first new group of ordained women might well find themselves at perpetual leisure — no church has to take them — so I think the more interesting change is the Synod seating decision. (I’m reading “may” in the press release as affirming the lower jurisdictions right to delegate whom they choose.)