One Month to Synod

URCNA Synod 2012How good and pleasant is the sight
When brethren make it their delight
To dwell in blest accord;
Such love is like anointing oil
That consecrates for holy toil
The servants of the Lord.

What’s a synod?

A synod is a church meeting.  Every two or three years, each congregation within the United Reformed Churches in North America sends two delegates (ministers and/or elders) to discuss and vote on issues pertaining to our federation.  You can read an excellent primer on the workings of this important meeting on another website, URCNA Synod Reports.

Synod may sound like a stuffy ordeal (and sometimes it is unfortunately portrayed as such), but if we truly desire the success and growth of our body of churches, it’s crucial to realize the importance of this event.  There are several reasons for this:

  1. The purpose of synod is to accomplish God’s work in the federation.  This is not merely a business meeting or an organizational committee.  The delegates to synod bear an enormous burden: it is their solemn duty to consider each question carefully and vote their consciences, so that the final decisions are as faithful to the commands of God’s Word as possible.  That’s why an extremely vital aspect of synod is prayer—not just by the delegates, but by the congregations as well.
  2. The decisions made at synod will have an impact on our churches for years to come.  The matters that come before the delegates aren’t high-level or irrelevant; they concern such pertinent aspects of worship as the songbooks we use, the structure of our church government, the qualifications for our pastors, and our fellowship with other denominations.  I’d posit that even ordinary URC members, like me, would do well to familiarize themselves with the proceedings of synod.
  3. The synod meeting is a powerful expression of the unity of our churches.  It’s been keenly pointed out that this is the broadest gathering in our denomination, not the highest.  Synod is meant to function as a unified group of elders and pastors, working together for the good of all the churches—not as an authoritarian power dictating the practices of its subordinates.  What a testimony to our fellow believers and the watching world when two hundred delegated men share this goal!
  4. The fellowship enjoyed by the delegates to synod is a foretaste of the joy of heaven itself.  I’ve already been able to witness and experience this to a smaller degree at regional classis meetings.   While the agenda can be daunting and the schedule can be exhausting, there’s nothing to compare to the time spent with so many like-minded believers.

It’s for these reasons, and others, that I have the great privilege and joy of being able to attend the eighth synod of the United Reformed Churches in North America on June 11th-15th, 2012, to be held at Nyack College in New York and convened by the consistory of Pompton Plains Reformed Bible Church.  No, don’t worry, I’m not serving as a delegate—a sixteen-year-old elder would be a terrifying apparition under any circumstances.  Still, there’s always a need for help with coordination, logistics, and office work during the week.  I’ve even been recruited for some musical endeavors.  But, I must admit, it seems a little unfair that while elders and pastors across the continent feverishly prepare for this meeting, I can view synod as practically a vacation.

From the provisional agenda (available via the URCNA website), it seems that there will be a lot of discussion and decision-making about the proposed URC Psalter Hymnal.  Thus, during the week of synod, I hope to keep URC Psalmody up-to-date with any particularly relevant information.  If you’re interested in following the proceedings of Synod 2012 further, I’ll also include some links to other resources and blogs devoted to the broader work of the meeting.  These items will all be coming together over the next few weeks.  For now, there’s a little countdown box in the sidebar of the blog to mark the approaching date.

Will I meet some of you in person at Synod 2012?  It’s my sincere hope that it may be so.  But most importantly—even if you’re not attending—pray, pray, pray! for the eighth synod of the United Reformed Churches in North America, that the outcome of this meeting may truly be to the glory of God.

How good and pleasant is the sight
When brethren make it their delight
To dwell in blest accord;
The Lord commands His blessing there,
And they that walk in love shall share
In life that never ends.


(For future reference, this information will remain available at any time on the Synod 2012 page of URC Psalmody.)

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