The PRC Synod of 2023 met at Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI) for a fifth day this Monday, June 19.
Below is the report of the second clerk of synod, and attached is the specific decision of synod with regard to a third-party investigation (in your browser click on the title to this news post and it will take you to the attachment download at the bottom of that specific page).
Day 5 Report
The first matter synod treated today was a recommendation to express sorrow to females abused by a former pastor in the denomination. A letter was adopted to be distributed through each consistory of the PRCA to the congregations. The letter expresses sorrow that the former pastor, representing the church in his work, used his position to abuse sheep and cause them great anguish. It also acknowledges and apologizes for the neglect of the broader assemblies of the PRCA in not expressing this sorrow sooner. The letter closes stating: We are broken for you, sisters. We, as well as our churches, pray for you and for your healing. Know that the Good Shepherd loves and cares for you, His wounded and hurting sheep. Be assured that the all-sufficient Savior, who died for you, rose again, and ascended into heaven, will provide for all your needs. “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psalm 9:9-10).
The rest of the morning session and a good part of the afternoon was spent deliberating on a recommendation to approve “the substance of an overture from Providence PRC to hire a third-party organization to investigate sexual abuse in the PRCA.” The recommendation carefully outlined the scope, the implementation, the reporting, the mutual accountability, the hiring, and the financing of the work of the investigation. Synod adopted the recommendation on the basis of three grounds:
- It is wise to conduct a denomination-wide investigation into the matter of sexual abuse on account of the nature of the sin and its prevalence in our churches.
- It is wise to engage a third-party organization to conduct such a denomination-wide investigation.
- Hiring a third-party organization to conduct a denomination-wide investigation in the manner outlined above is consistent with our Reformed system of church government.
An ad-hoc committee was appointed to hire and liaise with a third-party organization for the investigation into sexual abuse in the PRCA.
Synod treated a recommendation to approve the overture of Zion PRC “to appoint a study committee to develop the proper biblical, confessional, and theological groundwork that could be used in the local congregations to guide them in understanding and addressing the evil of abuse.” Synod appointed six men to this committee.
At the end of the day Synod adopted several motions presented by Committee 5. The highlights include:
- Approving subsidy requests for Covenant of Grace, Heritage, Hosanna, Immanuel, Kalamazoo, Lynden, Pittsburgh, and Providence PRCs.
- Thanking Mr. Doug Mingerink for his faithful work as the Stated Clerk of Synod.
- Authorizing the reimbursement of the expenses for the meeting of synod totaling $6,138.28.
- Setting the synodical assessments, based on a family count of 2,120 families in 2024, at $600.
- Appointing Trinity PRC as the host of Synod 2024 to convene on June 11 at 8:00am. Seminarian Arend Haveman is a member of Trinity and, the Lord willing, will be examined at Synod 2024.
Synod adjourned around 6:50pm. Rev. Eriks closed with prayer.
May the decisions of synod be to the honor of our God and welfare of our churches.
On behalf of Synod,
Rev. C. Spronk, 2nd Clerk