Well, this isn't good. I'm afraid some misunderstandings have occurred and are causing greater feelings of suspicion and distrust to build up among the different sects that are forming in the CRC. I'll attempt to clear them up here in 4 posts - as one who’s been in direct contact with a few of those serving on the GRE steering committee. Also PLEASE, DO NOT DELETE THESE COMMENTS. Cedric and Tyler expressed in their video that they wished they’d been able to sit in on the meeting because it would’ve allowed them to have a richer and more nuanced conversation about GRE. I’m trying to provide insights here that may help with that.

1. The GRE meeting that was held on November 30 was not set up to be like a regular Classis meeting with a time of worship and prayer at the beginning. The meeting was indeed an informational meeting, but the executive team decided several weeks in advance that it should take the form of a closed session right from the get go. Consequently, the informational meeting was actually advertised as a closed session in the official emails sent a week or so prior to the meeting date to churches and persons that were formally invited to participate in the meeting. Any visitors who were able to sit in were those who received explicit permission at least a couple of days before the meeting. Perhaps this meeting arrangement could've been communicated more clearly to those further out of the loop. Unfortunately, it was not.

2. The information shared in the meeting (including the report) will be made public at a later date. The committee just needs to figure out which channels will be most effective for its distribution and other small logistic details first. In other words, there will be transparency of what was discussed.

3. Many churches (and people) from GRE are indeed going through the various stages of grief - with some churches (and people) on different stages than others. And as one experienced in the field of social work and psychology, I can speak on this in depth (and I do in Post 2, as I think it’s incredibly important that you understand the dynamics at play in GRE as fully as possible).

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I thought we were "better together" and "all one body". What happened to "celebrating diversity" and "all are welcome" as mantras for progressive Christianity?

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We’re all visitors asked to leave or just you two?

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Post 4

4. The flow chart in the report simply names some of the things a church could choose to do, in theory. Not every action included in the flow chart was necessarily one the steering committee or even the bulk of churches in Classis GRE approves of or considers wise for a church to take.

5. By “restricting the gravamen process” Most churches in GRE mean they find Committee 8 Majority Report’s proposed timeline to resolve a confessional difficulty unnecessarily restrictive (i.e., recommendation C2), and its recommendations D&E unnecessarily restrictive. Only those in a stage of denial are still under the impression that CDG allows for exceptions.

Note: Some churches who acknowledge that CDG weren’t originally made to grant exceptions, nevertheless believe that the way CDG have been historically used, should be the way churches in the CRC should be able to continue to use them.

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Post 3

In short, churches in GRE are not carrying out the instructions given to them by Synod 2023 regarding office-bearers, due to different reasons:

-Some are not because they are struggling with denial.

-Some are not because they are angry that recent synodical decisions have had a negative impact on those dear to them and think that this will only hurt those dear to them more.

-Some are not because they are stuck in the bargaining stage of grief - trying to think up some sort of compromise with orthodox churches in the CRC.

-Some are not because they are struggling with emotional fatigue.

-Some are not because they want to wait to see what happens at Synod 2024 with the issue of gravamina and etc., as this is what will help them finally decide between the various options they are considering.

-Some are not because they are planning to leave the CRC, as they feel that they cannot in good conscience do what has been requested, and have come to accept that the direction the wider denomination is heading, is at odds with the direction they feel they’re being spiritually led to go.

In truth, Classis GRE recognizes that the ways in which many of its people and churches are going about things is particularly - to use Cedric and Tyler’s words - “unhelpful”, and are likely to only cause them more hurt in the end. Classis GRE is also aware that the behavior of the churches/people seemingly stuck in the denial and anger stages is what’s especially making orthodox churches in the CRC more prone to seeing GRE as a whole in a bad light. At the same time, those in Classis GRE closer to reaching a state of acceptance or have already come to a state of acceptance, realize they cannot rush their fellow churches in their grieving process, and cannot control the ways their fellow churches are responding to or expressing their grief. The most they can do is influence/impact how their fellow churches respond to or express it by what they themselves say or do.

And what is it they should say or do? If they carry out Synod 2023’s instructions right now - while many churches are already reacting very negatively to some of Synod 2023’s decisions, chances are it would only make things worse. So, they have decided to postpone carrying out Synod 2023’s instructions and focus instead on 1) trying to meet their fellow brothers and sisters where they’re at in the grieving process, and 2) providing their brothers and sisters with a plethora of information so they can make as fully informed a decision as possible pertaining to their next steps.

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Post 2

While most - if not all churches and people from GRE have moved past the initial stage of shock, a large portion are caught up in the stage of denial, and this denial has taken various shapes. Some are in denial that the church's policy has changed - as evidenced by them wanting to pretend that (and quite literally acting like) it hasn't; some are in denial that confessional difficulty gravamina in the CRC don’t actually grant office-bearers permanent exceptions to parts of the confessions they disagree with (that is to say, deep inside they know they don’t, but they’re really fond of their office-bearers who disagree with Synod 2022’s declaration and don’t want to lose them) - as evidenced by them wanting to pretend that they can grant their office-bearers permanent exceptions; and others are [still] in denial that they’re in fact, in the minority theologically in the CRC, and will most definitely continue to be so.

A small -yet much more vocal- segment is in the anger stage. For the most part, anger among these churches and/or people has taken the form of passive aggressiveness or cynicism. For most of these churches and/or people, they have directed this passive aggressiveness/cynicism towards Synod 2022 and 2023, while others have directed these attitudes towards Abide as a whole. At present, these churches and people are unable to clearly see that their anger is largely misplaced. In reality, what they are really angry/upset about is how the recent Synodical decisions are personally impacting them and those closest to them, and/or that the CRC has become different from the CRC that they remember from their childhood.

Small caveat: Some people in GRE have become distrustful or fearful of people connected with Abide in general, due to negative interactions they’ve personally had with a few individuals who are with Abide. It appears these one or two negative interactions they’ve had with certain individuals from Abide have unfortunately had the effect of making them more prone to see Abide as a whole in a negative light, and resistant to engaging in conversation with anyone from Abide. This might help explain the manner in which Cedric and Tyler were asked to leave the meeting. Sometimes, people lash out when they’ve been hurt or are hurting.

A few of the churches and people from GRE are in the bargaining stage. Those in this stage are trying to seek a compromise of sorts with the orthodox churches of the CRC that will allow them to continue being in the CRC without them having to get rid of their office-bearers who disagree with Synod 2022’s declaration, or are otherwise hoping and praying that Synod 2024 will somehow lead to the reversal of Synod 2023’s decision.

A handful of the churches and people from GRE are deep in - what I’d would argue is the most heart-breaking of stages of grief to witness people struggle through - the depression stage. Among those who are in this stage, there’s a lot of sadness, emotional fatigue, feelings of hopelessness and uselessness, and longing for “things to go back to the way they were”. Of course, they don’t really expect things will, but they still long for things to return to the way they were before.

The majority of churches and people from GRE however, are actually in what is known as the testing stage. Those that wish to wait to see what happens at Synod 2024 with the issue of gravamina and etc. before they do anything substantial - like pursue disaffiliation from the CRC for example - could be placed here; as the the reason they are waiting till after Synod 2024 to act, is because they’ve been considering a few different options, but don’t know which one makes the most sense for them to do, and won’t know for sure until the matter of gravamina is settled, and the new questions/concerns that have arisen following Synod 2023 in regards to some decisions that were made, are addressed. In other words, these churches/people believe they will only know for certain which option they should go with after they see whatever becomes of the overtures and communications the various churches in the CRC send to Synod 2024, and those that they wrote for Synod 2023 which got deferred to Synod 2024.

Then there’s a handful of churches and people in GRE that have come to accept that the CRC may no longer be the right place for them and are actively discussing and planning for disaffiliation from the CRC (as alluded to in the video). These said churches are delaying their departure till after Synod 2024 as they want to help as many other churches in their Classis as they can also reach the state of acceptance.

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I find this video extremely disturbing! Here are two Christian Reformed “pastors” sarcastically joking about the most serious issue facing our denomination. Where is the Christian compassion for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are struggling to see Jesus in this behavior.

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GRE does not seem to be conducting itself in good faith. If they can't hold an information session in the open, then that indicates they're probably engaging in scheming politics they want to hide from the rest of the denomination.

How many delegates who opposed the HSR lamented on the floor of Synod the lack of dialogue and the perception that people weren't being heard.

But now they're actively taking steps to shut down not even dialogue but merely the ability to listen to what they have to say. It's disingenuous at best.

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