I’m a US citizen, serving in Canada for 17.5 years. I am not a Canadian citizen yet – though I may chose that soon. I have not experienced Canadians as whiny. I have experienced complaints and concerns about the binationality situation in our CRCNA. And I have experienced those complaints and concerns as often articulate and pointed….AND very open to conversation. Canadians (I think rightly) feel dismissed when talked about as whining adolescents. The concerns are not taken seriously and discussed.
So…let me share some of what I would consider fair articulation of questions, concerns and background that was provided to all in preparation for the meeting. In my opinion, this is not whining. It is articulate. That doesn’t mean it is all correct or accurate. But correction and discernment does not come without an articulate conversation partner with whom to talk about these hard things.
- May 4 2021 Communique sent by Canada Corporation to the COD – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GZrnrITZxukz-VoQfbTEy4H9aZ9l4Sd3/view?usp=sharing
- Document Outlining some concerns with SALT – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1W2_3yHJIFRMFb0j05CRJj8eKRkCJI6wu/view?usp=sharing
- Initial questions asked about SALT (laid out ahead of time) – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jCzKH-xYhv999UIwn_EzX5Y_9UPFrGYd/view?usp=sharing
- Researched Timeline of SALT that leads to these questions and concerns (see the internal link for expanded version) – https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DaORHOThLVdC-rBoYi5N1yLxQJlpP2J3/view?usp=sharing
While I have not had time to read through this whole strand, let me respond to a few things I have noticed:
- Website – https://www.crcna.org/canada – I’m assuming this was intentionally chosen BECAUSE we are one denomination and did not want Canada to created a separate website. At times, there has been MUCH more content – including videos, powerpoint presentations, and more from the Canadian Ministries Director which are all currently removed for probably obvious reasons.
- Bridge App – Whether US folks are aware or not, every classis but one in Canada has signed on to using the Bridge App. This app allows for lots of information to be shared, money to be donated, prayer to be directed, and much more (as I understand it; our classis is the one that did not sign on) – https://network.crcna.org/church-communications/how-bridge-app-can-assist-your-congregation
- The supposed “FLIP-FLOP” of Canada Corporation Members – John Tamming is not articulating this at all close to how I understand it. Here’s how I understand it, as summarized in the timeline and referred to in the meeting:
- May 2020 and Oct 2020 – COD was clearly going in the direction of Dual Executive Directors and an Ecclesial Officer – a balanced national structure; SALT team was created.
- April 19 2021 – COD for the first time sees anything in written form from the SALT team. SALT had given an oral update in Feb 2020 – but it is hard to know how much of the difference between the Dual-ED’s and Office of Gen Sec was clear in an oral update.
- April 19-April 30 2021 – Canada Corporation tried to wrap their heads around the SALT report. They wanted to listen to their staff, but there was a strong sense that the SALT report should not be shared with stakeholders.
- May 1 2021 – Canada Corporation met in order to discern what they thought of the SALT report. There were DEEP CONCERNS named
- May 4 2021 – Canada Corporation wrote a ‘communique’. It seems that the ‘comminique’ was NOT allowed on the formal agenda for the May 5-7 COD meeting, and Canada Corporation was not allowed to make the motion to put a Pause on SALT (instead, they had to do this in the midst of discussing SALT’s first recommendation – which means it’s a weird conversation).
- May 5-7 2021 – COD met. Canada Corporation had to read their communique during the discussion. Instead of being able to make a motion BEFORE the SALT report was on the table itself, they had to make a motion DURING the first recommendation itself, likely making the conversation convoluted (are we talking about this recommendation or about the whole thing?). The vote to table this recommendation was not passed, 28-18. As a note, there are 15 delegates from Canada. I do not know the national split on the vote, but I think it is fair to strongly presume that if this was a vote ONLY of Canadian delegates, this motion would have OVERWHELMINGLY passed.
- So…COD passed the SALT on May 5-7 2021, Canada Corps did not register negative votes; Darren Roorda is fired. Canadian Corporation did the opposite of whine. They got on board, and tried to make the most of it. They communicated to Canadians, “Hey, we will work to make this work, and we think it could work well for us.” But notably, they are NOT EVEN ALLOWED to speak against SALT, unless they registered their negative vote. NOTE ALSO – Darren Roerda got soon after the may meeting. That may make it harder for other staff to express their concerns if the perception is that Darren didn’t get on board and carry the ‘We will make this work’ message.
- SUMMARY – With all that as background, when a Canada Corporation member publicly distances themselves from the SALT plan, I think it’s ok to assume:
i. They are NOT talking about the JMAs of 4 days earlier. In fact, I asked at the meeting about the JMAs, and it was clear that Canada Corp is happy with them, AND that those JMAs would likely function if we shifted back to Dual ED’s or if we shifted to Two denominations. The JMAs were not the concern.
ii. They ARE talking about the SALT Structure. They are talking about a structure that they asked for more time to discern. That the US (presumably) voted in BECAUSE of the US majority on COD. They are talking about a structure that they had 10 days to consider before meeting as a Canada Corporation. They are distancing themselves from a SALT structure that they spoke directly against in a Communique.
I hope that helps us have a better conversation about the real concerns I have heard expressed.