Overture on Covenant for Office-bearers


This overture asks Synod to consider stronger measures to show respect for conscientious decisions and for the local church, through a review of how the Covenant of Officebearers is being used in churches.  It addresses how the church works as well as HSR issues. It was adopted by Classis Eastern Canada and will be on the agenda for Synod 2024. 


Kanata Community Christian Reformed Church overtures Classis Eastern Canada to overture Synod to appoint a taskforce to review the Covenant for Office-bearers and the related Article 5 in the Church Order, and provide Synod 2025 with analysis and recommendations to address the following concerns:

  • Greater clarity about the distinctions and relationship between confessions and interpretations of specific provisions in a confession as requirements for membership and/or serving in any positions of leadership, and greater clarity about implementation of the Covenant for Office-bearers at all levels of church assemblies.
  • Greater clarity and respect for the role and authority of the local church to deliberate together and provide guidance in the application of specific provisions in the confessions in specific situations in local contexts.
  • Greater respect for thoughtful conscientious-decision-making, when such decisions are made in prayerful, Spirit-lead sincerity before God and in dialogue with the church community.


Kanata Community Christian Reformed Church (KCCRC) is a community church that includes members who identify as, or who have family or close friends who identify as, LGBTQ+ persons. We recognize we have not always ministered well with these members and, in the last few years, synodical decisions have made it more challenging. We have engaged in learning, prayer-filled dialogue, and reflection on what God is calling us to do as partners in God’s mission in our particular context. We have also actively engaged in the discernment processes within the CRCNA, including overtures asking for more time and prevention of harm that were supported and forwarded to Synod in both 2022 and 2023.  This overture names other elements in a continuing process of prayerful discernment as committed members of both KCCRC and the CRCNA.   

As part of this journey, especially after the decisions of Synod 2022 and 2023 regarding human sexuality, we have struggled with what it means to sign the Covenant for Office-bearers, the role of gravamina, and living up to our calling to be part of God’s mission in our community, as we discern that. We are also alert to and engaged with members of other Christian Reformed churches who are struggling with similar tensions and anticipate the possible impacts of further decisions at Synod 2024 about enforcement through the Covenant of Office-bearers. It is timely to ask for greater clarity with regard to this Covenant and its role in CRC churches. 

This matter is important for other issues that will create tensions in our covenantal relationships in the future, as well as this one.  Beyond sexuality, the current moment is fostering high levels of confusion and anxiety about the way we make decisions together and work together in a community that takes covenantal relationships seriously, as well as recognition of differences in interpretations of specific Biblical passages and implications of some of our long-standing doctrines.  It also highlights tensions between calls to unity and respect for diversity.

For this reason, we submit a plea to take time for careful consideration and more clear articulation of essential, relevant elements of Reformed polity, as they relate to implementation of the Covenant for Office-bearers and related articles in the Church Order, both in the current context and for the future health of our churches. Taking time to do this work now will contribute to restored confidence in the quality of our decision-making processes and it will help to foster and maintain unity within the denomination.