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The final (published) version of the Acts of Synod 2006 is available as a single PDF file here.
The Acts available in HTML format are an "Approved Draft", and contain spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and typos.
These draft acts are being retained online for convenience and ease of access. Quotes should not be taken from these draft acts.
Closing speech by Rev A Veldman
Chairman of the Synod
Thursday 20th July 2006, Synod West Kelmscott, Western Australia, 2006 (Acts Article 126)

Dear Brothers delegates,

We have almost come to the close of the 23rd Synod of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia. In just over 8 working days, together we have worked through a lot of material that the churches had placed on the agenda of this synod. Next to the many appeals we had to deal with, there were the reports of the various deputies. Especially the discussion of the report that dealt with the relationship we have with our Dutch sister churches was very tense and emotionally at times, especially since with respect to certain sections in their report even deputies themselves had come with majority and minority recommendations. When dealing with these divided recommendations, it was quite remarkable that at synod in most instances we could find each other in a majority greater than I had expected it. The same applied to the decision we took regarding the contacts we have with the Reformed Churches in New Zealand. In this, I see a reflection of the brotherly harmony in which we worked together around this synod table, trying to make decisions as much as possible unanimously. At the beginning of this synod, as chairman of the convening church in my opening address I said, as delegates at synod we should respect each other's integrity, even when disagreeing on certain matters. I think we all have tried to do so, even throughout some tense debates. What is even more important, as regards our decision making process, in faithfulness towards God we sought the well-being of the churches, even in cases were appeals were denied or not upheld. With respect to the relationships/contacts with other churches, including our sister churches, we have tried to come to the most responsible decisions.

In this synod, we also enjoyed the fellowship with many overseas guests. It was for the first time in the history of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia that all our sister churches were represented. At this synod, we have experienced in the most literal sense of the word the unity of faith worldwide. Even though by now most of these overseas guests have left, we thank them for their input and advice, not only in the meetings of this synod, but also in the discussions, they had with the various deputies. As one of the delegates said it, nothing goes above face-to-face contact.

Synod has almost come to a close. All decisions have been made. The churches who delegated us now have to work with these decisions in the context of Art. 31 of the C.O., which amongst others reads, that decisions taken by a major assembly are binding, unless it is proved that they are in conflict with the Word of God or with the Church Order. The first part of this article of the Church Order also says, if someone feels that he has been wronged, he has the right of appeal. I note, it does not say that such a person must appeal. Last night when I was writing this closing address, I looked at what Rev. G. VanRongen had to say about this article of the Church Order in his little booklet, "Decently and in Good Order." I found it quite remarkable that the first sentence he writes as commentary on this article reads, "This is an essential article in our Church Order. It is intended to serve peace and order in the churches." Peace and order - that's not how we feel it at times. At present, I do not want to say more on this point. Yet I hope and pray that the decisions taken by this synod may indeed serve the peace within the bond of churches, not a false peace, but a peace based on the truth of God's Word.

During the course of this synod, every morning we prayed for God's nearness, for guidance and wisdom from above, and we indeed felt this nearness every day anew. Through His Spirit, the King of the Church was in our midst to help us in the task we had to fulfill. In own strength we would never have been able to do it. May the Lord through the same Spirit now also sanctify the work we have done, since from our side it was defiled with many sins and shortcomings. Yes, may the Lord use our work, done in weakness, for the upbuilding of His church and the glory of His Name.

Brothers, after tonight our ways will part. On behalf of the moderamen, we thank you for the confidence placed in us. As chairman, I want to thank you for not having made my task too difficult. I have enjoyed serving you and I have tried to do it in an unbiased way. In case where I have ruled unjustly, please forgive me and accept my apologies. Together it was our desire to serve the Lord, each one of us with his own talents and gifts. We came as brothers, we worked together as brothers, and we depart as brothers united in the one faith. That's how we rose at the beginning of this meeting and that's how we also say farewell to each other.

Finally, on behalf of all delegates, I want to express a word of gratitude to the hosting church. As minister of the hosting church, I might be slightly biased, when I thank the organizing team for a job well done. A lot of work went into preparing this synod. We surely did benefit from a manual passed on to us by the church of Rockingham, which in turn received it from the church of West Albany. In preparing this synod and in running the infra structure of this synod, there were various committees in which many brothers and sisters were active. We thank all of them for serving us so well, each one with his or her own specific talents. A special thanks goes to the kitchen staff, of which Sr. G.Diek was in charge. Many ladies helped her throughout the course of synod, but she was the one who was present on a daily basis. Hence the token of appreciation we presented her with earlier this day. Our particular thanks goes out also to our IT staff, who made it possible for us to communicate with one another through the intranet, so that proposals that were to be dealt with no longer needed to be printed or photocopied, but came into the inbox of the delegates and from there on they were dealt with. The next step will be that also the audience will be able to view what the delegates see on screen by way of an overhead projector. In closing, I also like to thank Sr. Kina VanDuyn for her work in assisting the clerk. When we leave, your work continues in putting the Acts together, making them ready for the printer. We thank you and wish you strength for the work still to be done.

During the course of this synod we also said thank you to our synod treasurer, Br. A. Hordyk from Mount Nasura. It is not often that deputies receive a special thank you, let alone a token of appreciation. It's work, we do out of love for the churches. This surely applies also to Br. Hordyk. Yet having done this work for 18 years, at times with all the frustrations involved, as synod we thought it was appropriate to extend a special thank you to him, especially now he is retiring as treasurer. Br. Hordyk, once more we thank you for a job well done, for so many years.

Brothers it's time to say farewell now. After 8 days of intensive work, we may go back to our normal duties. May the Lord be with all of you. May He give in particular the delegates of Tasmania and Albany a safe journey home and a happy reunion with their families. May the King of the church strengthen those who have been appointed as deputies and may He enable you to do your work faithfully in His service.

Upon leaving, Brothers, I wish you all God's indispensable blessing, also in your work as office bearers in the local congregations. I do this with the same words as also one of the overseas delegates concluded his address, quoting Heb. 13, 20 + 21, "Now may the God of peace, who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."

Brothers, farewell and God bless you all.

Thank you!

last updated 21 Jul 2006
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