The Christian Reformed Church quietly made history last month as its Synod voted to remove the word male from its requirements for church office. After 37 years of back-and-forth struggle, delegates opened the way for women to become ministers in any of the CRC’s 1,000-plus U.S. and Canadian churches.
Following that vote on June 12 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, delegates the next day also approved a step to allow women to serve as Synod delegates for the first time.
“This is the beginning of an opening I think is going to be monumental for the church,” said Carol Rottman, an advocate for women’s ordination since the mid-1970s.
However, the decision allows local church groups, called classes, to prohibit female ministers and elders from being delegates to Synod meetings. It was called a needed compromise to satisfy conservatives.