Closing Discussion

following the presentations by Carol Hageman and Carl Kleis

Herman Harmelink began the final discussion by recalling a moment at the synod when Norman Vincent Peale was presiding, and someone raised a point of order, and immediately someone else raised another one: “you can’t have a point of order,” Peale said. “I’ve already got one.”

On the subject of the women’s march, Mary Kansfield noted that there were two ministers from the New Brunswick area who helped the women, not with organizing—for Edith Beardslee had gotten the signatures together—but with the signs and other details. One of them was Glenn van Oort. Mary mentioned that the petitions are in the archives and wondered whether there is a picture of the women marching. Lynn thinks that the Church Herald ran such a picture at the time.

Lynn asked if there were other participants in the synod, or in the events surrounding it, whom we should remember. Al Janssen said that his father was a delegate, and that he came back afterward along with some other minister colleagues who were upset about an audible expletive uttered by one of the tellers after the result of the merger vote was announced. Carl Kleis said that Isaac Rottenberg was approached by interested parties to consider being the dean of New Brunswick Seminary at the time, but that he firmly refused.

In comparing the present to the past, Carol Hageman observed that the older synods were less choreographed than at present, and that consequently there was a greater ability to disagree.

Wilbur Washington reflected, on the basis of the day’s discussion, that “this church has defined itself more, from my perspective, by culture and economics, and maybe geography, than by doctrine.”

At the end of the discussion, Mary Kansfield repeated Carol Hageman’s advice to remember that God is in charge.