Synod also directed the council of Maranatha CRC to contract immediately for ongoing oversight of the healing ministry at the church by an independent, accredited agency, because, it said, “Council, comprised of laypersons, is not capable of such oversight.”
Synod 2012 ruled today that Rev. John Visser, senior pastor of Maranatha Christian Reformed Church, be suspended from ministry for at least 90 days. It issued reprimands to Classis Quinte, the regional group of churches. (Synod is the annual leadership meeting of the CRC.)
Synod spent several hours behind closed doors deliberating on a conflict between Maranatha CRC, located in Belleville, Ontario, and Classis Quinte.
At issue originally were concerns about the healing ministry at Maranatha. A committee appointed by the classis assessed the situation and issued a report, citing breach of confidentiality by Visser. Classis Quinte subsequently voted to suspend Visser from the ministry.
Maranatha appealed that decision to the denomination’s Judicial Code Committee, which conducts hearings and issues its recommendations to synod. Only synod can ultimately decide on judicial code matters.
Synod 2012 ruled that Visser had not breached confidentiality when he released material because the recipient, Classis Quinte, was also subject to the same rules of confidentiality.
However, Synod did rule that special discipline be applied to Visser, suspending him for 90 days. It authorized the denomination’s Board of Trustees to oversee a process, paid for by the denomination, to evaluate Visser’s “readiness for ministry that focuses on professional competence and personal/emotional status.”