On this day in 1997, the Synod of the United Reformed Churches in North America (URCNA) convened at Trinity Orthodox Reformed Church in St. Catharines, Ontario. Fifty-seven churches sent delegates to this second meeting of churches that had seceded from the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Mr. Charles Dykstra, chairman of the host council, was elected chairman of the Synod.
Fraternal observers from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) to the Synod were the Rev. Thomas E. Tyson and the Rev. Stephen L. Phillips. Early that summer at its General Assembly, the OPC had extended an invitation to the URCNA to enter into "Corresponding Relations" with the OPC.
One of the main actions taken at the Synod was the appointment of a committee to explore what would be required to produce a Psalter hymnal. Fourteen years later in 2012, the URCNA and OPC entered into a cooperative agreement to produce a joint Psalter hymnal. In the summer of 2016 both the OPC General Assembly and URCNA Synod approved the psalms, hymns, and confessional standards that would appear in the Psalter hymnal that, Lord willing, would be made available in the winter of 2017.
Picture: URCNA and OPC Psalter hymnal committee members (from left) Lou Ann Shafer, Harry Zekveld, Joel Pearce, Denise Marcusse, and Angeline Vanderboom singing through hymns together in 2014.