Skip to main content

The recommendations aren’t the same, and the floor may be arranged differently, but many parts of General Synod have remained similar over the years.

Decisions are still made. Coffee is still consumed. Delegates still come from classes and regional synods across the RCA, eager to help shape the future of the denomination. Sometimes the people themselves are the same, even decades later. (I’m looking at you, Russ Gasero.)

As we commence another year of General Synod, enjoy these photos of the 1979 synod, also held at Hope College.


Bill Brownson

Bill Brownson leads the 1979 General Synod in opening worship. At the time, he was serving as radio pastor for Words of Hope; he had also served as a pastor of churches in New Jersey and Illinois and as professor of preaching at Western Theological Seminary.


Jill Ver Steeg

Jill Ver Steeg, chief operating officer of the RCA, delivers general secretary Eddy Alemán’s report to the 2019 General Synod; Alemán currently has Bell’s palsy and asked her to read his report.


Marion de Velder

Marion (Mert) de Velder speaks at the microphone. He was general secretary of the RCA from 1968 to 1977, as well as a pastor of RCA churches in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York.


Fred Wezeman

Fred Wezeman, an elder delegate from the Classis of Chicago, approaches the mic to close the session in prayer.


synod floor in 1979

In 1979, General Synod plenary sessions were held in the Dow Center, and delegates were seated in rows at long tables.


synod floor now

Plenary sessions are held in the DeVos Fieldhouse, and delegates sit around round tables to encourage conversation.


delegates in 1979

Delegates socialize between sessions outside the Dow Center.


delegates now

Delegates pose for a photo in the DeVos Fieldhouse before General Synod begins.