November 9, 2012 — Two or three times each year, Christian Reformed churches send representatives to classis, a regional grouping of churches. Delegates at those meetings review and make decisions about their shared ministries and practice mutual accountability for their congregations’ individual ministries. Here are the highlights of the most recent classis meetings:
Entering Ordained Ministry in the CRC
Classes examined and approved the following candidates (seminary graduates):
- Glenn Adams
- Nick Bierma
- Joel Bootsma
- David Bosscher
- Aminah Bradford
- Jon Bushnell
- Wesley Collins
- Julie De Graaf
- Michael DeWitt
- John Eigege
- Shaun Furniss
- Matthew Haan
- Nicholas Hopkins
- Hyo-nam Kim
- Joseph Kim
- Simon Ko
- Braden Kok
- Petr Kornilov
- Ken Kruithof
- Jonathan Nicolai-deKoning
- Roelof Peereboom
- Kory Plockmeyer
- Katrina Schaafsma
- Aaron Thompson
- Kelly VanderWoude
- Thyra VanKeeken
- Brian VanSoelen
- John Wildeboer
Transferred in from other denominations were the following:
- Sung Chil Choe
- Joseph Hyun
- Alison Jones
- Tae Kim
- Cheon Seon Lee
- Edward Yoon
Readmitted to CRC ministry were the following:
- Layne Kilbreath
- Tim Van Zalen
- Charles Geschiere, to the Presbyterian Church, PCUSA
- Hyuksoo Kwon, to the Presbyterian Church in Korea
- Katrina Schaafsma, to the Reformed Church in America
- Ellen Van Tongeren, to the Presbyterian Church
Leaving a Congregation
When neither retirement nor discipline is involved, a minister can, for weighty reasons, be released from ministry in a specific congregation at the request of the pastor, the church council, or both. Classes released from their congregations the following ministers:
- Brad Close, campus ministry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia
- EJ DeWaard, Bethany CRC, Fenwick, Ontario
- David Heilman, Calvary CRC, Orange City, Iowa
- Kevin Jordan, Nobleford (Alberta) CRC
- Vinh Paul Le, Faith in Action Vietnamese CRC, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Michael Miedema, Kanata Community CRC, Ottawa, Ontario
- Kasey VanderVeen, Bethany CRC, Bloomfield, Ontario
- John Wilczewski, Jacob’s Well Church Community, Evergreen Park, Ill.
Leaving Ordained Ministry in the CRC
Classes may end ordained ministry status of a pastor if the minister has voluntarily left the CRC or has taken up a non-ministerial vocation. A classis may also end ordained ministry status if a minister released from a congregation did not receive a call to another church within two years. Those whose status as an ordained minister in the CRC was ended include the following:
- Daniel Buis
- Brian Kim
- Hendry Lie
- Roy Palavacini
- George Rowaan (in the status of one deposed)
- Leonard Siregar
- John Suk
- Hugo Venegas
- Milton Villanueva
Officebearers can be removed from ministry if they are guilty of neglect or abuse of office, or in any way seriously deviate from sound doctrine and godly conduct. Deposed were:
- Robert Lyzenga
- Pieter Pereboom
- Xavier Suarez
Commissioned Pastors (formerly Ministry Associates)
Commissioned pastors are elders called to a specific ministry and ordained to function within that classis. The following commissioned pastors were approved by classes:
- Richard Braaksma (Alberta South/Saskatchewan)
- James Chiang (Central California)
- Marco Daniel (Pacific Northwest)
- Bob Dusek (Rocky Mountain)
- Pablo Gaggero (Rocky Mountain)
- Shawn May (Lake Erie)
- Glen McCarthy (Northern Illinois)
- Andrew Nunn (Huron)
- Barbara Schultze (Grand Rapids East)
- Kathy Xu (Greater Los Angeles)
New Ministries and Ministry Changes
- Classis Alberta North—church plant in Edmonton, Alberta
- Classis Eastern Canada—outreach ministry in Montreal, Quebec
- Classis Grand Rapids East—multisite church plant by Madison Square Church
- Classis Hackensack—church plant in Washington, D.C.
- Classis Rocky Mountain—Hillcrest CRC and Chinese Christian Assembly in Denver have merged.
An emerging church does not have its own council and is under the care of a council of a neighboring Christian Reformed church. An organized church has its own council. Changes to a congregation’s status as emerging or organized must be approved by the classis. The following churches are emerging:
- Baymeadows Community CRC, Jacksonville, Fla.
- The Way in Lockport, Ill. (formerly Community Life CRC)
- The Lantern church plant in Calgary, Alberta, has moved to organized.
- Faith in Action Vietnamese CRC, Vancouver, British Columbia
- Iglesia Hispanic ministry in Salem, Oregon
- Heartland CRC, Sioux Falls, S.D.
- Parchment (Mich.) CRC
- Good News Community CRC, Atlanta, Ga.
- Classis Grand Rapids East disbanded its Christian education assistance committee and fund.
- Classis Kalamazoo—Grace CRC (Kalamazoo, Mich.) protested the seating of female delegates at classis.
- Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan—Medicine Hat (Alberta) CRC protested the seating of women as delegates.
- Classis Arizona—merged its church development team with that of the local Reformed Church in America classis.
- Classis Rocky Mountain—approved seating church planters as delegates.
- Classis Southeast U.S.—noted that many churches did not send delegates and other churches sent staff members instead of elders.
- Classis Toronto—asked its executive committee to possibly host representatives from each classis in Canada to discuss binationality and enhancing CRC ministry in Canada.
- Classis Central Plains—hired a consultant to work with congregations regarding membership decline.
- Classis Niagara—discontinued position of classis ministries coordinator.
- Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan—established the position of classical prayer coordinator.
- Classis Huron—expressed dismay at lack of resources in Canada for youth ministry.
- Grand Rapids North—will join its Safe Church team with other classes to form a regional team.
- Classis Eastern Canada—Safe Church training on domestic violence.
- Classis Grandville—presentation by its Safe Church team.
- Classis Northern Michigan—created a Safe Church counseling fund.
- Classis Alberta North—presentation by an insurance agent about getting abuse coverage and ensuring church policies are reviews and followed.
- Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan—noted that of 17 churches, only six have Safe Church teams, and only seven have a Safe Church abuse prevention policy.
- Classis Alberta North—appointed a committee to visit churches paying little or no ministry share.
- Classis Illiana—noted a substantial reduction in its home missions budget.
Training or Discussion
- Classis Alberta North—ministering to Muslims, Salaam project.
- Classis British Columbia Northwest—presentation on being a missional church.
- Classis Chatham—presentation on healthy pastor-church relationships.
- Classis Chicago South and Classis Northern Illinois—presentation on spiritual formation.
- Classis Hamilton—discussion on community outreach.
- Classis Hackensack and Classis Hudson—discussion about faith formation.