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 individual ministries. Here are the highlights from the most recent classis meetings:
Classis Chatham approved a new church plant in North London, Ontario. Classis Southeast U.S. approved new church plants in Columbia, S.C., and Casselberry, Fla. Classis Columbia approved a new church plant in Vancouver, Wash.
Classis Huron approved a new church in Wingham, Ontario, after deep divisions in Lucknow (Ont.) CRC couldn’t be resolved. The new church is called Maitland River Community CRC.
Classis Quinte noted that Discovery CRC, a church plant in Bowmanville, Ontario, held its first worship service in September.
An emerging church does not have its own council and is under the care of a neighboring Christian Reformed church’s council. An organized church has its own council. Changes to a congregation’s status as emerging or organized must be approved by the classis.
Classis Grand Rapids North noted that African Community Fellowship CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich., is now organized.
Classis Greater Los Angeles approved the organization of Fountain of Life Fellowship CRC in Fountain Valley, Calif., and Little Saigon CRC, Westminster, Calif.
Classis Northcentral Iowa allowed New Hope Fellowship CRC, Holland, Iowa, to return to emerging status.
Classis Chatham is working with members of Forest (Ont.) CRC, a rural church that voted to close and held its last service in August. Half the congregation asked classis in September to allow the church to continue.
Classis Southeast U.S. is in conversation with Grace CRC, Indian Harbour Beach, Fla., about whether it will remain in the denomination.
New Congregations Welcomed
A congregation already established can affiliate with the CRC with the approval of the classis.
Classis Greater Los Angeles approved the affiliation of Ephesus Church, Whittier, Calif. (emerging), and Fountain of Life Mission Church, La Habra, Calif. (organized).
Classis Hackensack approved the affiliation of Grace Indonesian Christian Fellowship of Chevy Chase, Md.
Classis Central California noted that the congregation of Cambodian CRC, Stockton, Calif., has now joined a United Methodist Cambodian church. Classis Pella noted the closure of Great Light Korean CRC in Dallas. Classis Rocky Mountain noted two Texas churches also disbanded: Community Life CRC in Houston and Great Oaks Community CRC in Round Rock.
Abuse Prevention and Response
Classis Pacific Northwest is overturing (requesting) Synod 2007 to require that by 2008, the denomination’s Yearbook will note with an icon which churches have abuse-prevention teams and which classes have a Safe Church Team. The same overture asks that, beginning in 2010, no church be allowed to call a pastor before establishing an abuse-prevention program conforming to the synodical standards; and that, by 2010, every classis must have a Safe Church Team functioning.
Classis Pella approved forming an Abuse Response Team, and Classis Kalamazoo noted that its Safe Church Team is available to do training in abuse prevention in the churches of classis.
Evangelism and Outreach
Classis Grand Rapids North is forming an accountability task force to encourage churches in evangelism. Classis Eastern Canada approved expanding the role of its part-time outreach ministry developer.
Classis Zeeland’s new student-fund guidelines now state that students supported by classis while studying for a master-of-divinity degree will be funded by classis for at least half of the projected seminary cost.
Training and Leadership Development
Classis Grandville, as part of its restructuring, will now hold orientation for new pastors and spouses and conduct first-time delegate orientation prior to classis meetings.
Classis Greater Los Angeles approved $1,000 for the start up of a multiethnic Leadership Development Network.
Classis Quinte now has two marriage and family counselors available to assist churches in classis to care for the mentally ill and their families.
Classis Wisconsin delegates received training in racism awareness, led by Rev. Esteban Lugo, director of the CRC’s Race Relations ministry.
Classis British Columbia North-West appointed Wilma Vanderleek as the new director for the B.C. Leadership Development Network.
Classis Alberta North created a full-time position of Youth Ministry Consultant for the classis. Classis Zeeland noted that money left in the youth-ministry fund will be earmarked solely for youth-focused mission initiatives.
New Classis Positions
Classis Grand Rapids East is hiring a paid regional pastor. The same classis approved a $1,000 stipend for the classis prayer coordinator. Classis Yellowstone also appointed a prayer coordinator.
Pensions and Finance
Classis Huron started a Financial Resources Team to assist churches in finding alternative funding for new initiatives.
Classis Red Mesa stated that all ministers and ministry associates in classis must be enrolled in a pension plan. The same classis set aside $15,000 to assist with specific hardship cases.
Classis Zeeland excused Lamont (Mich.) CRC from paying full ministry shares, due to the legal costs involved with a lawsuit over its property. Classis Zeeland also joined Lamont’s countersuit against former members of the church suing for control of the church’s assets.
Classis Grand Rapids East is sending an overture (request) to Synod 2007 for a study to explore alternative methods for ministry-share collection from local congregations.
The denominationally appointed monitoring committee of Classis Pacific Hanmi continues to assist that classis in developing increased participation of elders, continuing education of pastors, more active participation in payment of ministry shares by congregations, and collaboration with the neighboring classes.
Classis Eastern Canada will now allow women to be delegates at classis, and churches will also send deacons to classis meetings.
Classis Northern Illinois will financially assist Unity Christian School in Fulton, Ill., with $150,000 over the next five years.