News from Fall Classis Meetings
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):
- Michael Bentley
- Matthew Borst
- Christopher de Winter
- Anthony DeKorte
- Scott Elgersma
- Chris Fulkerson
- Aaron Greydanus
- John Kim
- Nathan DeJong McCarron
- Samantha DeJong McCarron
- Matthew McClure
- Summer Mohrlang
- Kristin Palacios
- Daniel Rhee
- Hernan Zapata
Transferred in from other denominations were:
- Rev. David Cheung
- Rev. Kyung Hyun Cho
- Rev. Maged Fayez Dakdouk
- Rev. Jonathan Gerstner
- Rev. SeJong Jang
- Rev. Inhwan Kim
- Rev. Dae Won Shin
- Rev. Fernando Valencia
The following pastors were granted permission to serve a non-CRC church:
- Rev. David Sung
- Rev. Daniel Rhee
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:
- Rev. George Cooper from Fox Valley (Ill.) CRC;
- Rev. Layne Kilbreath from Faith Christian Fellowship CRC, Walnut Creek, Calif.;
- Rev. John Kuperus from Blyth (Ontario) CRC;
- Rev. Paul Park from Hebron CRC, Fife, Wash.
- Rev. Ron Smeding, from Rehoboth CRC, Bowmanville, Ont.;
- Rev. Jeff Vanderhoof from Emden CRC, Renville, Minn.
Leaving Ordained Ministry
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:
- Joseph Chen
- Wayne Knight
- Steve Rhoda
- Gary Roosma
- Rev. Don Orange, while remaining at Fellowship CRC in Greeley, Colo., will retain his ministerial credentials only in the Reformed Church in America.
Ministry Associates are elders called to a specific ministry and ordained by the classis to function within that classis in that role. Ministry associates approved by classes were:
- Anton Brown (Hackensack)
- Beth Fellinger (Chatham)
- Barry Foster (Illiana)
- Gregory Herrick (Alberta South & Saskatchewan)
- Brad Hicks (Lake Erie)
- David N. Lyman (Hackensack)
- Jim Martin (Illiana)
- Laurie Moll (Rocky Mountain)
- Jeremy Mulder (Hudson)
- Kory Plockmeyer (Lake Erie)
- Wendell Scanterbury (Hackensack)
- Richard Villareal (Rocky Mountain)
Leadership Issues & Leadership Development
- The Leadership Development Network of classes British Columbia Northeast and British Columbia Southwest will function under a classically appointed board.
- Classis Minnkota noted that it was supporting no students studying for ministry and decided that two churches each year would receive $4,000 to support a theologically conservative seminarian (those who do not believe the Bible allows women to serve in the office of elder or minister of the Word) to help prepare them to serve as a solo pastor in a rural or small-town setting.
- Classis Minnkota approved releasing some of the money in its fund to support seminary students, redirecting it to support its Leadership Development Network, including $1,000 for the Worthington (Minn.) CRC international students attending the LDN.
- Classis Grandville declined a request to prevent women from being delegated to classis.
- Classis Huron declined to rule that women not be allowed to serve as chair of classis.
- Classis Grandville created a part-time position for a pastor to minister to full-time pastors and set aside up to $5,000 for spiritual retreats for leaders.
- Classis Chicago South dissolved the position of classis prayer coordinator.
- Classis Southeast U.S. noted that ministry associates will become “intimately familiar with the CRC Church Order” during training.
- Classis Pacific Northwest approved a procedure by which a ministry associate can be dismissed, including the involvement of the regional pastor and the church visitors.
- Classis Grand Rapids East added deacons to its church visitor teams.
- Classis Pacific Northwest appointed a task force to study the role of deacon at classis.
- Classis Greater L.A. discontinued the Logos Leadership Development Network.
New Ministries & Ministry Developments
- The Milton, Ontario, church plant, a joint project of Classes Huron and Toronto, is underway.
- Classis Minnkota agreed to support a church plant in Watertown, S. Dak., meant to be a joint effort with the Reformed Church in America.
- Classis Georgetown granted permission for a group separating from First CRC of Jenison (Mich.) to form a new church plant.
- Classis Central Plains approved planting a church at Newton (Iowa) Correctional Facility.
- Classis British Columbia North-West endorsed the priorities of its committee regarding partnership in ministry in Sierra Leone, encouraging individual churches to consider them but leaving participation to the discretion of individual churches.
- Classis British Columbia South-East approved the ministry plan for campus ministry at University of British Columbia Okanagan.
- Classis Central California is exploring church planting models including partnership with the Reformed Church in America, especially in Hispanic-oriented ministries.
- Classis Greater L.A. welcomed the Ttokamsa Mission Church of Los Angeles, along with its pastors, Revs. Ken Choe, Charles Oh, and Charles Kim.
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.
- Global Vision CRC of Park Ridge, N.J., was recognized as an emerging congregation in Classis Hudson.
The following churches moved from emerging to organized:
- Grace Community Chapel CRC, New Brunswick, N.J.
- New Hope CRC, Bangor, Maine.
- Pathway CRC, Cedar Lake, Ind.
- Iglesia El Buen Samaritano, Miami, Fla.
- Knollbrook CRC, Corvallis, Oreg., moved back to emerging status.
- Living Stone CRC, Rochester, Minn.
- All Nations Fellowship CRC, Blacksburg, Va.
- Oxnard Korean CRC, Oxnard, Calif.
- Crossroads CRC, Pequot, Minn.
- Church plant in Lethbridge, Alberta
Pensions and Finance
Ministry shares are the monies collected from local churches for the classis and the denomination to support shared ministry.
- Classis Huron heard that Waterloo (Ont.) CRC wants to discuss the possibility of exempting student members 18 years or older from the membership count for ministry shares, or raising the age when members are counted for that purpose to 22 years old.
- Classis Holland is requiring churches to pay their classis ministry shares in full to be able to receive classis project grants. Churches receiving Sustaining Congregational Excellence grants are exempt from that requirement.
- Classis U.S. Southeast approved spending up to $2,000 for development of a classis website. It also heard that less than half of the churches in classis (including church plants) are contributing ministry shares.
- Classis Grandville reduced classis ministry shares.
- Classis Georgetown reported that contributions to classis ministry shares are at 40 percent and denominational ministry shares at 27 percent.
- Classis British Columbia North-West instructed the treasurer to send all the ministry shares for regional colleges to The King’s University College in Edmonton, Alberta, unless a church requests that a portion of its shares also be sent to Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.
- Classis Pacific Northwest plans to seek financial support and expertise from the denomination if the lawsuit involving Samuel Sung is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
- Classis Wisconsin heard a presentation from the Safe Church Team on putting abuse prevention polices in place.
- Classis Huron heard a presentation from insurance professional Ken Hall, who stressed the importance of having Safe Church policies in place at the congregational level.
- Classis Minnkota is investigating creating a regional Safe Church Team with neighboring classes.
- Classis Alberta North approved establishing a classis restorative justice committee.
- Classis Chicago South disbanded its race relations committee due to lack of activity and instructed the classis interim committee to plan further discussion of racial reconciliation at the next classis meeting.
- Classis Greater L.A. formed a race relations team.
Children and Youth
- Classis Red Mesa disbanded its ministry team and youth committee.
- Classis Hamilton held a panel discussion on youth ministry led by Dr. Syd Hielema, chaplain at Redeemer University College, and including young adults who shared their personal experience with the Christian Reformed Church.
- Classis Chatham approved the position of classis youth ministry consultant, subject to ratification in January.
Overtures (Requests) to Synod 2011
- Classis British Columbia Northwest is requesting Synod 2011 to give Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony the status of a confession (official doctrine) within the Christian Reformed Church.
- Classis Heartland is requesting that Synod 2011 instruct the denomination’s board of trustees; its agencies, especially Faith Alive Christian Resources; and the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee to foster a more balanced denomination-wide discussion of the Belhar Confession.
- Classis Grand Rapids East is requesting that Synod 2011 appoint a synodical study committee “to review the biblical teachings regarding homosexual orientation and practice.”
- Classis Arizona is requesting that Synod 2011 remove from the church order (the rules that govern denominational life) the requirement that a CRC pastor on loan to a non-CRC church must actively and repeatedly encourage that congregation to affiliate with the CRC (Church Order article 13C supplement regulation B).
- Classes British Columbia North-West andBritish Columbia South-East celebrated the Ministry to Seafarers’ 40th anniversary.
- Bethel CRC in Listowel, Ontario, requested that Classis Huron hold a discussion on the baptism practices in one of the classis’ newer congregations.