Two or three times each year, Christian Reformed churches send representatives to meetings of classis, their regional group 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
Entering into ordained ministry in the Christian Reformed Church from another denomination is Rev. Jimmy Han, Good News Chapel, West Covina, Calif., along with his congregation.
Classis California South approved the following people as ministry associates: John Harold Caicedo, Reggie Norman, and Fernando Villanueva.
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. Steven Baarda from Immanuel CRC in Simcoe, Ontario; Rev. Paul Bakker from First CRC in Zeeland, Mich.; and Rev. Lisa Vanderleek from Hebron CRC in Whitby, Ontario.
Classis Southeast U.S. heard that Rev. Hector Raul Orlandi, pastor of Principe de Paz CRC in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, plans to develop a biblical institute in Puerto Rico, working out of the parsonage and using local Reformed leaders to train people.
Classis California South declared that all those being examined for the office of ministry associate must have a psychological assessment that evaluates readiness for ministry and a police background check.
Classis Zeeland added a rule to its procedure stating that church councils planning to delegate a female elder to a classis meeting are requested to inform the stated clerk at least one week in advance of the meeting. The clerk will then inform all the churches of classis.
Classis Toronto decided that in an Article 17 procedure (which separates a church and a pastor) much more information is needed about the circumstances regarding the request for separation in order for classis to make an informed decision. An ad hoc committee was appointed to review what information can be released to classis in light of privacy laws in Ontario and Canada.
Pensions and Finance
Classis Holland ruled that in order for churches to receive grants they must pay classis ministry shares in full.
Classis Red Mesa appointed a transition task force to guide the transfer of assets from the Red Mesa Foundation to classis and to plan for the use of those funds should a potential sale of land go through.
Classis Southeast U.S. heard that since 1988 the classis’ investment account has lost one-half its value. However, ministry shares are coming in well so the money isn’t needed at this time.
Classis Holland declined to take any corrective or disciplinary action against Rev. Leonard Vander Zee regarding opinions expressed in his book Christ, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper on the basis of charges brought by Rev. Neal Punt.
Classis Niagara instructed its executive committee to develop a response, which will be discussed at its next meeting, to the Banner editorial by Rev. Bob De Moor in the March 2009 issue regarding same-sex relationships (“What’s to Discuss?”). Grace CRC in Welland, Ontario, had requested classis hold De Moor accountable for what it terms the “theological inaccuracy” of the views he expressed. Classis noted that church councils should feel free to submit concerns directly to De Moor and/or to the Banner’s editorial advisory council.
—Banner News Correspondents