News from Winter Classis Meetings

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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 highlights from the most recent classis meetings:

Entering Ordained Ministry

Entry into ordained ministry in the Christian Reformed Church is governed by Church Order Article 6 (candidates who have the prescribed seminary training), Article 7 (those without seminary training deemed to have exceptional gifts), and Article 8 (ministers from other denominations).

Every person who enters ordained ministry in the CRC must be examined by a classis in the presence of synodical representatives (deputies). This winter, classes examined and approved the following:

Article 6: Martin Boardman, John Lee, James Knochenhauer, Henry J. Reyenga, Christian R. Pedersen, Joel Van Soelen, and Zachery E. Vandenberg.

Article 7: Pablo Canche (a case in process before the Article 7 rules were changed by Synod 2006).

Article 8: Rev. Don Belanus

Readmitted to Ministry

Rev. Frank Guter (after an extended time in Europe).

On Loan

The following pastor was granted permission to serve a non-CRC church: Rev. Byoung-il Song, on loan to the Korean Christian Church in Denver, Colo.

Leaving Ordained Ministry in the CRC

Classes may end the ordained ministry status of a pastor if the minister has voluntarily left the CRC or has taken up a nonministerial vocation. A classis may also end ordained ministry status if a minister released from a congregation does not receive a call to another church within two years. Those whose status as an ordained minister was ended include: Rev. Charles Walton, honorably released to pastor Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) of Pardeeville, Wis.

Resigned from Ministry in the CRC

Rev. John Moes, considered de facto resigned after leaving the CRCNA for the United Reformed Church.

Deposed

Classes may depose a minister for disciplinary reasons involving abuse or neglect of office, deviation from sound doctrine, or ungodly conduct. The following person was deposed: Ken Rip.

New Ministries

Classis Arizona is moving a church planting cluster in the Tucson area, led by ministry associate Rod Hugen.

Classis Heartland appointed Ryan Pelton for a church plant in Kansas City, Kan.

Classis Atlantic Northeast appointed Todd Murphy for a church plant in Providence, R.I.

Classis Kalamazoo heard that Red Arrow Ministries has begun in Paw Paw, Mich., using the former Christian Reformed church building there.

Classis Quinte noted that Hope Fellowship CRC in Courtice, Ontario, celebrated its grand opening in February.

Ministry Changes

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 Atlantic Northeast granted permission for River of Life CRC in Athens, Maine, to become an organized church.

Ministries Ended

Classis Pacific Northwest noted that Lynnwood (Wash.) Korean CRC closed in January.

Classis Iakota ended funding for Areopagus, campus ministry at Iowa State University, as of May.

Leadership

Classis Greater Los Angeles heard that ministry associates Sang Guen Lee and Esther Kiyose are no longer ministering at Hope International CRC, in Arcadia, Calif. Lee was required to return to Korea by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (Immigration Division), and Kiyose was unable to plant a church as proposed.

Classis Alberta North decided to allow ministry associates who retire to continue to preach, perform the sacraments, and serve as stated supply within the classis.

Classis Atlantic Northeast asked Synod 2009 to appoint diaconal advisers for each synod.

Classis Eastern Canada asked the classis leadership ministry team to streamline the examinations of candidates and those wanting to exhort to ensure that all are questioned equitably.

Classis Northern Illinois determined that the position of Instructor of Old Testament at Dubuque University Seminary is consistent with the calling of a minister according to Article 12c of the Church Order. Rev. Amanda Benckhuysen has been appointed to that position.

Women in Leadership

Second CRC of Kalamazoo, Mich., has ceased attending meetings of Classis Kalamazoo because the classis allows women as delegates. The church is seeking to join another classis.

Classis Minnkota sent an overture to Synod 2009 noting what it considers to be errors in the report received by Synod 2000 that explains the biblical basis for the ordination of women. The classis sent a communication to Synod 2009 stating that it is participating in synod under protest, due to the seating of women delegates, and it would like its protest noted in the minutes.

In Classis Zeeland, Beaverdam (Mich.) CRC challenged whether the classis was duly constituted, due to the presence of women delegates. The chair ruled that it was. The Beaverdam delegates remained in attendance, recording their objection to the seating of a female delegate. The delegates of Rusk (Mich.) CRC withdrew their delegates due to the same issue. The classis decided that churches must choose their classis delegates far enough in advance so that all churches can be informed if women are to be seated as delegates.

Training

Classis Arizona held a training workshop regarding planting church clusters. Classis Lake Erie had a panel presentation on church hospitality. Classis Heartland shared several ideas for evangelism in the local community.

Finance

Classis Niagara appointed a committee to evaluate the ministries and expenses of classis and make recommendations on how to reduce costs so that churches can use those funds for local ministry initiatives.  

New Positions

Classis Alberta North approved hiring an assistant for the stated clerk. Classis Grand Rapids East appointed Rev. Chris Schroeder as prayer coordinator. Classis Thornapple Valley created the position of classical outreach and leadership coordinator.

Abuse Prevention

Classis Northern Illinois mandated the formation of an abuse prevention team for consultation and educational events.

Belhar Confession

Classis Grand Rapids East heard a presentation of the Belhar Confession. Classis Hackensack rejected a motion to ask synod to reject the document. Classis Pacific Northwest urged Synod 2009 to recommend that Synod 2012 adopt the confession as one of the CRC’s creeds.  

Third Wave Pentacostalism

Classis Heartland sent a communication to Synod 2009 stating that it endorses the minority report coming to synod about Third Wave Pentecostalism, noting that it believes that some of the teaching of Third Wave about demonology and spiritual warfare goes beyond the clear teaching of Scripture. It also believes that the more cautious statement [in the minority report] regarding contemporary prophesy is a more prudent approach.

Faith Formation

Classes Columbia, Heartland, Rocky Mountain, and Yellowstone held discussions about material from the denomination’s Faith Formation Committee.

Children and Youths

Ottewell CRC in Edmonton, Alberta, requested advice from Classis Alberta North on their current practice of admitting children to the Lord’s Supper, since Synod 2008 asked that this practice be discontinued for a five-year period.

Classis Chatham formed a task force of people involved in youth ministry to evaluate the Classicial Youth Ministry Coordinator's job description in light of youth ministry needs and budgetary considerations.

Miscellaneous

Classes British Columbia South-East and British Columbia North-West discussed the continuing possibilities for the partnership with the churches in Sierra Leone.

Classis Grand Rapids North decided to return to annual church visits, noting that a recent protest might have been alleviated had church visitation been practiced.

Classis Illiana approved a church-visiting pilot plan to create a relational model for church visiting by assigning one pastor to each church as a permanent assignment.

Classis Huron launched a new website: www.classishuron.ca.

Classis Iakota noted that Lakeview CRC in Valentine, Neb., is the only remaining church in the denomination with the heritage designation.

Classis Niagara declined to adopted statements regarding homosexuality beyond what synod has already said.

—Banner News Correspondents


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