News from May 2011 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 the highlights from the most recent classis meetings:

Entering Ordained Ministry in the CRC

Classes examined and approved the following candidates (seminary graduates):

  • Elizabeth Guillaume-Koene

Readmitted to Ministry in the CRC

  • Rev. Doug Vande Kamp

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. John Kuperus, Blyth CRC, Ontario

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:

  • Coleman Moore

Deposition Requested

  • Classis Quinte requested that Maranatha CRC, Belleville, Ontario, depose Rev. John Visser. Further discussion is planned.

Ministry Associates

Ministry Associates are elders called to a specific ministry and ordained to function within that classis in that role. Ministry associates approved by classes were:

  • John VanderWall (Thornapple Valley)
  • David Locke (Toronto)
  • Jim Halstead (Kalamazoo)
  • Brent Beckett (Grand Rapids North)

Leadership Issues and Leadership Training & Development

  • Classis California South discussed whether the sort of church discipline called for in the Church Order of the CRC is workable and effective in the current culture.
  • Classis Quinte held a training session on healthy leadership styles and the relationship between pastors and councils.
  • Classis Grand Rapids South established positions for a ministry growth coordinator and a communication coordinator.
  • Classis Huron held a discussion about young adult ministry and a discussion of the major items on Synod 2011’s agenda.
  • In Classis Kalamazoo two churches continue to protest the presence of women delegates.

New Ministries and Ministry Changes

  • Classis Chatham approved starting a campus ministry on the Woodstock, Ontario, campus of Fanshawe College.

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. The following churches moved from emerging to organized:

  • Monroe Community CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich. (Grand Rapids South)
  • Filipino-American CRC, Jersey City, N.J. (Hudson)

Ministries Ended

  • The Gathering, church plant in Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Living Mosaic CRC, Burlington, Ontario.

Belhar Confession

Synod 2012 will be asked to decide whether to adopt the Belhar Confession as a fourth Reformed standard for the Christian Reformed Church (alongside the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort).

The following classis held a discussion about the Belhar Confession:

  • Hamilton

Safe Church Ministry

  • Classis Chatham announced the formation of a classis counseling fund for survivors of abuse and for repentant perpetrators.

Faith Formation

  • Classis Kalamazoo held a presentation from the Synodical Committee on Faith Formation, including discussion of children’s participation in the Lord’s Supper.

Overtures (Requests) to Synod 2011

·         Classis Pacific Hanmi and Classis Greater Los Angeles asked Synod 2011 to reject the CRC Board of Trustees’ Diversity in Leadership report (Agenda for Synod 2011, p. 55) and appoint a broader task force with a new mandate.

Communications to Synod 2011

  • Classis Hudson requests clarification of the circumstances surrounding the resignation of two high level denominational leaders.
  • Classis Zeeland sent a communication to Synod 2011 stating that the resignation of the CRC’s executive director was handled inappropriately and under false pretenses, and asking why “personal and family reasons” were cited when the Board of Trustees called for the resignation.
  • Classis Zeeland sent a communication to Synod 2011 expressing concern regarding the biblical adequacy of, and bureaucratic control entailed by, the Board of Trustees’ Diversity in Leadership report and recommendations. 

Banner News Correspondents

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