Highlights of 2015 Winter Classis Meetings

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Two or three times each year, Christian Reformed churches send representatives to their classis, a regional grouping of churches. Delegates at those meetings review and make decisions about 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):
Richard Braaksma
Dan De Graff
Jonathan DeRuiter
Paul DeWeerd
Jun Kyung Eo
Ezra Lee
Brady Mulder
Jay Stringer
Dayna Vreeken
Luke Wynja

Entering CRC Ministry from Another Denomination

Rev. Bokjin Kim
Rev. Wonchei Kim
Rev. Taejung Son
Rev. Gyeongso Yoon

Loaned to Another Denomination
Rev. Jin Choi

Leaving a Congregation

When neither retirement nor discipline is involved, a minister or commissioned pastor can, for weighty reasons, be released from ministry in a specific congregation at the request of the pastor, commissioned pastor, the church council, or both. Classes released from their congregations the following people:

Rev. Pablo Canche, Roosevelt Park Community CRC, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Rev. Nathan DeVries, Rolling Acres CRC, Mason City, Iowa
Rev. Peter Janssens, Faith CRC, Burlington, Ontario
Rev. Richard Vander Vaart, Living Hope CRC, Sarnia, Ontario
Rev. Ruth Febriana Folkerts, Hillcrest CRC, Denver, Colo.
Commissioned Pastor Bob Dusek, Horizon Community CRC, Highlands Ranch, 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 in the CRC was ended include the following:

Humberto Casanova
Bradley Close
Arturo Gomez
Tobin Gruppen
Se Jong Jang
Yichul (Lee Chul) Jeong
Kevin Jordan
Philip Landers
Vinh Paul Le

Commissioned Pastors

Commissioned pastors are elders called to a specific ministry and ordained to function within that classis. The following commissioned pastors were approved by classes:

Mary Dewitt (Classis Holland)
Josh Friend (Classis Alberta North)
Eric Graef (Classis Central California)
Darren Hoogendoorn (Classis Quinte)
Jeremy Pool (Classis Wisconsin)
Roberto Quinonez (Classis California South)
John Eisenring (Classis Arizona)

Marlin Van Schepen (Classis Minnkota)

Ending Service as a Commissioned Pastor
Bryan Wiegers (Atlantic Northeast)

Kellie Gill (British Columbia South-East

New Ministries and Ministry Changes

An emerging church does not have its own council and is under the care of a council of a neighboring Christian Reformed Church. 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 were designated as organized congregations:

Evergreen CRC, Fort McMurray Alberta
Summit Church, Farmington, Maine
By Grace Alone Frankford Fellowship, Philadelphia Pa.
Eighth St. Community, Philadelphia, Pa.
Grace and Peace Community Fellowship, Philadelphia, Pa.
Mount Airy Community, Philadelphia, Pa.
One Hope Community, Philadelphia, Pa.

The following churches were designated as emerging congregations:

Korean Presbyterian Galilee, Albuquerque, N.M.
Great Vision CRC, Los Angeles, Calif.
The following churches formed a union church:
Harrison (S.D.) CRC and  First Reformed Church of Harrison

Ministries Ended

Montello Park, Holland, Mich.

Leadership

Classis Heartland declined two requests to seat women as delegates.

Finance

Classis Illiana adopted a model for paying ministry shares based on operating budgets rather than membership.

Other

Classis Quinte apologized to Maranatha CRC in Belleville, Ont., for things about which Synod 2012 reprimanded the classis, as part of the reconciliation process.

Classes Hamilton and Toronto sent a communication to the Canadian ministries director requesting a process to lead awareness and increase congregational involvement in settling refugees from the Middle East, particularly Syria.

Synodical Committee to Provide Pastoral Guidance Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

The following classes held listening sessions with the synodical committee:

British Columbia South-East
Quinte
Toronto
Zeeland

Synod 2015

Classis Hamilton sent a communication to Synod 2015 expressing concern about the membership of the Synodical Committee to Provide Pastoral Guidance Regarding Same-Sex Marriage.

Classis Pacific Northwest sent a communication asking Synod 2015 for a one-year delay in discussing the report of the Task Force Reviewing Structure and Culture.

Classis Georgetown sent an overture (request) that Synod 2015 appoint a committee to establish guidelines and protocols pertaining to the relationship between non-ordained staff and church councils.

Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan requested that Synod 2015 reinstate the practice of appointing women advisors to synod if there are less than 25 female delegates.

Classis Holland requested that synod allow dual affiliation of Christian Reformed congregations with other denominations that are in ecclesiastical fellowship with the CRC.

Classes Atlantic Northeast and Minnkota requested that Synod 2015 classify the CRC’s relationship with the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PCN) as that of a church in dialogue.

Classis Hamilton requested an explanation and clarification of Church Order Article 23 regarding Commissioned Pastors.

Classis Chatham requested a revision of the supplement to Church Order Article 84 regarding definitions of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse.

Classis Minnkota requested that synod instruct the consistories of Calvin CRC and Eastern Avenue CRC (both in Grand Rapids, Mich.) to exercise discipline with respect to those in their congregations who are publicly advocating homosexual practice through their membership in All One Body, and to admonish the consistories of those two churches for hosting meetings of a group whose purpose is to promote behavior that synod has declared to be sinful.

Task Force to Study the Offices of Elder and Deacon

Classis Lake Erie requested that Synod 2015 adopt the report but not the recommended changes to the deacons’ ordination form.

Classis British Columbia South-East requested that Synod 2015 change some of the proposed rewording of Church Order articles.

Classis Heartland sent a communication noting it may be difficult to find deacon delegates for synod.

Classes Alberta North and Atlantic Northeast sent communications supporting the adoption of the report.

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