Highlights of 2017 Winter Classis Meetings

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 some of the most recent classis meetings.

Entering Ordained Ministry in the CRC

Classes examined and approved the following candidates (seminary graduates):
Jesse Walhof
Rick Roeda
Willem de Vries
Rhonda Workman
Matthew Kaemingk
Nathan Klingenberg
Joshua Jung
John Chen
Eric Kas
Ariana Tolsma

Ministers Entering CRC Ministry from Another Denomination
Rev. Jung Woo Kim
Rev. Frank Lanting
Todd Statham

Ministers Loaned to Another Denomination
Rev. Abraham Woo-Song Chung to Kwang Yum Community Church
Rev. Jay Song to a church plant in northern California
Rev. Won Seok Song, to Alaska
Rev. Don Ridder, to Escazu Christian Fellowship in Costa Rica

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:

Rev. Randy Blacketer, First Cutlerville CRC in Byron Center, Mich.
Rev. Trevor Payton, Covenant CRC in North Haledon, N.J.
Rev. Gerald Vander Hoek, Jewel CRC 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 non-ministerial 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:

Stephan Van Eck
Jacci Busch
Rick Kim
David Chong
Samuel Perry
JongBam “Tiger” Oh

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:

Joe Paravisini (Atlantic Northeast)
Ryan Stanley (Northern Illinois)
Alfredo de la Rosa (Classis Holland)
Carol Petter (Grand Rapids East)
Ricardo Taverez (Grand Rapids East)
Anthony Matias (Classis Hackensack)
AJ (Alphonso) Santino (Classis Hackensack)
Colin Watson (Grand Rapids East)
Steve Winkle (Grand Rapids East)
Danny Skelton (Rocky Mountain)

Commissioned Pastor status ended:
Bryan Blakely (Grand Rapids East)
Amanda Roozeboom (Grand Rapids 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:

New City CRC, Kansas City, Mo.
Ye-Eun Presbyterian CRC, Los Angeles, Calif.
Global Mission CRC, Los Angeles, Calif.
Kibbie CRC, South Haven, Mich.

The following churches were designated as emerging:

F Street Neighborhood Church, Lincoln, Neb.
New Joy CRC, La Palma, Calif.
Oxnard Korean CRC, Oxnard, Calif.
Mercy Presbyterian CRC, Gardena, Calif.

Holland Korean CRC in Holland, Mich., Jewel CRC in Denver, Colo., and Ottewell CRC in Edmonton, Alta., closed.

Leadership

Classis Illiana defeated a motion that would allow women to be seated as delegates at classis.

Classis Northcentral Iowa voted to allow women to be delegates to classis.

Classis Minnkota asks Classis Grand Rapids East to explain by way of letter to Classis Minnkota (interacting with Scripture, the Church Order and synodical decisions mentioned in the appeal) why they have continued to allow All One Body meetings in churches of their classis without these churches clearly stating that they do not endorse the teachings of All One Body, which they believe are contrary to the Word of God and the Covenant for Office-bearers.

Classes Minnkota and Wisconsin request that Alto (Wisconsin) CRC be allowed to transfer to Classis Minnkota because Classis Wisconsin permits women to be seated as delegates.

SYNOD 2017

Classis Minnkota asks Synod 2017 to establish oversight of the blog Do Justice to ensure that posted articles are in line with Scripture and our confessions and that articles that are not in line with Scripture and our confessions are removed.

Classis Pacific Northwest asks that the Reformed confessions and core denominational documents be translated into the seven most commonly used languages by non-English speaking Christian Reformed Churches (Korean, Spanish, Chinese or Mandarin, Navajo, Laotian, Hmong, Vietnamese).

Classis Eastern Canada requests that ecclesiastical documents such as the ecumenical creeds and Reformed confessions, as well as liturgical documents, be published in French on the denomination’s website.

Classis Southeast U.S. requests that Synod 2017 instruct the executive director, the Board of Trustees, and each agency to act with urgency to gain a full understanding of the denomination’s membership decline, develop a comprehensive strategy to reverse the trend of decline, and bring a positive trend line for membership growth through both church renewal and church planting.

Classis Minnkota communicates to Synod 2017 that when delegates from Minnkota to synod protest the seating of women office-bearers as delegates, they do so not out of prejudice against sisters in Christ, but because of their convictions based on Scripture and our confessions. “We send this communication to clarify where we stand and to indicate that our desire is not to offend brothers and sisters in Christ but to honor the Word of God and our confessions.”

Classis Eastern Canada requests that Synod 2017 adopt a rule that synodical reports longer than 10 pages include a mandatory executive summary.

The Belhar Confession

Synod 2017 will discuss whether the Belhar Confession will be designated as a contemporary testimony like Our World Belongs to God or if it will remain an ecumenical faith declaration.
Classes British Columbia North-West and Red Mesa ask Synod 2017 adopt the Belhar Confession as a contemporary testimony.

Classes Columbia, Holland, Hudson, and Alberta South/Saskatchewan request that Synod 2017 retain the Belhar Confession in the category of “ecumenical faith declaration.

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