Classis Watch: Winter 2019

Two or three times each year, Christian Reformed churches send representatives to their classis, a regional group of churches. Many of the actions taken by classes are governed by the CRC’s Church Order, the rules that govern denominational life. Here are some of the actions by classes in the past few months.

Those welcomed into ministry in the Christian Reformed Church include seminary graduates Benj. Petroelje, Calvin Chen, Beverly Weeks, James Zwier, Norm Underland, Darren Kornelis, Kyle Dieleman, Chadd Huizenga, Christopher Lee, Derrick Lee, SangMyung Samuel Lee, and Ernesto Hernandez (Church Order Articles 6 and 10).

Those welcomed into ministry in the CRC from other denominations, following a satisfactory colloquium doctum (doctrinal conversation) establishing soundness of doctrine, sanctity of life, and knowledge and appreciation of Christian Reformed practice, include Anthony Selvaggio, Michael Saville, Rev. Sam Pang, Marcia Fairrow, and Do Hyeong Kim (Church Order Art. 8, p. 23).

Revs. Shannon Jammal-Hollemans, Daniel Rhee, Erik Kamp, Derek Van Dalen, and Mark Scheffers were declared eligible for call.

Ministers released from a congregation: Rev. Mark Bennink from 12th Avenue CRC, Jenison, Mich.; Rev. Jim Kuiper from Bethany CRC, Bellflower, Calif.; Rev. Michael Miedema, from chaplaincy at the Manitoba Developmental Centre (Portage la Prairie, Man.) (Church Order Art. 17a, p. 34).

Leaving ministry in the CRC

Churches and classes make a declaration reflecting a resigned minister’s status that is appropriate to the way and spirit in which the minister acted during the time leading up to and including resignation from office. Those designations are: honorably released, released, dismissed, or in the status of one deposed (Church Order Art. 14, p. 22).

Brent Kladder, Jay Song,  and Hyo-Nam Kim were honorably released.

Laurie Zuverink, Il Young Kang, Kang Jun-suk, David Cho, Sung Woo Chang,Moses Jeong, Ji Hyun Jun, David Yang, Woon Se Yeo, Young Ook Kim, William Yang, and Sung Phil Yang, were released.

Brett McAtee was dismissed.

Commissioned Pastors

The following people were approved as commissioned pastors, called to specific roles within their classis: Brian Bylsma (Classis Quinte), Andrew Wahlstrom (Classis Illiana), Derek Elmi-Buursma (Classis Northern Illinois), Catherine Evans-Smith (Classis Central California), Dan Crapo (Classis Lake Superior), Jennifer Burnett and Ken White (Classis B.C. South-East), Heather Kempskie (Classis Atlantic Northeast), Ray Nottke (Classis California South), Mark Broadus and Derek Ellens (Classis Toronto), and Tim Cordova (Classis Greater Los Angeles). (Church Order Art. 23)

The following people are ending their service as commissioned pastors: Jon Vugteveen and Dean Sinclair (Classis Grand Rapids North), Marc Hoogstad (Classis Quinte), Brett Werner (Classis Muskegon), Phillip Majorins (Classis Central California), and Ben Mulder (Classis California South).

New Ministries and Ministry Changes

An emerging (unorganized) church does not have its own council and is under the care of a council of a neighboring CRC. An organized church has its own council. (Church Order Art. 38, p. 74)

Churches declared organized: River City CRC, Cambridge, Ont.

Churches declared emerging: Crosspoint Community Church, Anchorage, Alaska.

Churches affiliating with the CRC: Cerritos (Calif.) Mission Church; Yeolin Community Church, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Renamed: Springing Fountain CRC, Buena Park, Calif., is now Dream Church; Calvary CRC, Livingston, N.J., is now Great Hope CRC.

Ministries closed: Calvary Community Church, Plainwell, Mich.; Spiritual Eyes CRC, Redlands, Calif.; Church of God’s Love, Saratoga, Calif.; Bridge of Life, Sacramento, Calif.; Mount Airy Community Church, Philadelphia, Pa.

Disaffiliated: South Bay Early CRC, Long Beach, Calif.; Woodville Community Church, White Cloud, Mich.; and Newman (Mich.) Christian Community Church.

Synod 2019 — the annual general assembly of the CRC

Synod 2019 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 14-20. For continuous coverage, download the Banner app on your mobile device or follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter.
The 2019 Agenda for Synod is available online.

The Report of the Synod Review Taskforce

Classes Holland, Zeeland, and Atlantic Northeast are asking that Synod 2019 reject recommendations requiring classes to pay registration fees for synod delegates, stating that costs for synod are already covered by ministry shares.

Classes Zeeland, Central Plains, Iakota, Atlantic Northeast, and Georgetown want Synod 2019 to reject a proposed requirement to include a female delegate or a delegate from an ethnic minority, noting that it is the prerogative of churches and classes to select their delegates. Classis Heartland wants it to be a recommendation, rather than a requirement.

Classes Zeeland and Atlantic Northeast ask that Synod 2019 reject a recommendation calling for power and privilege training for synod delegates.

See also “No Synod Delegate Fees, No Delegation Requirements, Some Classes Say.”

Other

Classis Iakota asks that Synod 2019 instruct Resonate Global Mission to place missionaries in the care of a classis to reduce the burden of fundraising on missionaries (Agenda for Synod, p. 514).

Classis Lake Superior asks Synod 2019 to direct the executive director and the Council of Delegates to identify pastors of the United Reformed Church who left the CRC due to deep convictions of their faith and change their release status to “honorably” released where appropriate, to effect reconciliation (Agenda for Synod, p. 515).

Classis Atlantic Northeast is asking synod to propose changes in Church Order Article 51, removing the ordinary expectation that congregations worship twice on a Sunday, bringing it in harmony with current widespread practice in the denomination, as well as delete Church Order Article 54-b, the expectation that once each Sunday a sermon be preached using the church’s creeds and confessions, for the same reason. This proposal would be considered by a future synod. The classis also wants Synod 2019 to remind denominational boards and committees to review the current list of special observance Sundays lest recognition of institutions and causes detract from the worship of God (Agenda for Synod, p. 509).

Classis Georgetown would like Synod 2019 to appoint a committee to study the morality and advisability of ecclesiastical marriage, without a civil marriage, noting that this would help congregations and pastors better minister to couples seeking marriage in situations where civil marriage creates financial problems (Agenda for Synod, p. 518).

Classis Pacific Northwest is asking Synod 2019 to approve dividing the classis in two, creating a new Classis North Cascades that would encompass churches in Whatcom County, Wash. (Agenda for Synod, p. 480).

Classes California South and Hackensack want Synod 2019 to declare teachings of Kinism a heresy, in particular the teaching that interracial marriage is sinful, and the Kinist teaching that God has ordained separation in a religio-ethnostate that necessitates racial separation in all areas of life. The overture cites the fact that a pastor within the CRC propagated Kinism, despite efforts of the classis to respond, and the pastor ultimately left the CRC and took his congregation with him (Agenda for Synod, p. 489).

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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