Two or three times each year, Christian Reformed churches send representatives to their classes, regional assemblies 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 several months. (Unless otherwise noted quotations come from minutes of the classis. Links to the relevant articles of Church Order are included.)
Ministers of the Word
Ministers welcomed into ministry in the CRC from other denominations (Art. 8): Revs. Jefferey Kempton and Wilson Cunha, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary, appointed by Synod 2022.
Ministers released from a congregation (Art. 17-a): Revs. Brian Kornelis from Bethel CRC in Edgerton, Minn.; Katherine Hirschberg from Monroe Community Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Ministers retiring (Art. 18) (granted emeritus status): Revs. Edward Jager (effective Aug. 31), Stanley Jim (effective Sept. 1), Stephen Tamming (effective Sept. 1), John Dykhuis (effective Sept. 30).
Approved as commissioned pastors called to specific roles within their classes (Art. 23): Ben Hoekman (Classis Wisconsin); Jared Yaple (Northern Michigan); S.M.* and James Reed (Yellowstone); Mark Nagy (Grand Rapids North); Carrie Rodgers (Grand Rapids East); and Ralph Mac and Ruben Aguilar (California South).
Jason Botbyl (Classis Grand Rapids East) and Nick In’t Hout (California South) were honorably released from ministry as commissioned pastors (Art. 24-d).
Commissioned pastor emeritus status (Art. 24-e) was granted to Joel Huyser (Classis Grand Rapids East), Chris Meehan (Grand Rapids North), and Bob Grussing (Grand Rapids South, effective Sept. 1).
* S.M., welcomed as commissioned pastor by Classis Yellowstone, is ministering in West Africa. At the request of the stated clerk, only initials are used here, in keeping with a practice begun by Synod 2019 where some candidates for ministry were accepted without revealing their full names publicly “because they have been and will continue to be involved in ministry where the security of those to whom they minister requires that their names and photos not be made public.”
New Ministries and Ministry Changes
An emerging (unorganized) church does not have its own council and is under the care of the council of a neighboring CRC. An organized church has its own council (Art. 38).
Iglesia Misionera Renacer in Monterey Park, Calif., organized.
Victory Fellowship, a Kinyarwanda congregation meeting within Oakdale Park Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., was recognized as emerging.
Hope for Life Community Church in Watertown, S.D., disbanded.
The emerging congregation of Grace Unlimited CRC in Los Angeles, Calif., merged with its sponsoring church, Los Angeles (Calif.) Community CRC.
Classis Grand Rapids East, at its May meeting, updated its articles of incorporation, changing “Article IV,” in part, to read:
“The Classis is a supporting assembly of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (‘Denomination’), comprised of the neighboring member churches (‘Member Churches’) located in the eastern portion of Grand Rapids, Michigan as defined by Synod, or in such redistricted area as Synod may subsequently determine (the “Churches”). The members of this corporation shall be the Member Churches.; these neighboring churches offer each other mutual support and accountability as they seek to live out a collective calling within the Classis’s geographically proximate region.* With that goal in mind and to facilitate it, the Classis’s Member Churches may be redefined only upon the request of a Member Church and authorized by The Classis and Synod. Unless otherwise required by the Church Order of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, the Member Churches shall exercise all voting rights through the votes of their appointed delegates and shall not be required to obtain the vote of their respective church Councils to ratify the votes of their delegates.”
(Deletions shown as strike out and additions in italics. The asterisk, *, references Church Order, Article 39.)
Minutes for the meeting note, “The intent of these changes is to remove the idea implicit in the stricken language, that the Classis understands that the Synod can rearrange its membership without any of its Member Churches seeking that outcome. The new language seeks to state the exact opposite, drawing on the language of the Church Order to buoy up that approach.”
Those bylaw changes, with their stated intent, come after Classis Zeeland has made a request of Synod 2023 to redistrict Classis Grand Rapids East (Agenda for Synod 2023, pp.567-570).
Classis Grand Rapids East is asking synod not to accede to that formal request (overture). “The recommendations in the overture by Classis Zeeland conflict with the recommendations of synod’s in loco committee,” the request says. And, “the Church Order and the prior decisions of synod do not support a classis imposing a redistricting on unrelated classes.”
Grand Rapids East’s request is included in the supplement to the Agenda for Synod 2023.
Editor's note: This article was updated June 5, 2023, to correct the placement of Tricia Lynn Bosma's name. She was examined for ordination as a Minister of the Word March 9 and is now correctly listed under "Candidates welcomed into ministry."