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Two or three times each year, Christian Reformed churches send representatives to their classis, a regional assembly 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.)

Candidates examined and approved for ministry in the Christian Reformed Church (Arts. 6 and 10): Marissa Walters, Anastaze Nzabonimpa (as a missionary to Uganda), Daniel Meyers, Evan Tinklenberg, Brandon Mick, Ryan Poelman, Jolene Veenstra, Dylan Harper, Robert Moore III, and Cathy Ferchau.

Ministers welcomed to CRC ministry from other denominations (Art. 8): Revs. Hyon Joong Lim and Jose Pinero.

Ministers released from a congregation (Art. 17-a): Revs. Steve Vandyk from Essex (Ont.) CRC; Rob Gruessing from Bauer CRC in Hudsonville, Mich.; Cedric Parsels from Dorr (Mich.) CRC; David Van Berkel from First CRC in Sarnia, Ont.; Jason Vermeulen (minister of the Reformed Church in America) from EverGreen Ministries in Hudsonville, Mich.; Eric Kas from Oakdale Park CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.; Jeremy Vandermeer from Centrepointe CRC in Edmonton, Alta., Grant Vander Hoek from Mission Hills Community Church in Mission, B.C., and Meg Jenista Kuykendall from Washington, DC CRC.

Declared eligible for call: Revs. Steve Vandyk, Meg Jenista Kuykendall, and Ruth Folkerts. Eligibility extended for: Revs. Kevin teBrake, Joshua Amaezechi, and Brian Tebben.

Leaving Ministry in the CRC

Classes may end a pastor’s ordained ministry status guided by Church Order articles 14 and 17 and indicating a designation reflecting the manner and spirit in which the minister acted during the time leading up to and including resignation from office.

Janina Krabbe, Justin Van Zee, Trent Elders, Seok Hwan (David) Joo, Chris Fluit (effective May 21, 2024), and Rick Admiraal were honorably released.

Kelli Berkner and Yun Jin Kim were released.

Anthony J. Gretz was dismissed (Art. 14-c)

Ministers retiring (Art. 18): Revs. Bruce Adema, Samuel Cooper, Dan Brouwer, Paula Seales, Harv Roosma, Randy Blacketer, James Boer, Robert Boersma, Jung Ho Suh, William (Bill) Johnson, Maged Fayez, Don Cowart and Jim Kok (effective May 31), King Fai Choi (effective June 5), Philip Apol (effective June 15), Dan Jongsma and Bill Nieuwenhuis (effective June 30), and Sung Kwan Kim (effective Dec. 29, 2024).

Commissioned Pastors

Approved as commissioned pastors called to specific roles within their classes (Art. 23): Mike Brummel (Classis Columbia, formerly commissioned pastor Classis North Cascades), David Beck (Lake Erie), João Pedro (J.P.) Macimiano Trabbold (Central California), Justin Roukema (B.C. South-East), and Frank Quijada (Pacific Northwest).

Brian Boucek (Georgetown) and Fred DeYoung (Kalamazoo) were honorably released and Ben Hoekman (Wisconsin) was released from ministry as commissioned pastors (Art. 24-d).

Commissioned pastor emeritus status (Art. 24-e) was granted to Bob Zoerman (Thornapple Valley).

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).

The English ministry of Centrepointe CRC in Edmonton, Alta., ceased as of Dec. 31, 2023. The Portuguese ministry (Igreja Ponto Central) continues as Centrepointe CRC with an emerging status.

Reclassified as emerging: Grace Valley CRC in Las Vegas, Nev., and Sacramento (Calif.) City Life CRC.

Formed a union church: Crosswinds CRC and Grace Community Church (Reformed Church in America), in Holland, Mich., formed Intersection Ministries.

Disaffiliated or withdrawn: VictoryPoint Ministries in Holland, Mich.; North Center Lao CRC, an emerging congregation in Brooklyn Park, Minn.; the So Mang congregation in Edmonton, Alta., (associated with The River CRC); and Bridge of Hope Outreach, formerly classified as emerging, in La Habra, Calif.

Closed or dissolved: Morrison (Ill.) CRC (last service Dec. 24, 2023); Smyrna CRC in Monterey Park, Calif.; Community CRC in Saginaw, Mich.; Good News Chapel in Walnut, Calif. (last service Feb. 26, 2024); and Crossroads CRC in Madison, Wis., (last service tentatively scheduled for June 2).

Affiliated: The Sarang Church in Port Washington, N.Y.

Other Actions

Classis Quinte, in response to a formal request from one of its member churches, convened a “committee to explore the possibility of Canadian conversation” to help discern what is best for the CRC in Canada. The classis declined to directly “convene an on-line (zoom) conference for all the classes in Canada.” A group called Towards CRC Canada has been holding “kitchen table conversations” in online video conferences since last fall and has met with the executive committee of the Canadian Ministry Board, the governing board for CRCNA ministry in Canada.

Classis Hudson, which has been in a protracted dispute with Queen’s CRC in Jamaica, N.Y., over that historical Chinese congregation’s status (its ability to be recognized as ‘organized,’ according to Church Order, with an appropriately elected council) declared “invalid” an “Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation” that was filed with the Queens County Clerk on September 13, 2021. In other words, Classis Hudson is operating as if the church’s articles of incorporation from 1960 are still in effect. It recognizes Queens CRC as unorganized and under supervision of the council of Faith Community Church in Wyckoff, N.J. Classis Hudson notes, “The Amended Certificate was not presented to Faith Community CRC as the supervising council (CO Art 38-a) nor did the Queens CRC complete a disaffiliation from the denomination according to the steps outlined in CO Art. 38-f.” Classis Hudson also recognized “that Faith Community CRC can no longer affirm Mr. David Lowe as an authorized spokesperson for the interest of Queens CRC,” noting, “This decision of classis based on new information rescinds any previous decisions of Classis Hudson related to the status of Mr. David Lowe.”

RELATED: Queens CRC: The Future of a Signature Congregation in Dispute (March 28, 2022)

Classis Grand Rapids East approved a mandate for its committee addressing alignment with the CRCNA’s confessional declarations related to human sexuality. The committee “shall listen to the churches of classis, describe where each church is on sexuality issues, with its rationale, and discuss with each church ways to follow synodical guidelines, given their position and their desire to minister faithfully with all”. The committee includes six members from the congregations of Shawnee Park, Church of the Servant, Madison, Fuller, and Calvin CRCs in Grand Rapids. A communication from this committee is being sent to Synod 2024: “Classis GRE sends this communication out of its love and commitment to the denomination and to provide an overview of its ongoing work in response to synod’s recent decisions about human sexuality. We recognize the pain felt throughout the denomination as churches respond to these decisions and each other,” it says. (Communication 8)

Classis Holland adopted guidelines from “Encouraging Acquiescence, Guiding Into Clarity: A Proposal for Classis Holland in Light of Synod 2022/2023’s Decisions.” Classis minutes defined acquiescence as “submit(ting) to the decision(s) of a person or group without necessarily agreeing with that decision. Put differently, it is to subordinate one’s own disagreement with a group to the greater good of carrying on with that group because we are committed to a relationship with a person and a people—in our case, with Christ and with Christ’s body—that has compelling and enduring significance.” Four votes against were registered.

Classis Ko-Am created a task force to make a “pastoral care plan for homosexuality-related matters in local churches” and Classis Alberta North approved forming a hospitality cohort to look at “How do we effectively welcome and enfold people from the LGBTQ+ community?” without debating “confessional status, the Human Sexuality Report (HSR) or position statements regarding human sexuality.”

Classis Pacific Northwest affirmed “its intention to follow the directions of Synod 2023, and if Synod 2024 does not provide clear guidance, Classis PNW will provide a forum for conversations within our classis to hear and love each other well even in disagreement.”


Classes may direct requests or communications to synod, according to the Rules of Synodical Procedure.

Classis Quinte requests that synod amend the Council of Delegates Governance Handbook to clarify the Council’s role in the nomination process of the members delegated by classes: “While the authority of the Council of Delegates is delegated by the Synod, there are limits to that authority and must be especially with regard to its membership.” (Overture 1)

Classis Muskegon and Classis Niagara make requests regarding the CRCNA Ministers Pension Plan. Muskegon’s requests include that the current plan be closed to new participants by the end of 2026, that synod investigate the health of the current plan, and appoint a Retirement Plan Task Force to create a more flexible plan. Niagara requests that the calculation of the Final Average Salary used in the formula for calculating pension benefits use 100% of the three-year average ministers’ compensation instead of 75%. (Overtures 3 and 4)

Classis Iakota has questions about the continued ecumenical status of the Reformed Church in America as a church in communion, asking Synod 2024 to initiate communication to clarify several points, including “whether RCA clergy have been, or are being, permitted to solemnize same-sex marriages, or to themselves remain in same-sex marriages or romantic partnerships, while remaining ministers in good standing.” Pending further review from Synod 2025, Iakota requests synod provisionally declare inoperative previous statements of cooperation with the RCA. (Overture 15)

Requests Relating to Church Order

Classis Holland requests Synod 2024 amend the Supplement to Church Order Article 40-a to formally allow chaplains to serve as delegates to classis. Classis Atlantic Northeast asks that synod not adopt the proposed addition to Church Order Art. 23—“d. Each church through its council shall attend to the proper support of its commissioned pastor,” believing the definition of “proper support” needs more study and clarification. (Overture 13) Atlantic Northeast also requests an addition to the Church Order Supplement, Arts. 82-84, that would spell out the process for broader assemblies to “apply special discipline in extraordinary circumstances.” (Overture 24)

Classis Ko-Am and Classis Greater Los Angeles request synod approve the transfer of All Nations Church in Bakersfield, Calif., from Ko-Am to Greater Los Angeles (in accordance with Church Order Art. 39).(Overtures 5 and 6)

Classes Arizona and California South request that synod “create a space on the floor of Synod for the leaders of the Consejo Latino (an Hispanic ministry network in the CRC) to report on its work and share its resources with the CRCNA.” (Overture 2)

Classis Chicago South requests that synod appoint a task force to study multisite churches, intending to provide a roadmap for how churches might become a multisite campus or enfold a church as a campus, give direction, advice, and guidance on what models best fit Reformed theology and polity and which models shouldn’t be employed in Reformed churches, and recommend changes to church order supplements to facilitate such arrangements. (Overture 7)

Classis Minnkota asks synod to “instruct future Program Committees (of synod) to seek nominations from the Classes for a synodical parliamentarian prior to making their appointment.” Synod 2019 called for the inclusion of a synodical parliamentarian who would “assist synod in doing its work efficiently” when “procedural questions arise” (Acts of Synod 2019, p. 810). The Rules for Synodical Procedure “only state that this position ‘could be filled by the faculty advisor for church polity,’ not that it must be (Rules, III.B.2.h),” the request states. (Overture 20)

Requests Relating to Human Sexuality

Several classes are sending requests or communications connected to the previous two synods’ actions on matters of human sexuality and the effects of those decisions for officebearers and congregations who disagree that all homosexual sex is biblically prohibited.

Classis Minnkota asks synod to require that every delegate to synod re-sign the Covenant for Officebearers with the understanding that in signing “all officers are also vowing before God that they heartily believe and fully affirm, without reservation, the confessions and anything Synod has deemed to have confessional status” and to not seat delegates who “cannot fully affirm this statement.” (Overture 19)

Believing Synod 2023’s failure to call Neland Avenue CRC to “repentance by way of a new In Loco Committee (Acts of Synod 2023, 1027-1028)” was in conflict with the Word of God, Minnkota requests that Synod 2024 declare this and that it “carry out the biblical requirements that Synod 2023, in conflict with the Word of God, declined to pursue.” (Overture 34. See also “Synod 2023 Rejects Neland Avenue CRC’s Appeal,” June 15, 2023.)

Classis Iakota refutes what it calls a common argument “for maintaining ‘unity’ with, and withholding discipline from, those who disagree with both synods’ affirmations that “unchastity’ in Heidelberg Q&A 108 ‘encompasses adultery, premarital sex, extramarital sex, polyamory, pornography, and homosexual sex, all of which violate the seventh commandment.’ That common argument is this: Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 108 does not address a ‘salvation issue’ and should therefore be treated as some form of adiaphora—a matter judged to be not essential to the faith: a ‘questionable’ or ‘disputable’ issue about which Christians can disagree.” Pointing to the catechism’s Q&A 87, “Scripture tells us that no unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like will inherit the kingdom of God,” Iakota says the Scriptures and confessional standards make clear that “unchastity and sexual ethics are salvation issues.” It requests that synod “declare that Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 108, along with all cases of unrepentant sin, addresses a salvation issue” and that any denial of that be worthy of special discipline. (Overture 29)

Classis Grand Rapids East is sending to synod communications of protest from six of its member churches—Boston Square, Fuller, Grace, Neland Avenue, Woodlawn, and Eastern Avenue CRCs, noting “that while all the congregations of classis are not in protest, classis as a whole considers it important that synod hear these cries of the heart from our congregations.” Statements from the protests include: “In the name of faithfulness to one interpretation of Scripture and one view of purity of doctrine and life, the CRC is causing trauma and deep sorrow in our queer siblings, and harm to our congregations, both those that hold to the views expressed in the HSR (human sexuality report) and our publicly affirming congregations”—Grace CRC. “While our members think differently about questions of human sexuality, our Neland faith family has walked this journey together, understanding that our mission to serve others in Christ’s name is more important than total agreement on complex social issues”—Neland Avenue CRC. “(W)e express our desire to remain unified in Christ with other members of the Christian Reformed Church in the essentials of the faith and lament the recent movement toward requiring certain uniformity in thought and practice as markers of inclusion within Christ’s church”—Eastern Avenue CRC. (Communication 26)

Classis Chicago South asks that synod rescind the instruction to classes “to guide into compliance the officebearers of their constituent churches who publicly reject the biblical guidelines affirmed by Synod 2022 regarding same-sex relationships,” saying the grounds for the decision are flawed and “the Church Order gives responsibility for discipline to the consistory, not to synod (Church Order, Articles 78-84).” (Overture 33)

Classis Alberta North requests that synod “review and clarify the implications of its decisions concerning the definition of unchastity in HC Q&A 108, and clarify how this definition as an interpretation of the confessions functions in the life of the churches, the agencies and the institutions of the CRC.” (Overture 32)

Requests Relating to Church Discipline

A few classes request action regarding those who are not in alignment with synod’s previous decisions.

For “officebearers that publicly refuse to comply with the CRC views on ‘unchastity’ in word or life,” Classis Zeeland is asking synod to instruct classes to apply “limited suspension” with “loss of all privileges at broader assemblies, denominational boards and Council of Delegates.” (Overture 23)

Classis Iakota requests that synod “call all CRC churches who publicly state they are no longer willing to call practicing same-sex relationships a sin” submit statements of repentance or voluntarily disaffiliate from the CRCNA by Dec. 31, 2024. (Overture 25)

Classis Georgetown requests that synod “require a Letter of Repentance from the Consistory of Eastern Avenue CRC for defying the decisions of Synod 2022 &2023,” alleging that by administering the sacrament of baptism to the daughter of “two women in a same-sex relationship … it became clear that Eastern Avenue CRC will treat a same-sex union as if it were a legitimate and permissible marriage in the Christian church even though Synod has definitively stated that homosexual sex is a violation of the seventh commandment.” (Overture 26)

Classis Minnkota asks that synod require “classes that have constituent churches which publicly reject the biblical guidelines affirmed by Synod 2022” to provide a written update of the efforts made to guide their officebearers into compliance and that Classis Grand Rapids East “provide a written update to Synod 2024 outlining the steps they've taken to discipline Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church.” (Overture 31)

Requests Relating to Gravamina

Several requests are about the use of gravamina—formal expressions of a question or difficulty with a point of doctrine by an officebearer, as described in the supplement to Church Order Art. 5.

Requests already received by Synod 2023 about gravamina were not given a response before the end of that synod. The 2023 synodical officers determined that the overtures would be deferred to Synod 2024 along with the advisory committee reports—Reports 8D and 8E minority and majority—which made recommendations that Synod 2023 did not complete voting on. Classis Minnkota “overtures synod to ‘lay directly before synod’” these reports “as the first order of business.” Minnkota said, “These reports and their corresponding overtures have already been reviewed by a synodical advisory committee” and that “Synod 2023 … did a great disservice to the delegates by not completing the work they were sent there to do. … The officers of Synod 2024 should take this action, even if unprecedented, in order to honor the work of the Committee 8 majority.” (Overture 21)

2024 overtures about gravamina include requests from Classis Zeeland (Overture 22) and Classis Iakota (Overture 35) to add a timetable to Church Order guidelines for resolving confessional-difficulty gravamina and make clear that gravamina are not meant to be used for an assembly to tolerate an officebearer’s “settled conviction that a doctrine contained in the confessions is wrong.”

Related, Classis Minnkota asks synod “to not allow faculty of Calvin University to take exceptions to the Covenant for Faculty in the particular area of our confessional definition of unchastity.” (Overture 44) Calvin’s board voted previously to “retain faculty members who expressed disagreement with part of the CRCNA position on human sexuality that was formalized by the CRC’s Synod 2022.” In another request, Minnkota asks synod to “instruct all delegates (to synod) to disclose any current confessional-difficulty gravamina during the roll call.” (Overture 20)

Classes B.C. North-West (Overture 37) and Grand Rapids South request that synod maintain local council authority over discipline, timelines, and pastoral care for the confessional-difficulty gravamen process (Overture 27 and 41) and Classis Huron asks “Synod 2024 to not implement any new acts of discipline or mandatory timelines” for officebearers who have filed a confessional difficulty gravamen with regards to the confessional status of what constitutes unchastity. (Overture 38) Classis Red Mesa also expresses a desire to preserve the current gravamen process. “We judge that it is neither right, feasible, nor morally necessary for any church’s ministry leadership to be limited only to the people who unreservedly agree with all of the confessional interpretations, including Synod 2022’s confessional declaration.” (Overture 36)

Classis Eastern Canada wants “a taskforce to review the Covenant for Office-bearers and the related Article 5 in the Church Order,” providing analysis and recommendations to Synod 2025. (Overture 18)

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