Highlights from 2013 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 their 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):
Sarah Albers
Andrew Aukema
Michael Boerkoel
Benjamin Browneye
Bryan Dick
Jeff Kroondyk
Kurt Monroe
George Lubbers
David Ten Clay

Transferred to the CRC from other denominations were the following:
Jong Bam (Tiger) Oh
Jim Halstead

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 from their congregations the following ministers:
Wayne DeYoung, from missionary service in Mexico
Joy Engelsman, from First CRC, Denver, Colo.
Todd Grotenhuis, from Ideal Park CRC in Wyoming, Mich.
Ladan Jennings, from Mill Creek (Wash.) Community CRC
David Nederhood and Frank Guter, from Alameda (Calif.) CRC
Dae Won Shin, from Yung Kwang CRC in Las Vegas, Nev.

Leaving Ordained Ministry in the CRC
Classes may end 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 did 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:
Bobbyjon Bauman
John Gerrits
Seong Soo (Bob) Kim
Trent Walker

Commissioned Pastors (formerly Ministry Associates)
Commissioned pastors are elders called to a specific ministry and ordained to function within that classis. The following commissioned pastors were approved by classes:
Marco Arandia, Greater Los Angeles
Marco Daniels, Pacific Northwest
Michael Gulotta, Columbia
Ron Hosmar, Eastern Canada
Steven Hull, Rocky Mountain
TJ Humphrey, Central Plains
Gary Maas, Iakota
Bruce McMurray, Wisconsin
Joe Nasvytis, California South
Sandi Nemecek, Thornapple Valley
Kevin Van Whye, Georgetown

New Ministries and Ministry Changes
River Walk CRC, Battle Creek, Mich., will form a union church with Christ Community church (Reformed Church in America).

First CRC, Highland, Ind., will form a union church with Faith Church (RCA).

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.
Sacred Journey CRC, Providence, R.I. moved to organized status.

Ministries Ended
The Way, Lockport, Ill.
Dunwoody Christian Fellowship, Atlanta, Ga.
Pine Grove Community CRC, Pinellas Park, Fla.
The Well, Bothell, Wash.
Wallingford Neighborhood Church (formerly Cascade
Community) Seattle, Wash.
Square Inch Church, Lacey, Wash.

Leadership
Classis California will move its meetings to Sunday afternoons and evenings for a period of one year.

Classis Central Plains endorsed a code of ethics for pastors.

Classis Thornapple Valley disbanded the classis prayer team.

Classis Central Plains replaced its Safe Church Team with 2 or 3 representatives.

Training or Discussion
Classes Alberta South, British Columbia Northwest, British Columbia Southeast, Chatham, Eastern Canada, Hamilton, Huron, Lake Superior, Niagara, Quinte, and Toronto held conversations on the future of CRC ministry in Canada.

Diakonia Remixed
Classis Alberta South/Saskatchewan requested that Synod 2013 adopt all recommendations. Classis Alberta North sent a communication to Synod 2013 endorsing the report.

Classis Hudson requested that Synod 2013 not adopt several of the suggested Church Order changes and retain the language of the current Form for Ordination.

Diversity in Leadership Planning Group II
Classis Zeeland requested that Synod 2013 not adopt recommendations to hire a person to implement the committee’s recommendations, nor allocate a quarter of 1 percent of the denominational budget to implement the recommendations.

Classis Hamilton sent a communication to Synod 2013 stating that hiring a person to implement the committee’s recommendations is unnecessary and an unstewardly use of ministry resources.

Other Overtures (Requests) and Communications to Synod 2013

Classis British Columbia Northwest requested that Synod 2013 revisit the funding formula of the Minister’s Pension Plan, especially considering the situation of smaller churches. Classis Grand Rapids East requested that the pension system be adjusted to accommodate clergy couples sharing a single pastoral position.

Classis Grand Rapids North and Classis Kalamazoo requested that Synod 2013 authorize the creation of a new classis for churches that exclude women from serving as officebearers. Classis Minnkota communicated to Synod 2013 its endorsement of those overtures.

Classis Toronto requested that Synod 2013 allow and even encourage the members of the Board of Trustees Canada Corp. meet separately at least once annually to make recommendations concerning ministry in Canada.

Classis Toronto also requested Synod 2013 to appoint a study committee to empower churches around issues of religious persecution and religious liberty.

Classis Heartland asked Synod 2013 to modify the two-year Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy (EPMC) for ordained pastors who have already served in parish ministry.

Classis Grand Rapids South asked Synod 2013 to appoint a study committee to evaluate Eastern mystical practices and their impact on the church.

Classis Grand Rapids East asked Synod 2013 to form a study committee to formulate a position on capital punishment.
Classis Zeeland requested Synod 2013 to appoint a study committee to expand on the 1973 report and conclusions on homosexuality.

Classis Pacific Northwest requested pastoral advice from Synod 2013 on the issue of gay marriage.

Classis Pacific Northwest requested Synod 2013 to recognize the witness of “Ecumenical Faith Declarations” in the “Covenant for Officebearers in the Christian Reformed Church.”

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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