Classis Watch: Late 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 Bailey Sarver, Brad Stolman, Jon Bosma, J.D.C.*, Janet Ryzebol, Seth Atsma, Bill Whitt, Aaron Mamuyac, Garret Saul, Noah Kruis, Jaleesa Stanford, Luke*, Shaun Jung, Chris Ganski, Steven Berkenpas, Jason Crossen, Hilary Smith, Ryan Schreiber, Israel Alvarado, and Loretta Stadt. (Church Order Articles 6 and 10).

*Synod 2019 allowed four candidates to be known only by their initials or first names as they will be working in sensitive geographical areas in which they could be endangered if their ministerial status were public. (See also Synod Receives 42 Ministry Candidates, June 2019.)

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 Rev. Sea Ho and  Rev. Phillip Lee (Church Order Art. 8, p. 23).

Ministers loaned: Rev. John Kim to Hebron Presbyterian Church, Prospect Heights, Ill.; Rev. Yun Jin Kim to Salinas (Calif.) Presbyterian Church (PCA). Rev. Joe Nasyvitis, to First Presbyterian Church (EPC) in Starkville, Miss. (Church Order Art. 13b)

Ministers released from a congregation: Rev. Allen Kleine Deters, from The Bridge (Niagara Falls, Ont.) (Church Order Art. 17a, p. 34).

Ministers granted emeritus status (retired): Revs. Tom Vos, Fred Koning, David Kuiper, Yi Ming Kao, John Westfall, and Bert Vanderbeek. (Church Order Art. 18)

Commissioned Pastors

Approved as commissioned pastors, called to specific roles within their classis were Andy Littleton (Arizona), Timothy Joo (Hackensack), John Granada (Southeast US), David Rivera (California South), David Leung (British Columbia North-West), Zach Flipse (Wisconsin), Leon Vidal, Erika Vidal, Manuel Sosa, Sandra Oliveto (all Rocky Mountain), Laura Pritchard, Claude Ngendahayo (both Grand Rapids East), Peter Noteboom (Toronto), and Justin Dudney (British Columbia South-East) (Church Order Art. 23).

Linda Grace (Pacific Northwest), Eldon Stephenson, and Ethan van der Leek (both British Columbia South-East), Aaron De Boer (Pacific Northwest), Jason Taff (Toronto) ended their service as commissioned pastors.

Syd Hielema was granted commissioned pastor emeritus status.

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)
Comunidad Cristiana Internacional Church (Wyoming, Mich.) and Bridge Church (Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.) were declared emerging.

Garden of Grace (Lynnwood, Wash.), Harbor Church (Seattle, Wash.), and Westside Community (Bradford, Ont.) were closed.

East Friesland Covenant Church (formerly named First CRC), Randolph, Wisc., disaffiliated from the CRC. Classis Wisconsin also disavowed any official association with that congregation’s leader, Stephen Robbins, noting that his leadership, his direction, and his views do not reflect those of the Christian Reformed Church.

Anchor of Hope CRC (Silverdale, Wash.) and Newman CRC (Hesperia, Mich.) disaffiliated from the CRC.

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).

Jacob Meadows was released.

About the Author

Gayla Postma is news editor for The Banner.

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