Report of special meeting of Classis East—August 17, 1962, at Hope Church.
The Rev. M. Schipper, following the order of rotation, led in the opening devotions and presided over this session of Classis. The Rev. G. Lanting was asked to record the minutes.
All the churches of Classis East were represented by two delegates with the following exceptions: Grand Haven was not represented, Creston had only one delegate, Hudsonville, through an error, had no officially appointed delegates though the pastor and an elder were present.
Rev. G. Lubbers, Prof. H.C. Hoeksema, Rev. G. Vos and elder G. Kamps were given an advisory vote.
This special meeting of Classis was called by the Classical Committee which had been empowered to do so by the July Classis. The occasion for this meeting was the fact that the elders of Southeast Church had signified to the congregation and the Classis that they would not abide by the decisions of Classis and Synod taken at previous meetings of these bodies relative to the protests which had been registered against the consistory of Southeast.
Appearing on the table of Classis were letters from the Classical Committee, the consistory of Southeast, a letter from three deacons of Southeast to the Classical Committee, a letter of two deacons to the congregation of Southeast, and a letter from the consistory of Southeast to the congregation.
The Classical Committee came with advice relative to the Southeast situation, but Classis deemed it necessary to appoint a study committee to reformulate this advice. In substance the Classis adopted the advice of the study committee, which was briefly as follows:
1. That Classis express that:
The elders of Southeast by their refusal to abide by the decisions of Classis East and the Synod have in fact severed the church bond and lost the right to function as a Protestant Reformed consistory. Articles 31 and 36 of the Church Order. The elders of Southeast, by these acts, are guilty of public schism, and this is a sin worthy of deposition. Article 80 of the Church Order.
2. That Classis express:
That three deacons together with all others of Southeast Church who are willing to abide by the deacons of the major assemblies constitute the lawful and faithful congregation of Southeast. That at the call of the three appealing deacons and with the aid and supervision of the Classical Committee, the faithful remnant of the congregation should meet and declare the erring elders out of office and elect new elders as needed. That this call for a congregational meeting be done by letter sent to all the members of Southeast Church. That Southeast Church inform our sister congregations of the faithless desertion of the Rev. R. Veldman when all the above mentioned steps have been taken. That Classis express that it is its prayer and hope that the congregation remain standing faithfully in the truth of the Word of God and in unity with our churches, and that the elders and erring members of the congregation come to repentance.
The elders of the Southeast Consistory were given opportunity to express themselves re the above decisions of Classis, and their remarks were answered by the chairman.
When this work for the special meeting of Classis was finished, Classis arose to sing the Doxology, and the Rev. C. Hanko closed this session with thanksgiving.
—REV. M. SCHIPPER, Stated Clerk