The Fall, 1975 meeting of Classis West was especially significant and lengthy. Included in the agenda of Classis were a request for organization as a Protestant Reformed Church; two appeals concerning discipline; and an appeal concerning doctrine. Classis met from Wednesday morning, September 3, through Friday noon, September 5. Rev. W. Bekkering led the Classis in opening devotions. He addressed the Classis from John 16:13a:
“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is comes, he will guide you into all truth.” Eleven ministers and ten elders were present to do the work of the Classis. Rev. D. Engelsma served as president of the Classis.
By way of its credentials, the consistory of Lynden requested Classis to organize a group in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as a Protestant Reformed Church. This request was the fruit of the labor of the Lynden consistory and Rev. B. Woudenberg in Edmonton for the past two years. Two families from the group were present at Classis and addressed the Classis concerning the request. Rev. Woudenberg also gave the Classis information about the group requesting organization, the work done there, and the situation in general.
A letter to Classis, signed by those in Edmonton who desire to be organized contained the following information: “We, the members of the Protestant Reformed Bible Class at Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, have been meeting for the last two years under provisions of the Lynden Prot. Ref. Church and the instruction of Rev. Woudenberg. During this time we have studied all of the basic principles of Reformed doctrine, we have listened to many sermons by tape, and we have read extensively in the Standard Bearer. Increasingly we have come to the conviction that the churches to which we have belonged have departed from the way of Reformed truth and that our greatest need is for a more pure form of worship and better catechism instruction for our children. Accordingly, we have met with a committee from the consistory of Lynden church (Rev. Woudenberg and elder Henry VanderMeulen), a representative of the Mission Committee (Rev. C. Hanko), and the Professor of Missions of the Prot. Ref. seminary (Prof. R. Decker), all of whom have labored with us in the past and with whom we are familiar. They have directed our attention to the Declaration of Principles of the Prot. Ref. Churches and to Article 38 of the Church Order with its amending decisions. With the former we can express our complete agreement, and it is our conviction that we are able to meet the requirements of Article 38 to be organized into a congregation within the Prot. Ref. denomination.” Then followed the request for organization. Attached was a note signed by Rev. Woudenberg, Elder H. VanderMeulen, Rev. C. Hanko, and Professor R. Decker attesting that “the people in Edmonton are well informed as to the doctrines and practices of our churches and that there is sufficient availability of office bearers in accord with Article 38, note 2.”
In accordance with Article 38 of the Church Order, including the provisions of the appended “decisions,” Classis granted the request of the saints in Edmonton to be organized and appointed the consistory of Lynden and Rev. Lanting to carry out the organization, sometime during the month of September, 1975.
This was a joyful decision, not only for Lynden which, through its pastor, Rev. Woudenberg, did the work that God blessed with such fruit, but also for all the Classis which rejoiced in God’s building and preserving of His Church by the gospel. The group consists, of 32 souls, 5 families, and 4 individuals, and includes 18 children. Classis gave them classical appointments, beginning immediately according to the following schedule: Sept. 21—Woudenberg; Sept. 28; Oct. 5 & 12—Lanting; Oct. 19, 26 & Nov. 2—Bekkering; Nov. 9, 16, 23—Lubbers; Nov. 30, Dec. 7 & 14—Slopsema; Jan. 11, 18, 25—Kamps; Feb. 1, 8, 15—Kortering; Feb. 22 (open); Feb. 29 & March 7—Woudenberg. With regard to their need for financial help, Classis directed them to the Synodical Finance Committee, after they have organized and come to know the extent of their need.
In executive session, Classis treated two appeals of a consistorial decision regarding discipline.
Another appeal concerned the doctrine of the fourth commandment of God’s law. Classis’ decision was “to declare that God in the fourth commandment commands the New Testament Christian not. only to enter into the rest of God all the days of his life, but also, by setting apart one day out of seven, which is in the new dispensation the first day of the week, God’s Sabbath or the Lord’s Day, to cease from work in order that he may totally consecrate the day to God in worship and service.”
Other, less weighty actions of Classis included granting Doon permission to ask for collections in the churches for their new church building and raising the reimbursement of elder delegates to Classis from $20 to $30 per day, in response to Randolph’s request.
The cost of Classis was $2,343.49.
Classis will meet next in Edgerton, Minnesota, on March 3, 1976, the Lord willing.
Rev. David Engelsma, Stated Clerk