At the last meeting of the classis of our churches a plan was adopted to divide the classis into two classes, a classis east and a classis west, and to arrange for the annual convocation of a synodical meeting.
A previous gathering of the classis entertained an overture from the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, proposing that classis appoint a committee to work out a plan with a view to such division and organization of a synod. This overture was adopted and the committee was appointed.
The report of this last mentioned committee was before the classis at its last meeting, and, as our readers may have noticed from the classical report, was adopted.
It was also decided to send a copy of this report to all the consistories.
After all, however, it will save time and labor if the report be printed in the Standard Bearer. Besides, it is a matter that concerns our churches as a whole and not only our consistories, and, no doubt, all our people are interested in the matter.
Instead, therefore, of sending a copy of the report to all our consistories by private mail, we publish it in this issue of the Standard Bearer, and the consistories will please take note.
The report here follows:
Report of the Committee in re Classis Division
Classis of the Prot. Ref. Church, convened in Grand Rapids, Jan. 11, 1939.
Esteemed and beloved brethren:
Your committee considered the advisability of completing the organization of our churches according to Reformed Church Polity, by dividing our classis into two classes and organizing a synod. It offers the following advice:
I. To divide our classis into a Classis East and a Classis West and to make provision for the convocation of a Synod annually.
1. This will complete our organization according to the Reformed system of Church Polity, which calls for Consistory, Classis, and Synod.
2. It will simplify considerably the agenda of our Classical gatherings. Our Classis now represents twenty-one churches, and the work for each meeting has lately proven too abundant.
3. It will facilitate the keeping of quarterly classical meetings as the Church Order demands.
4. It will surely not increase the cost of broader gatherings.
II. To divide the Classis into Classis East and West as follows:
1. Classis East shall comprise the churches of Michigan and Illinois, numbering eleven churches and 767 families.
2. Classis West shall comprise the churches of Iowa, Minnesota, and California, numbering ten churches and 222 families.
III. The Synod:
1. Commence its meetings in the evening of every second Tuesday in June.
2. Under its jurisdiction shall be placed:
a. The Theological School.
b. The mission work.
c. The care of the needy churches.
d. The Student Fund.
e. The Emeritus Fund.
f. Affairs pertaining to the churches in general. Cases of appeal. Protests, etc.
3. Shall appoint:
a. A synodical stated clerk.
b. A synodical treasurer.
c. A mission committee.
d. A theological school committee.
e. An emeritus committee.
f. A committee for E. B. P.
4. The Synod shall consist of eight delegates from each classis.
IV. The following funds shall be Synodically assessed:
1. Theological School.
3. Needy Churches.
4. Emeritus Board.
5. Student Fund.
6. Synodical and classical expense.
V. The curatorium be eliminated and the work of the curatorium be performed by Synod. The committee mentioned under III, 3. d. can take care of the school in the interim between two synods.
1. As the synod meets annually it would merely duplicate matters to have a separate curatorium.
2. It will save expenses.
V. All overtures for synod as well as proposed financial appropriations must be in the hands of the stated clerk of each classis at least four weeks before the last meeting of each classis preceding the meeting of Synod.
VII. As to the expenses your committee reports the following:
A. As to the present expenses:
1. Figuring one delegate from each of the churches in California the total mileage of all our delegates to and from one meeting of classis is 32520.
2. From our classical treasurer we learned that the total classical travelling expenses for two meetings amount to 1336 dollars, which means 668 per classis.
3. The cost of travelling per mile was, therefore, 2.05 cents.
B. As to the expense in case the plan herein offered is adopted:
1. Figuring one delegate from each of the churches in California the total mileage for Classis West would be 10012. At the rate of 2.05 cents per mile the total cost for one meeting would be 205.24 dollars.
2. The total mileage for Classis East would be 1920. At 2.05 cents per mile the cost for one meeting would be 39.36 dollars.
3, The total cost for one meeting of the two classes would be 244.60 dollars.
4. Subtracted from 668 dollars, the present cost of one meeting, leaves a saving of $424 for each meeting, or of 848 dollars per annum.
C. As to the expenses of Synod:
1. Figuring one delegate from California to each meeting of Synod the total mileage of Synod would be 14520. At the rate of 2.05 per mile the travelling expenses of Synod would be 299.71 dollars.
2. Subtracted from $848 the new system would, still save $548.29, if each classis meets twice a year.
And for this same expense each classis could afford to meet four times a year if necessary.
VIII. If the above plan be adopted, the committee suggests that classis appoint another committee to advise the classis at its next meeting as to the best plan of execution.
H. Hoeksema, Pres.
G. M. Ophoff