Grandville Protestant Reformed Church

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, January 14, 2004 at the Grandville PRC. As is typical of the January session, the meeting was long. Classis adjourned at midnight. Each church was represented by two delegates. Also present were the church history classes of Covenant Christian High School, representatives of the Wingham OCRC, and the delegates ad examina from Classis West.

Significant business was done at this session. First there was the decision of classis to admit the congregation of the Wingham, Ontario Orthodox Christian Reformed Church into the fellowship and communion of the Protestant Reformed Churches. This is not a usual event in the life of the churches. Rarely does an entire congregation request to join the denomination. The admission of this congregation was the culmination of the work of the Contact Committee of the PRC and of our ministers, both from Classis East and Classis West, who preached there on a regular basis during this past year. The testimony of Wingham was that the preaching they heard was soundly Reformed, firmly based on the Scriptures and the confessions. They were edified by the preaching and were moved by the Spirit to make their request to join the PRC. Classis gave thanks to God for His leading them to our fellowship. So, the Wingham OCRC is now the Wingham PRC.

Classis also dealt with two overtures to synod concerning the financial support of Richard and Jannet Moore. Both overtures request synod to establish a fund, apart from the Emeritus Fund, to support the Moores. Both overtures were rejected on the grounds that 1) historically emeritus money is tied to the office of the minister, and 2) the administration of such a fund would be difficult practically since others have been deposed or are no longer in the ministry.

Classis also considered an overture to synod concerning the pronouncement of the benediction on the mission field. Classis also rejected this overture on the ground that the brother bringing the overture did not prove that the grounds given by Synod 2001 allowing this practice were invalid. Classis essentially supported the grounds given by Synod 2001 that there is allowance for administering the sacraments and pronouncing the blessing on the mission field.

An overture from Grandville PRC concerning the work of the stated clerk was considered. Grandville requested that the stated clerk send to each consistory the minutes of each session along with the supplements referred to in the minutes which were not already printed in the agenda. Classis approved this overture.

The report of the church visitors was heard. They reported that the churches are in good spiritual condition and that, for the most part, peace and harmony prevail in the congregations.

The church visitors also served as a committee of classis to investigate the continued viability of our Covenant PRC in New Jersey. Synod 2003 had instructed classis to monitor closely the condition of this congregation, giving special attention to its evangelism activity. Synod also asked for a recommendation concerning the continued subsidy support of this congregation. The committee reported that there is increased activity in the work of evangelism and that the overall condition of the congregation is good. The committee also recommended that Covenant’s subsidy be continued for another year. Classis adopted these findings, including the recommendation for continued subsidy, and will forward this information to Synod 2004.

In other matters, classis approved an emeritation request from Southeast PRC for Rev. Peter Breen. Subsidy requests were approved, and will be forwarded to synod, for Covenant, Kalamazoo, and Wingham. Classical appointments were given to Byron Center, Hudsonville, and Wingham. Classis West will also assist with pulpit supply to Wingham. The expenses of classis amounted to $1,413.62.

Classis elected the following as delegates to Synod 2004: MINISTERS: primi: W. Bruinsma, R. Cammenga, K. Koole, C. Terpstra, R. VanOverloop; Secundi: M. Dick, R. Kleyn, W. Langerak, J. Laning, J. Slopsema; ELDERS: Primi: M. Engelsma, D. Kregel, C. Kalsbeek, D. Ondersma, H. Pastoor; Secundi: P. Adams, A. Brummel, J. DeVries, H. Kamps, D. Schipper.

Revs. Bruinsma and Dick were elected to serve as delegates ad examina; Rev. Koole was elected to the Classical Committee; Revs. Slopsema and VanOverloop were elected to serve as church visitors, with Rev. Cammenga as alternate.

The next meeting of classis will be on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 at the Georgetown PRC.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk