March 19, 1979
Classis West of the Protestant Reformed met in Edgerton, Minnesota on March 7-9, 1979. The assembly was both weighty and lengthy. Meeting in committee or in official sessions of Classis, the delegates worked all day and long into the night, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Classis adjourned about 10:00 P.M., Friday evening.
Eleven ministers and thirteen elders attended Classis as delegates from the congregations in the West. Elders H. Hoksbergen (Hull) and H. Nieuwenkamp (Edmonton) attended Classis for the first time and signed the Formula of Subscription. Rev. R. Miersma opened the sessions of Classis on Wednesday morning by reading from I Cor. 15 and speaking to the delegates on verse 58: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” Rev. R. Moore presided over the Classis.
One of the main matters on the Agenda was treated in executive session. With the concurrence of the synodical delegates ad examina, Classis advised that Mark Hoeksema be released from the office of the ministry of the Word to enter upon a secular vocation, under Article 12 of the Church Order.
The other main matter before the Classis was an appeal from a member against a decision of a consistory regarding a certain teaching of its pastor. Classis condemned the teaching in question as un-Biblical and instructed the consistory both to require its pastor publicly to retract the errors and to labor with the pastor to bring him to the Biblical view of the matter at issue.
In response to a consistory’s request, under Article 41 of the Church Order, that a committee of Classis be sent to it to give judgment and help for the proper government of its church, Classis appointed such a committee.
Classis heard the reports of several standing committees and of its Church Visitors. As was requested by its Reading Sermon Committee (Edgerton), Classis asked each minister in the West to prepare two reading sermons before the next Classis.
Five churches (Edgerton, Edmonton, Isabel, Pella, and Houston) requested subsidy for 1980 in amounts varying from $1,000 to $16,000. Classis granted the requests and sent them on to Synod for final approval. The total granted was $47,332. Classis was happy to receive a letter from Randolph informing Classis that she has “adopted a budget which will enable her to meet all her anticipated financial obligations for the fiscal year 1979, apart from any subsidy. We requested aid, at this Classis last March, which request was granted with Synod’s approval this past year. Since we have decided to become self-supporting we would like to remove our request and return to Synod the $l,000.00 subsidy granted.”
Randolph’s letter went on to thank the churches for their past help: “Since our formation as a Protestant Reformed congregation, we have received financial assistance. For these past tokens of ungrudging charitableness we are grateful to our sister congregations and to our God of grace. We are also thankful that God has given us at the present the means to support ourselves. A word of thanks is also in order to Classis West for her benevolent consideration of our past requests. We pray that such benevolence may continue to characterize our churches and broader assemblies in all their future decisions.”
Classis adopted the following classical appointment schedule: Hul—March 18 & 25, Slopsema; April 8 & 15, Koole; April 29 & May 6, Flikkema; May 20 & 27, Kuiper; June 10 & 17, Lanting. Doon (in the absence of Rev. Kamps on mission work in Singapore)—March 25 & April 1, Bekkering; April 15 & 22, Moore.
Results of the voting were:
—Classical Committee: Rev. Slopsema and Elder A. Kooiker (1 year).
—Primus delegate ad examina: Rev. Miersma.
—Secundi delegates ad examina: Rev. Slopsema and Rev. Koole (2 years).
—Church Visitors: Rev. Engelsma and Rev. Kortering.
—Primi minister delegates to Synod: Engelsma, Kamps, Kortering, and Kuiper.
—Secundi minister delegates to Synod: Bekkering, Miersma, Moore, and Slopsema.
—Primi elder delegates to Synod: B. Menninga (Pella), M. Poortenga (South Holland), M. Smits (South Holland), and J. Sugg (Houston).
—Secundi elder delegates to Synod: A. Brummel (Edgerton), H. DeVries (Randolph), R. Ezinga (Loveland), P. Van Den Top (Doon).
The next meeting of Classis will be in Isabel, South Dakota on September 5, 1979, the Lord willing.
Rev. David Engelsma, Stated Clerk