Hope Protestant Reformed Church
Classis West held its regular March session in the warmth of southern California. The warmth was that of the weather, but especially it was that of the fellowship of the saints of the congregation located so far away from any of its sister-congregations.
An Officebearers’ Conference was held the day preceding the meeting of Classis. This gave the members of that congregation who were able to do so an opportunity to have more fellowship with the brethren of the Classis. The theme of the Conference was “The Reformed Practice of Catechism Instruction for the Youth.” A volunteer committee of two ministers chose this excellent topic and arranged the day into four periods. The keynote address was given by Rev. Richard Moore, who spoke on “Our Calling to Faithfulness in Catechism Instruction.” This was followed by two sectionals. A choice had to be made between “Elders Teaching Catechism” by Elder Ed Gritters (a member of Hope, Redlands) and “Teaching Church History in Catechism” by Rev. Arie denHartog. After a delicious lunch Rev. Steve Key spoke on “The History of Catechism Teaching in Reformed Church History,” which was followed by discussion. Rev. Ronald VanOverloop introduced the subject “Practical Applications in Catechism Instruction,” which was followed again by some lively discussion. Once more it was the experience of all who attended that these Conferences not only are times for rich fellowship, but also give opportunity to exchange ideas. Our prayer was that the result of the Conference would be that the covenant youth receive the most benefit, through the renewed zeal with which each pastor and elder returned to the catechism room.
Classis met the following day. Rev. Wayne Bekkering began the session with a devotional based on II Corinthians 4:6, 7. He showed the emphasis of the text to be the fact that officebearers are servants of the Lord, which position is the source both of proper humility and great encouragement. Rev. Arie denHartog then took the chair.
The agenda of Classis was short. There were regular reports from the Classical Committee, the stated Clerk, and the Reading Sermon Committee. At the March meeting, the Church Visitors annually give their report. It was a great encouragement to hear their report, as they related their joy at finding love, peace, and unity in the churches. They heard the officebearers testify of each other’s Zealand dedication. In order to lend variety to their visits, the Church Visitors annually discuss a particular theme. The theme of “Officebearers as Examples to the Flock” worked out very well. Usually the idea of being an example is frightening to every officebearer. However, the best example officebearers can give is not one of perfection but one of admitting their faults and trusting in the Lord. While no officebearer can be perfect, by God’s grace each can attain to confession and childlike faith. While perfection was not found by the Church Visitors, they reported being greatly encouraged by many evidences of God’s gracious blessing.
The consistory of the Doon, IA congregation was given the responsibility by the September, 1993 Classis to exercise care and supervision of the saints in Isabel, SD. After the tiny congregation in Isabel lost all but one of its officebearers, Classis, in September, 1993, advised the saints there to hold a meeting to vote to disband. This was grounded in the fact that they could not select a diversified consistory from the members remaining, that there was little organic life because the total membership was ten souls, that there was little prospect for internal growth, that church extension work had failed, and that it would be for their spiritual good that they move to another congregation, even though such a move might be difficult. At this meeting of Classis, Doon reported that the majority of the male confessing members did not wish to vote to disband. In September Classis had told the saints in Isabel that if the advice to disband was “not followed they would by that fact be setting themselves outside the federation of the Protestant Reformed Churches.” After noting this fact, Classis adopted a letter to the saints expressing grief that their advice had not been followed. In the letter Classis expressed its earnest desire that they “as God’s people, may experience God’s blessing in a well-rounded congregational life under the oversight of the officebearers of God’s church.”
In other business Classis received a letter of thanks from Trinity, Houston for the financial assistance they received for moving their pastor from Singapore. A request from Trinity for additional subsidy for 1994 to cover medical insurance for their pastor and his family was passed on to Synod with approval.
Subsidy requests for 1995 were received from Bethel ($21,300), Edgerton ($12,000), First, Edmonton ($32,252), Immanuel, Lacombe, Alberta ($16.677), Pella ($22,500), and Trinity, Houston ($34,000). These requests were examined, and forwarded to synod with the approval of Classis.
Loveland’s request for classical appointments was granted as follows: VanOverloop – April 24 and May 1; Houck – May 22 and 29; Dick – June 19 and 26; Lanting – July 17 and 24; Dykstra – August 14 and 21; Moore – September 11 and 18.
Voting for synodical delegates resulted in the following: Ministers: Primi: R. Dykstra, C. Haak, R. Moore, C. Terpstra, R. VanOverloop; Secundi: W. Bekkering, A. denHartog, M. DeVries, S. Houck, T. Miersma. Elders: Primi: Allen Brummel (Edgerton), John Feenstra (Hope, Redlands), Henry Hoekstra (Hull), Ron Koole (Loveland), Henry VanderMeulen (Lynden); Secundi: Ray Ezinga, John Hoksbergen, Jack Lenting, Eric Ophoff, Bert Worries, Jr.
Rev. R. Dykstra was elected to serve a three-year term on the Classical Committee. Rev. S. Houck was elected to serve a three-year primus term as Synodical Deputy and Rev. C. Terpstra to a three-year secundus term. Rev. G. Lanting and Rev. R. VanOverloop were elected to be church visitors, with Rev. C. Bekkering as alternate.
The meeting may have been shorter than usual and the business concerning Isabel sad, but the fellowship experienced was rich. It is a great encouragement for difficult labors when you know that that brother in every sense of the word is toiling beside you.
The next meeting of Classis will be in Hull, Iowa on September 7, 1994.
Rev. Ronald VanOverloop