Report of Classis West

Classis West met in regular session on Wednesday, September 1, 1993, in Lynden, WA. On the day preceding classis an Officebearers’ Conference was held, on the different aspects of the subject of “Reformed Missions and Evangelism.” Several members of the congregation of Lynden joined those delegated to classis at the conference, which was enjoyed by all who attended. This was the first time in 40 years that Lynden was privileged to host a meeting of classis. Several members of the congregation spoke of the fact that the conference and the meeting of classis gave them a real taste of the denomination, something which does not happen very often because of their location in the very northwest corner of the most northwestern state. Besides meeting the men of Classis West at the meetings, the members of Lynden were able to hear four other ministers preach, since some of the ministers stayed over the weekends before and after classis in order to reduce the cost of airfare.

Rev. W. Bekkering served as President of the meeting, and after welcoming the delegates he welcomed also Rev. Robert Hargrove and Elder Dana Rykken of Sovereign Grace Reformed Church of Spokane, WA.

Classis sent on to Synod 1994 with its approval an overture from Doon to amend one of the Rules of Order for the Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches. The amendment would create the possibility of elders or ex-elders serving as Synodical Stated Clerk in addition to ministers. The grounds given by Doon were 1) the duties of the stated clerk are mostly clerical in nature, and do not require the labors of a minister; and 2) a minister’s calling is to give himself to the study of the Word of God and to prayer, and the work of stated clerk of Synod is far removed from that central calling of the minister and may well detract from the proper labors of a minister.

There were two protests from four saints in Isabel. These were protests of decisions taken at the March, 1993 meeting of Classis West. One concerned the manner in which classis said the congregation in Isabel was dissolved, and one concerned the decision to give them only six months of pulpit supply. Classis concurred with the first protest and rescinded a portion of its previous decision. There were two grounds given for these actions, namely, 1) The right to disband properly belongs to the members of a congregation, and 2) This right has been acknowledged and exercised in past cases.

Then classis took a decision to advise the members of Hope PR Church in Isabel, SD to vote to disband as a congregation. The grounds for this decision were the following. 1) The impossibility of selecting a diversified consistory. 2) Isabel last had their own pastor in October of 1987 and there exists little realistic possibility of their obtaining another pastor because of the circumstances of the congregation. 3) Isabel’s total membership is ten souls comprising three families (all closely related), which means there is very little organic life among them and little prospect of internal growth. 4) The failure of Isabel’s church extension work to produce any growth in the congregation. 5) Classis is sympathetic to the difficulties of a move, but is positively convinced that it is for the spiritual good of the saints in Isabel that they do so. Classis asked Doon’s consistory to continue the care and supervision of the Isabel saints in order to help them implement the advice of classis to vote to disband.

The consistory of the church in Loveland forwarded to Classis the “Ministerial Certificate of Dismissal and. Testimonial” for Rev. Ron Cammenga who has accepted the call to Southwest in Classis East, after laboring for fourteen years in Classis West. This Certificate was signed by the officers of classis and sent on to the Classical Committee of Classis East. In response to a request from Loveland’s consistory for a moderator while they are without a pastor of their own, classis appointed Rev. R. Moore of the Hull, IA congregation to serve in this capacity.

In other business classis, after hearing the details of the labors of a consistory in two discipline cases, approved of the decisions taken by that consistory to proceed with the discipline. Also classis adopted a Classical Diploma to be used for ministers who come from other denominations under Articles 5 and 9 of the Church Order. Classis sent a copy of this diploma to Classis East, so there might be uniformity within the denomination.

The next meeting of Classis West will be in Redlands, CA on March 3, 1994, the Lord willing.

Rev. Ronald VanOverloop

Stated Clerk