September 14, 2022
Classis East convened at Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church on Wednesday, September 14 at 8:00 a.m. Rev. J. Maatman served as chairman and capably led the thirty- eight delegates (from the nineteen member churches) in all of the work of classis. Seven elder delegates and one minister (Rev. E. Guichelaar) delegate served Classis East for the first time and therefore signed the Formula of Subscription.
Routine matters treated on Wednesday morning included asking and answering the questions of Article 41 of the Church Order, approving the work of the stated clerk and of the classical committee, and appointing the committees of pre-advice.
Classis carefully considered a discipline case brought by one of the member churches. After hearing a report of the consistory’s patient labors with the member who remains impenitent in sin, classis advised the consistory “to proceed with the announcement of the name of the member under discipline to the congregation per Articles 76 and 77 of the Church Order.”
Classis declared a protest of a decision made at its January meeting to be legally before the assembly. Classis did not sustain the protest.
Classis also received a report from a special committee to investigate an abuse case. Classis approved the work of the committee, mandated that it continue in its work, and added two men to the committee. Classis received a report from another special committee regarding suggested changes to the Rules of Classis for the distribution of the agenda of Classis East. With a few amendments, classis adopted the recommendations of the committee, declared the work of the committee finished, and disbanded the committee.
Zion PRC forwarded an overture to Classis East proposing that Synod 2023 appoint a denominational study committee to “develop the theoretical basis for dealing with abuse in the local congregation.” Classis approved the overture and will forward it on to synod for its approval.
The rest of the work of classis included adopting a classical appointment schedule for supplying the pulpits of two vacant congregations (Georgetown and Hudsonville), approving the reimbursement of expenses incurred for the meeting, thanking the caterers, and determining the time and place of the next meeting of Classis East. Classis decided to meet at Grandville PRC on January 11, 2023.
Classis adjourned around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. We thank the Byron Center congregation for graciously hosting classis for a day and a half.
May God use the decisions of classis for His glory and the welfare of our churches.
Rev. Clayton Spronk
Stated Clerk, Classis East
September 28, 2022
Classis West of the Protestant Reformed Churches met on September 28, 2022 in Doon PRC (Doon, IA), finishing its work by about 9:30 p.m. The Doon congregation had opportunity to show off the new addition to their church building, and they did a fine job in hosting, including scrambling to make arrangements for the delegates during a town-wide power outage for several hours in the afternoon.
Rev. S. Key had the opportunity to lead classis in opening devotions, which was fitting as this was his last meeting of classis before emeritation. He gave a humbling and encouraging meditation on Psalm 112:7, “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.”
Delegated to classis were 28 men (11 ministers and 17 elders), and they were joined by three synodical deputies from Classis East. Rev. M. Kortus chaired classis for the first time in his ministry, and led the meeting capably.
The questions of Article 41 of the Church Order were asked and satisfactorily answered. Regular reports from the stated clerk, classical committee, and reading sermon library committee were read and their work approved.
One important item on the agenda was a request from Loveland PRC for the emeritation of their pastor, Rev. S. Key. Classis approved the request for emeritation effective January 1, 2023 (which received the concurrence of the three synodical deputies from Classis East), approved his financial support for 2023, and expressed thanksgiving to God for his 36 years of faithful service to our churches. Rev. Key has especially been used of God for the benefit of the churches in Classis West, having served as pastor in the classis for 31 years, as stated clerk for six years, as a representative of the classis to synod 27 times, as church visitor for 19 years running, as a member of many special committees of the classis, and as a humble and wise leader in the classis. May God bless Rev. Key and his wife as they enter this new phase of life!
An individual submitted a protest to classis of decisions taken by a previous meeting of Classis West that related to the refusal in September 2021 to seat delegates from the former consistory of First Edmonton PRC and to approve the labors of the church visitors with that congregation. Classis did not sustain the individual’s protest.
In closed session, classis treated an appeal of an individual regarding the discipline work of a consistory. After careful deliberation, classis did not sustain the appeal.
Classis made a schedule of pulpit supply for the vacant congregations of Doon (IA) PRC, Hosanna PRC (Edmonton), Randolph (WI) PRC, and the soon-to-be-vacant Loveland PRC. Due to the large number of vacancies and small number of active pastors, classis decided to request assistance from Classis East in covering five Sundays in the next six months.
Classis received a special request from a congregation for subsidy for 2023, and a special request from a congregation to increase subsidy for 2023. Both requests were approved.
The expenses of this meeting totaled $8,853.17.
Classis West will meet next in Lynden (WA) PRC on March 1, 2023, the Lord willing.
Rev. Joshua Engelsma
Stated Clerk, Classis West