Church Government

Classis East

Classis East currently consists of 16 congregations and a total of 5,253 members (baptized and communicant). Classis East is a broader assembly of the PRC and meets three (3) times per year: the second Wednesdays of January, May, and September. The Classis is made up of two (2) delegates from each church, usually the pastor and an elder.

Report of Classis East's Continued and Concluded Session - February 8, 2024

Classis East Report

HopePRC Walker

Meeting on February 8, 2024
at Hope Protestant Reformed Church (Walker, MI)

On January 10, 2024 Classis East appointed a committee of pre-advice (“committee one”) to prepare recommendations regarding seven protests against decisions of the September/October meeting of Classis East. Classis met Thursday, February 8, to consider the fourteen page report submitted by the committee. All of the decisions of Classis East will be available when the minutes of the meeting are completed. A brief summary breaking down the decisionsi nto three categories will suffice for the purposes of this report.

Preliminary Decisions

1. Four protestants objected to the decision of the previous meeting of Classis East to declare that Grandville PRC’s Consistory erred when it judged “that Rev. Ken Koole was guilty of the public sin of teaching false doctrine without proving this from Scripture or the Confessions.” Classis did not sustain the four protests and upheld its decision.

2. All seven protests contended that in September “Classis failed to address the doctrinal impasse in the appeal legally before it.” Classis sustained the protests on this point.

3. Classis rescinded several decisions made in September that made judgments on the case without addressing the “doctrinal impasse.”

The Three Statements

Classis spent the bulk of its time discussing Rev. Koole’s use of three quotations from the Reformed theologian, Herman Witsius (1636-1708).

1. Quotation 1: “Scripture teaches that something must be done that we may be saved. ”Classis judged this statement “by itself can suggest error” and that “Rev. Koole’s explanation and use” of the statement “although lacking certain clarifications, does not contradict Scripture, the Confessions, or the decisions of Synod 2018.”

2. Quotation 2: “We must accurately distinguish between a right to life and the possession of life. The former must be assigned to the obedience of Christ, that all the values of our holiness may be entirely excluded. But certainly, our works, or rather these, which the Spirit of Christ worketh in us, and by us, contribute something to the latter.” Classis judged that this statement “by itself as commonly understood is erroneous” and that “Rev. Koole’s explanation and use” of the statement “although difficult to reconcile with the common understanding, does not promote the erroneous sense of the words, and does not contradict Scripture, the Confessions, and the decisions of Synod 2018.”

3. Quotation 3: “Hence, I conclude, that sanctification and its effects, are by no means to be slighted, when we treat of assuring the soul as to its justification.” Classis judged that this statement “and Rev. Koole’s explanation and use of the statement, are not in conflict with Scripture, the Confessions, or the decisions of Synod 2018.”

Concluding Decisions

1. Classis sustained the appeal of one appellant to declare “that Grandville’s decision to charge Rev. Koole with the public sin of teaching false doctrine was made in error.”

2. Classis sustained the appeal of one appellant to “advise Grandville to publicly retract its decision to charge Rev. Koole with the public sin of teaching false doctrine.”

3. Classis did not sustain the appeal of one appellant that Rev. Koole’s apology in The Standard Bearer should be retracted on the ground that the apology Rev. Koole gave “harmonizes overall with the evaluation of the three statements of Witsius and Rev. Koole’s explanation of them” in the decisions of classis.

Grandville Consistory and two protestants who served as delegates to Classis East were not allowed to vote on the recommendations pertaining to this case.

Classis granted the request of a consistory to advise the consistory to increase censure on one of its members, who refuses to turn from sin, by announcing the name of the member to the congregation in accordance with Article 77 of the Church Order.

Classis approved the reimbursement of expenses for the meeting totaling $4,716.19.

Thank you to the congregation, kitchen committee, and custodians at Hope PRC for hosting two lengthy sessions of Classis East!

On May 15, 2024 at 8:00 am classis plans to meet at Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church.

A little after 10:30pm classis adjourned and the chairman, Rev. Smidstra, closed with prayer.

In Christ’s service,
Rev. C. Spronk, Stated Clerk

Classis East Meeting - January 10, 2024 at Hope PRC

HopePRC Walker

Classis East Report - January 10, 2024

The delegates of the nineteen churches of Classis East of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America met at Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Walker, MI on January 10, 2024. Rev. David Noorman (Southwest PRC), chairman of the September 2023 meeting, led opening devotions by reading 1Thessalonians 5 and opening with prayer. After all of the delegates were seated, Rev. Justin Smidstra (First PRC of Holland, MI) presided as chairman for the rest of the meeting.

Morning Session

After Rev. Smidstra assumed the chair, three elders, who served for the first time at classis, signed the Formula of Subscription. The transcription of the minutes of the September 23, 2023 meeting was approved. The questions of Article 41 of the Church Order were asked and answered. Approval was given to the work of the Stated Clerk, the Classical Committee, and the Church Visitors after they read their reports.

In closed session classis treated a request from a consistory for advice regarding the discipline of a baptized member of their congregation. Classis advised the consistory to erase the baptized member who, not heeding the repeated admonitions of the elders, continues walking in sin.

The chairman appointed five committees of pre-advice and then declared that classis was in recess so that the committees could get to work.

The Hope kitchen committee provided lunch for the delegates.

Afternoon Session

Elder Brad Dykstra (Unity PRC) began the afternoon session by reading Psalm 25:1-5 and opening with prayer.

Now we need to introduce committee one. The chairman appointed Rev. Noorman (Southwest), Rev. J. Holstege (First, Grand Rapids), Rev. Maatman (Southeast) and elders Jon Lubbers (Byron Center), Murray Geertsma (Wingham), and Josh Hoekstra (Hudsonville) to the committee. He tasked the committee with preparing advice in response to seven protests. To read these protests login to the bulletin page on and open the Classis East file.

The first task of the committee was to provide classis with advice on whether the protests were legally before classis. The committee recommended that classis declare the protests legal. Classis approved the recommendation of the committee. One part of one of the protests regarding how the Stated Clerk made decisions public after the September 2023 meeting was declared not legal. If the protests were declared illegal, committee one’s work would have been concluded. However, since classis declared the protests legal, committee one’s mandate is to provide classis with advice on around 200 pages of material appearing in the agenda!

Before breaking so that committee one could get to work, classis treated advice from committee two regarding an appeal. Serving classis on committee 2 were the Revs. Lee (Kalamazoo), McGeown (Providence), and Decker (Grandville), and Elders Pete VanderSchaaf (Faith), Titus Mahtani (Pittsburgh), and Don Kuiper (Southeast). Committee two was tasked with providing classis with advice regarding a sexual abuse case. Deliberations on the appeal took place in closed session. The appeal asked classis to judge that a consistory erred in judging that the sins of sexual abuse committed in this case were private. The appeal asked that classis judge that the sins “are a public matter.” Committee two recommended that the appeal be declared legal, and classis adopted the recommendation. Therefore, committee two, along with committee one, had more work to do in preparing advice on whether or not classis should sustain the appeal.

Revs. Langerak (Trinity) and Daniel Holstege (Wingham) and Elders Ed Tolsma (Pittsburgh) and Mark Vanden Berg (First, Holland) were appointed to committee three. They were tasked with proposing a schedule appointing the ministers of Classis East to preach for the vacant congregations in the classis—Georgetown, Hudsonville, and Pittsburgh. Classis adopted the schedule they presented and then recessed the rest of the afternoon so the committees could continue to work.

The Hope kitchen committee provided supper for the delegates.

Evening Session

Elder Randy Dykstra (Zion) opened the evening session with prayer.

Committee two recommended that classis sustain the appeal which asked classis to judge that the sins of sexual abuse that were reported “are a public matter.” Classis made a significant decision, that took into account previous decisions of Classis East and West, judging that “the nature of the sin” makes it necessary for “the name of the abuser and the sin” to “be made public to the congregation.” This decision reminds us to pray for victims and survivors of sexual abuse—may they be properly cared for by the church of Jesus Christ; for abusers to be stopped in their way of sin and called to broken-hearted repentance; and for consistories that God grant them His wisdom and strength in responding to abuse.

Committee four was tasked with providing advice on the subsidy requests of needy churches. Revs. Eriks (Unity) and Mahtani (Hope, Walker) and Elders Randy Dykstra (Zion) and Dowie VanderShcaaf (Providence) served on committee four. Classis approved subsidy for Kalamazoo in the amount of $50,000, Pittsburgh in the amount of $37,200 (without a pastor) and $89,700 (with a pastor), and Providence in the amount of $51,000 for 2025. These
decisions will be forwarded to Synod 2024 for its approval.

Election Results

Synodical Delegates for Synod 2024: Primi elders: Rick Gritters (Trinity), Josh Hoekstra (Hudsonville), Steve Kuiper (Southwest), Jon Lubbers (Byron Center), John VanBaren (Hudsonville). Secundi elders: Brad Bruinsma (Grandville), Terry Dykstra (Trinity), Ken Engelsma (Hope), Dave Langerak (Byron Center), Dave Rau (Southwest). Primi Ministers: Revs. Decker, Eriks, Langerak, Mahtani, Spronk. Secundi Ministers: Prof. Dykstra, Revs. D. Holstege, Lee, Noorman, Smidstra.

Synodical Deputies from the east (three-year term): Primi: Rev. Lee; Secundi: Rev. McGeown.

Classical Committee (three-year term): Rev. Lee

Church Visitors for 2024: Prof. Dykstra and Rev. Eriks with the alternates of Revs. Decker, Langerak, and Mahtani.


Committee one recommended that classis recess until 8:00am on February 8, 2024 so that it could have more time to formulate advice in response to the seven protests. Classis adopted the recommendation, and Rev. Smidstra closed the meeting with prayer. May God be with the members of committee one as they work on advice to present on February 8.

Rev. Clayton Spronk
Stated Clerk, Classis East

Note: For a pdf of this report, use this link.

Classis East Report - Sept.13, 2023 & October 25, 2023

TrinityPRC new sanctuary 2018

Classis East of the Protestant Reformed Churches Update

Classis East convened Wednesday morning, September 13, 2023 at Trinity Protestant Reformed Church. Rev. M. McGeown opened with prayer and read the names of the thirty-eight delegates from the nineteen member churches. After the roll call, Rev. David Noorman assumed the position as chairman of the meeting (photo below).


Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma (photos below with his wife Mary) submitted a request to classis for emeritation (retirement) to be effective January 1, 2024. Classis approved his request and by motion expressed its heartfelt thanks to Rev. Bruinsma (and his wife Mary) for making faithful use of his God-given talents for almost 45 years as pastor and missionary. Classis sang the doxology and offered up a prayer of thanksgiving for the work of Rev. Bruinsma led by Rev. Eriks. We pray that God will bless Rev. and Mary Bruinsma in their remaining months in the active ministry and that He will continue to use them for service in the church in new ways in the years to come.

Haak Bruinsma CE Sept 2023

Bruinsma CE Sept 2023

Classis adopted a pulpit supply schedule for three vacant congregations: Georgetown, Hudsonville, and Zion PRCs.

Classis treated an appeal Mr. Pete VanderSchaaf and declared it legal. Therefore this appeal is now available for non-officebearers to read. For more information login to and navigate to the bulletin page where you will find a folder for Classis East. When you open the Classis East folder you should be able to open the appeal under the name “Appeal of Pete VDS Sept 2023.” Due to the complexity of this case, Classis East decided to give the committee of pre-advice a month to prepare its advice. Classis will reconvene October 25 to consider the appeal. We pray for God’s blessing on the committee in their work.

Some of the work of classis was treated in closed session.

  • Two consistories came to classis asking for advice regarding the discipline of impenitent members of their congregations. The consistories reported to the classis on their work with the individuals who are walking in sin. After taking time to ask the consistories follow-up questions about their work, classis advised each consistory to proceed in their discipline of these members. May God use their work for the recovery of these members.
  • Classis heard and deliberated on a report of a Special Committee to assist a consistory with a sensitive matter.
  • Classis deliberated on the legality of an appeal in closed session. Classis declared the appeal illegal and provided the appellant with advice on how to move forward with the case.

At around 5:00pm classis approved a motion to “recess until October 25.” Rev. Noorman read Hebrews 13:20-21 and closed the session with prayer.

In Christ’s service,

Rev. C. Spronk, Stated Clerk

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21)


Report of the continued session of October 25, 2023

Classis East reconvened on Wednesday, October 25, with the 38 delegates meeting at Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Rev. Noorman continued to lead the meeting as chairman.

Classis East heard reports from two committees (a special committee to help a consistory with an abuse case, and the Classical Committee). The main work of the classis was to treat an appeal that contended that a consistory erred in judgments made about the writings of one of our ministers. One of the decisions of classis requires that the consistory involved give information to its congregation. To give the consistory some time to receive and respond to the decisions of Classis East, the Stated Clerk of Classis East plans to wait awhile before publishing the information publicly. When it is time to make the information available, it will be published at

The expenses of the meeting totaled $4,891.36.

Classis East plans to meet again on January 10, 2024 at Hope PRC in Walker, MI.

At around 2:00pm classis adjourned and Rev. Noorman closed the meeting with prayer.


For the public minutes, click on this link.

Report of Classis East Meeting - May 10-11, 2023

Faith PRC 2021

May 2023 Classis East Report

Classis East convened Wednesday May 10, 2023 at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI. Rev. McGeown served as chairman. Eight elders served at classis for the first time and signed the Formula of Subscription, a vow to uphold the teaching of Scripture summarized in the Reformed Confessions.

The routine matters treated by classis included approving the work of its Stated Clerk and Classical Committee (this committee does work on behalf of classis when classis is not in session). A schedule for classical appointments for Georgetown, Hudsonville, and Zion PRCs was adopted. The expenses for the meeting of $3,065 were approved.

Classis appointed two moderators for churches that currently do not have pastors, Rev. McGeown for Zion, and Prof. Dykstra for Georgetown.

One consistory requested the advice of classis regarding a discipline case. The elders representing the consistory summarized the work done with a member walking impenitently in sin. Classis advised the consistory to proceed in its work of discipline and announce the name of the impenitent member to the congregation (Article 77 of the Church Order). This matter was treated in closed session.

Classis treated one appeal of an individual against a consistory regarding a sensitive matter in closed session. Classis upheld the appeal and directed a previously appointed special committee of classis to continue to assist the consistory in working with the individual.

Classis treated seven protests against a decision taken in March not to approve of the overture of Providence PRC, which overture proposes that synod hire an independent third party to investigate the incidents of child sexual abuse in the PRCA. In January of 2023 classis appointed a committee to look further into certain matters and bring a recommendation to classis in March. The committee was divided and presented a majority and minority report. Classis adopted the majority report that recommended that classis not approve the overture. Two of the seven protests contended that classis should have rejected the majority report and declared that it did not fulfill the mandate given to it by classis in January. Classis did not sustain the protests on this point. Six of the protests argued that the four grounds of the majority report adopted by classis were erroneous. Classis sustained these protests. Classis then approved a recommendation to “inform synod that it erred in adopting the four grounds of the majority report and forward the…decision to Synod 2023.” Classis did not treat requests to approve the overture of Providence PRC since the overture has been submitted for the consideration of synod in June. A motion to acknowledge and apologize for any harm done to victims of abuse and their families caused by the March decision failed.

Trinity PRC will host the next meeting of Classis East on September 13, 2023.

Pastor Clayton Spronk

Stated Clerk, Classis East

For the full public Minutes and Supplements, visit this link:

Minutes and Supplements for Publication 2023.5.10.pdf

Classis East Report - January 11-12 and March 15, 2023

Grandville small
Grandville (MI) PRC, host of Classis East meeting

Classis East met for two full days Wednesday and Thursday, January 11,12 at Grandville PRC.

  • An appeal was treated in closed session, and therefore, the details of the case cannot be shared publicly. It can be said that classis made some decisions in response to the appeal and approved the appointment of a committee to work with the involved consistory and appellant; we pray these actions will assist in bringing the case to a God-glorifying resolution.
  • First PRC of Grand Rapids officially notified classis of the resignation of brother Rodney Kleyn from the ministry in the PRCA.
  • Grace PRC asked for and received permission from classis to distribute a clarification of language used in a handout that was previously distributed to the denomination.
  • First PRC of Holland’s request for “a special day of prayer in response both to recent and past cases of abuse in our denomination” was approved. Classis designated January 31, 2023 as the special day of prayer.
  • Elected as primi synodical delegates: Revs. Decker, Eriks, Langerak, Mahtani, Spronk, and elders Randy Dykstra, Joel Minderhoud, Tim Pipe Jr., John Van Baren, Dan VanUffelen. And as secundi synodical delegates: Revs. Bruinsma, Dykstra, McGeown, Noorman, Smidstra and elders Andy Bylsma, Josh Hoekstra, Steve Kuiper, Peter VanderSchaaf, Dirk Westra. 
  • Classis also treated an overture from Providence PRC “to be forwarded to Synod 2023 to commission G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) to perform a full, independent, third-party investigation or assessment of the Protestant Reformed Churches.” Classis decided to appoint a committee to study the overture further and to recess until March 15, 2023. Therefore, on March 15, 2023 classis will reconvene at 8:00 am at Grandville PRC to treat the committee’s recommendations regarding the overture.
  • May God use the decisions of classis for the welfare of His church, and may He guide the study committee in its work for the benefit of our churches in responding properly to the grievous sin of sexual abuse.  (summary from Rev. C. Spronk, stated clerk)


Report of Continuing Session on March 15, 2023 

Classis East reconvened at 8:00am on Wednesday morning. The main business of the day involved the treatment of an overture from Providence PRC to hire a third party to investigate sexual abuse in the PRCA. A committee of seven men submitted a majority report signed by four men, opposed to the overture, and a minority report signed by three men, in favor of passing the overture on to synod with the approval of Classis East. Both committees read their reports.

After lengthy deliberation, Classis East voted to approve the majority report. By adopting the majority report Classis East declared it did “not approve of the overture of Providence PRC that the PRCA commission a full, independent, third party investigation and assessment of sexual abuse in the PRCA” on the basis of four grounds. Adopting the majority report means that classis did not treat the minority report.

Classis approved two weeks of supply for five churches in Classis West. Classis approved a recommendation from a special committee to continue its work with a consistory on an abuse case.

Expenses of the meeting totaled $2,549.47.

Classis adjourned around 2:30pm.

Below are three (3) downloads with pertinent documents:

1. Special CE Committtee Majority Report

3. Minutes of both sessions of Classis East, Jan.11-12 and March 15, 2023

Classis East Report - May 11, 2022

Classis East May 11 2022
Delegates from Classis East at the new facility of Redeemer Christian School, Zeeland, MI

May 11, 2022, Classis East Report

First PRC of Holland, MI hosted Classis East in the Redeemer Christian School building in Zeeland, MI.

After Rev. Bill Langerak declared classis properly constituted, Rev. Dennis Lee assumed the chair and presided over the business of the meeting. Recognizing the importance of making decisions in harmony with Scripture as set forth in our Reformed confessions, classis requires every first-time delegate to sign the Formula of Subscription. Two delegates attended classis for the first time and therefore signed the Formula. Classis exercises mutual oversight by receiving answers from each member church to the questions found in Article 41 of our Church Order. Rev. Lee asked these questions and received satisfactory answers from the delegates representing the nineteen churches of Classis East. The stated clerk gave his report regarding his work over the last four months; classis approved his work. The reporter for the Classical Committee fell sick and was absent, which means the committee will have an extended report at the September meeting of Classis East.

Classis adopted a pulpit supply schedule for the two vacant congregations in the East, Grace PRC and Hudsonville PRC.  At its March, 2022, meeting, Classis West requested that Classis East assist in providing pulpit supply for one of its vacant churches. In light of a positive change in circumstances (Classis West has one less vacancy due to Rev. Marcus’s acceptance of the call to Peace PRC), the Classical Committee of Classis West sent a letter to Classis East withdrawing this request.

In previous sessions Classis East has appointed two special committees. One committee reported that it did not have a report on its mandate to propose changes to the rules of classis regarding the distribution of its agenda. The second committee brought a report regarding its study of how to handle sexual abuse cases to classis that was received for information. Classis thanked the committee for its work so far, encouraged the committee to continue its work, and looks forward to acting upon recommendations from the committee in the future.

Two consistories asked for the advice of classis before continuing in the work of Christian discipline applied to members of their congregations. Classis advised one consistory to proceed to the announcement of the name of an impenitent confessing member per Articles 76 and 77 of the Church Order. Classis advised the other consistory to proceed with the erasure of a baptized member who, though often admonished by the elders, continues to walk in sin.

Classis approved of the request of Rev. Carl Haak to retire from the active ministry after forty-three years of faithful service. Classis marked the occasion by giving opportunity for several delegates to speak appropriate words about Rev. Haak’s service to the churches, singing the doxology, and pausing from its business to allow the delegates to speak individually to Rev. Haak and his wife, Mary. By an official decision Classis East formally and sincerely “expressed its deep appreciation and thanks to God for the 43 years of Rev. Haak’s humble and godly leadership and active ministry in our churches.” Contingent upon the approval of Synod 2022, Rev. Haak’s retirement will become official on September 1, 2022.

The catering committee of First Holland PRC did an excellent job of taking care of the delegates during various breaks and lunch. The women well deserved the thanks expressed by the Chairman, Rev. Lee, on behalf of classis.

The expenses of the meeting totaled $1,161.56. For its next meeting Classis will convene on September 14 at Byron Center PRC. After the vote to adjourn the meeting, Rev. Lee closed with prayer. The delegates began leaving for home around 3:15 p.m.

We thank God for the unity of our churches expressed in the meeting and pray for God’s blessing upon the decisions.

Rev. C. Spronk
Stated Clerk, Classis East

Classis East Meeting - January 13-16, 2021

Grace PRC

Classis East convened in Grace PRC (Standale, MI) at 8:00 am on Wednesday, January 13, and adjourned around 12:30 am early Saturday morning, Jan.16.

Classis mandated that the stated clerk prepare (Rev. C.Spronk) a report summarizing the decisions of the meeting and submit it to the Classical Committee of Classis East for approval. The reason for this mandate is that Classis East understands the importance of providing a helpful summary for the churches. This summary will be published as soon as possible, but it may take a few days due to the length of the meeting, the weightiness and amount of material treated by classis, and the need of the pastors mandated to make and approve this summary to preach sermons tomorrow (Sunday, Jan.17).

We thank the Lord of the church for sustaining the delegates during these long and difficult sessions. May the Lord bless the decisions reached for the glory of His name and the good of the churches of Classis East and the entire PRC.

Classis East Report - Sept.9-10, 2020

Byron Center PRC, host of this week's meeting of Classis East 

Summary of Classis East

We give thanks to God that Classis East was able to convene on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. Sincere thanks is also directed to Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church for graciously and capably hosting the meeting of classis. In order to meet legally and safely classis declared that its meeting is “essential to execute the business of Classis East,” and it adopted restrictions about who was able to be present at classis. Unfortunately, it was not possible for visitors to observe the public deliberations of classis in person.

Rev. Eriks served as chairman of the meeting, appointing the committees of pre-advice, and presiding over the deliberations of the delegates.

Some of the routine business of classis included approving reports of the Stated Clerk, Classical Committee, and Church Visitors.

A classical appointment schedule was adopted for four vacant churches in Classis East: Cornerstone, Hudsonville, Kalamazoo, and Providence. This brings to mind the need to remember in our prayers to ask God to send forth more preachers into our churches. Let us also remember in our prayers the Wingham congregation, a fifth vacant church in Classis East, whose pastor will soon be moving to the First PRC of Edmonton. Border restrictions between the US and Canada will likely complicate providing pulpit supply for our sister congregation.

Rev. Cory Griess was appointed to serve as the Moderator for Wingham during itsvacancy.

Questions were asked of the delegates of each consistory to make sure that the consistories are properly governing the churches and to offer the assistance of classis to any consistory that might have a need (see Art. 41 of the Church Order).

Classis approved the expenses of the meeting totaling $1,941.

Other matters classis treated included:

• Classis received two overtures to Synod 2021 (from two churches) to plan a celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the PRCA in 2025. Classis approved the overtures and forwarded themon to Synod 2021.

• One protest against a ground of a decision was sustained. Classis agreed with the protestant that the two points of explanation supporting the particular ground were in error.

• One protest was declared legal but not sustained by classis.

• Three protests were declared illegal because they were against decisions that have been treated by synod.

• One letter asked classis to reconsider an appeal that had declared illegal at an earlier classis.Classis ruled that the letter was not legally before it because it was not a protest against adecision, nor an appeal, nor an overture.

Classis accepted an invitation from the delegates of Grace PRC to host the next meetingof Classis at 8:00am on January 13, 2021.

Rev. Eriks thanked the delegates for their work and for their cooperation in doing the work of classis and closed the meeting in prayer.

Classis adjourned around noon on Thursday, September 10.

In Christ’s Service,
Rev. C. Spronk 
Stated Clerk, Classis East

Classis East News - Wednesday, Sept.11, 2019 *(Updated)

JMaatman exam sermon Sept 2019
Pastor-elect Jacob Maatman delivering his sermon before delegates of and visitors to classis at Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI).

JMaatman exam Sept 2019
Pastor-elect J. Maatman being examined by Rev. C. Spronk in Soteriology.

Here is one unofficial summary of today's activities and decisions at the meeting of Classis East at Southwest PRC.

Classis met today at Southwest PRC and examined Pastor-elect Jacob Maatman as requested by Southeast PRC. His specimen sermon and examination went very well and Classis approved his examination. In the afternoon, Classis handled the request to form Unity PRC, daughter church of Byron Center PRC. This request was approved. The Emeritation of Rev. Michael DeVries was also approved. He was ordained in October of 1978 in the same room Classis was meeting in today. He served in our Southwest, First Edgerton [MN], First Edmonton [AB], Wingham [ON] and Kalamazoo churches. Classis recessed for the day to give time for the committees to work. Classis will reconvene on Thursday (9/12) at 8 AM. 

JMaatman exam decision Sept 2019

Pastor-elect J. Maatman and his wife Rachel receiving the news of classis' approval of his examination and instructions to Southeast PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) to proceed with his ordination and installation (from president of classis, Rev.H. Bleyenberg). That will take place, D.V., on Friday evening, Sept.27 in Southwest PRC.

We rejoice with Pastor-elect J. Maatman and his family and with Southeast PRC in this decisive step toward the ministry of the Word in our churches, and we thank God for His bountiful grace to the churches.

The following is the official public report of the stated clerk of Classis East:

Classis East of the Protestant Reformed Churches met on September 11 and 12 this year at Southwest PRC. This meeting was chaired by Rev. H. Bleyenberg.

Wednesday morning was filled with the examination of Candidate Jacob Maatman, Pastor-elect of Southeast PRC, Grand Rapids. He preached his specimen sermon on Mark 8: 34-35. The sermon critic committee stated it well, “Jacob demonstrated a good ability to expound and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to do so in such a way that a Protestant Reformed congregation would be edified. Jacob’s sermon was faithful and Reformed in the exposition of the text, well-grounded in the biblical and historical context, and included appropriate applications for all of us as God’s disciples.” This was unanimously adopted by the classis and received the concurrence of the synodical deputies.

Candidate Maatman then proceeded to his examination. Throughout he displayed knowledge of God’s Word, a love for the truth, and a willingness to live a life dedicated to service to God’s church. Classis unanimously approved his examination to which the attending synodical deputies concurred. Southeast PRC was advised to proceed to his ordination to the ministry of the Word and sacraments. That ordination took place on September 27, with Rev. Maatman’s grandfather, Professor David Engelsma, officiating.

Byron Center PRC came to Classis requesting approval for the organization of a daughter congregation, Unity Protestant Reformed Church in the Byron Center/Jamestown area. There are 139 confessing members and 90 non-confessing members that intend to become charter members. This was passed unanimously with the concurrence of the synodical deputies. Rev. A. Lanning was appointed as their Moderator. Pulpit supply for the evenings was granted by classis.

Kalamazoo PRC forwarded with their approval the request of Rev. M. DeVries for emeritation, effective January 1, 2020. Classis East approved this request with the concurrence of the synodical deputies. Rev. H. Bleyenberg expressed thanksgiving to our God for the faithful labors of Rev. DeVries. Rev. DeVries labored in the congregations of Southwest, First Edgerton, First Edmonton, Wingham, and Kalamazoo over the course of 41 years. Kalamazoo PRC was also granted pulpit supply for the evening services in January 2020. Rev. D. Noorman was appointed Kalamazoo’s moderator.

In closed session, a consistory sought the advice of Classis to proceed to the second announcement of discipline according to Art. 77 of the Church Order. After hearing evidence of the impenitence of the individual and of the labors of the consistory, classis advised the consistory to proceed.

Thursday was dedicated to the treatment of several protests, appeals and an overture. One appeal was declared legally before classis; however, classis did not agree with the appellant that his consistory was required to respond to or prove wrong every ground or contention if they had already rescinded the decision being appealed. A protest was declared illegally before classis because the requirements of Art. 30 and 31 of the Church Order were not met. Another protest was declared illegal due to the fact classis at a previous meeting did not sustain the same charge, nor the brother’s subsequent protest of that decision. An appeal was sustained with regard to the consistory’s manner of dealing with a complaint and the consistory was advised to deal with the protest in without causing undue delay. Another appeal was judged not legal because Article 30 of the Church Order had not been met. A protest regarding a decision of the May meeting of Classis was not sustained. And classis declared an overture illegal because it did not satisfy Article 46 of the Church Order and it did not meet the definition of an overture in the “Explanation of the rules for Protests, Appeals, and Overtures.”

Classis approved the payment of this meeting’s expenses amounting to $2,859.39.

Zion PRC will host the January 8, 2020 meeting of Classis East.

Gary Boverhof, Stated Clerk

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