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.

Classis East Meeting - May 11, 2016 - *Updated

Providence PRC 2015One of the three annual meetings of Classis East took place on Wednesday, May 11, at Providence PR Church in Hudsonville, MI.

Besides the normal business of the churches, the agenda included the request of the Pittsburgh PR Fellowship to be organized into an instituted congregation. It also has two protests brought by individuals against decisions taken by Classis in January.

May God graciously bless the deliberations and decisions of the Classis.

UPDATE: The Stated Clerk's official public report is now available and posted below.

Report of Classis East

May 11, 2016

Providence PRC

 

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at the Providence PRC.  This was the first time that Providence has hosted a meeting of classis.  The churches were each represented by two delegates.  Rev. G. Eriks was the chairman for this session.

In its first order of business, classis approved the organization of a new congregation in Pittsburgh, PA.  The request for organization came via the council of Southwest PRC.  A sizeable delegation from Pittsburgh was present as was the current home missionary, Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma.  The delegates ad examina from Classis West were present as well and gave concurrence to the decision of classis to organize this congregation.  Southwest PRC was given the responsibility to organize this congregation.  Rev. A. denHartog was appointed as its moderator.  Needless to say, this was a joyous moment for the classis as God,  through the ardent work of its missionary, gave our churches another congregation.  The new congregation will consist of six families (seven if the pastor is included) and five confessing adults.  Two more adults are in the process of making profession of faith.

Classis considered two protests against the decisions of the January, 2016 classis regarding the sustaining of a charge of antinomianism against an appellant.  The first protestant contended that classis, in its January, 2016 decision, adopted grounds that were illogical and contradictory.  Further he contended that Article 79 of the Church Order was misapplied since, he argued, that Article 79 applied only to public sins.  Finally, the protestant contended that a countercharge of antinomianism interfered with the protest and appeal process.   Classis did not sustain this protest.  Classis adopted the advice of its committee of pre-advice that

1) Article 31 does not prohibit a consistory from bringing a charge of sin in the course of a protest or appeal; 2) Article 79 was not used by classis as a ground in its January, 2016 decision; and 3) The decision of classis in January, 2016 gave proof for its upholding the consistory’s charge of antinomianism against the appellant. The protestant failed to cite this part of classis’ decision.  Classis further decided that the recommendation made was not legally before the classis since the requirements of Article 31 of the Church Order had not been met.

The second protestant contended on the basis of Ezekiel 33:6,7 and Article 31 of the Church Order that the right of a believer and/or officebearer who is protesting or appealing, as compelled by their conscience, is prevented or hindered when charges of sin are brought against him in the course of considering his protest.  Classis did not sustain this protest since the brother who brought the appeal to the January, 2016 classis has indeed filed his appeal to synod.  Classis further ruled that it is legitimate for a consistory to raise a charge of sin when there is sufficient evidence of an unbiblical or un-Reformed position set forth in a protest or appeal.

 A notice of appeal to Synod 2016 was received from the brother whose appeal against his consistory had been adjudicated at the January, 2016 meeting of classis.

Classis took note of this appeal and further informed synod: 1) that the brother fails to comply with the Rules of Synod which apply to protests, appeals, and overtures which require brevity and exclude the bringing of new material regarding the appeal. and 2) that the appellant adds new explanations which show agreement with classis’ and his consistory’s  decisions regarding his appeal.

In other business classis received the report of the church visitors, entered closed session to deal with matters of discipline, adopted a classical appointment schedule for Holland PRC and the new Pittsburgh congregation, transferred the Ministerial Credentials of Rev. Daniel Holstege to Classis West, appointed Rev. C. Haak as the moderator for Holland PRC, and approved expenses for the classis’ meeting of $1868.33

Classis will meet next on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at Southwest PRC.

Respectfully submitted,

 Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

Report on Jan.13, 2016 Meeting of Classis East

TrinPRC2012Report of Classis East

January 13, 2016

Trinity Protestant Reformed Church

 

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at the Trinity PRC.  Rev. M. DeVries was the chairman for this session.  Each church was repsented by two delegates.  Three pastors were absent; one was in Northern Ireland, one in Australia, and one in the Philippines.

 

As is usual for the January classis, voting for delegates to synod and other functionaries was done.  Elected as delegates to Synod 2016:  MINISTERS: Primi:  G. Eriks, C. Haak,

K. Koole, C. Spronk, R. VanOverloop; Secundi: A. denHartog, M. DeVries, W. Langerak,

R. Smit, A. Spriensma.  ELDERS: Primi:  D. Kregel, S. Miedema, H. Pastoor, T. Pipe,

J. VanBaren.  Secundi:  P. Adams, D. Bouwkamp, M. Gritters, C. Kalsbeek, J. Lanting.

 

In other voting, Rev. Koole and Rev. Bleyenberg were elected to serve three-year terms as delegates ad examina primus and secundus respectively.  Revs. J. Slopsema and R. VanOverloop were elected as church visitors with Revs. A. denHartog and M. Devries as alternates.  Rev. K. Koole was reappointed to a three-year term on the Classical Committee.

 

Classis heard the appeal of a brother who maintained that his pastor, in a sermon on John 14:6, was teaching a conditional covenant.  He was also appealing his consistory’s charge that he was guilty of antinomianism.  Classis did not sustain this appeal.  Classis maintained that the brother had misrepresented his pastor’s sermon and that the charge of teaching antinomianism should stand.

 

Classis dealt with a request from a consistory to increase censure to the second step for one of its members.

 

The report of the church visitors, normally presented at the January session of classis, will be presented at the May, 2016 meeting.

 

In matters of finance, classis approved the 2017 subsidy requests of Kalamazoo PRC for $22,000 and of Wingham PRC of $41,000 (CDN).  Classis approved expenses for this session in the amount of $339.02.

 

Classis will meet next on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 at the Providence PRC.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

Report on Meeting of Classis East, Sept.9, 2015

byroncentrePRCReport of Classis East

September 9, 2015

Byron Center Protestant Reformed Church

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at Byron Center PRC. Each church was represented by two delegates. Rev. A. denHartog was the chairman for this session.

Most of the business was routine. The exception was a request from a consistory to increase censure to the second step for one of its members. Classis advised this consistory to proceed with this action.

Expenses for this classis amounted to $55.72.

Classis will meet next on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at the Trinity PRC.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

Report on Classis East Meeting - May 13, 2015

HudsonvillePRC pic

Classis East met on Wednesday, May 13, at Hudsonville PRC. What follows is the public report of this meeting by the Stated Clerk of Classis East.

Report of Classis East

May 13, 2015

Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at Hudsonville PRC. Each church was represented by two delegates. Rev. N. Decker was the chairman for this session. Rev. R. Smit attended Classis East for the first time.

A notice of an appeal to Synod 2015 was given by a brother whose protest against a decision of Classis East in January, 2015 regarding the scheduling of Prayer Day services was not sustained.

The other business was routine. There were no requests for classical appointments since all the churches in Classis East now have pastors. There were no expenses incurred.

Classis will meet next on Wednesday, September 9, 2015 at the Byron Center PRC.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

Classis East Meeting in Holland January 14 - Update: Report Now Available

Holland

Classis East meets this coming Wednesday, Jan. 14, at First PRC in Holland, MI.

The main items of business are a protest against Classis' decision in October to allow congregations freedom to change their Prayer Day service from the traditional date, and choosing delegates for Synod 2015. At this meeting Classis also selects its church visitors and various standing committees.

Pray that the delegates may be given wisdom to treat the matters before Classis, for the good of the churches and for the glory of Christ, the Head of the church.

Update: The following is the official public report of the Stated Clerk of Classis East on this meeting (Jon Huisken) - also attached here in pdf form:

Report of Classis East

January 14, 2015

First Holland Protestant Reformed Church

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at the First Protestant Reformed Church of Holland, MI. The churches were each represented by two delegates. Rev. Heath Bleyenberg served as chair for this session.

Classis received a protest from a brother against its decision taken at its September/October, 2014 session regarding the scheduling of Prayer Day services. The protestant argued that the way to make this change in the date for Prayer Day services would be through overture. Classis did not sustain this protest. The grounds given by classis (summarized): 1) Classis East’s decision did not make allowance for an individual consistory to determine for itself matters of the Church Order or that which belongs to the churches in common. Classis allowed only the change of the date of the service, not the elimination of the day. 2) The protest erroneously assumes that all common practices are of the same importance and therefore must be changed only by overture. 3) The protest is based on a fear that the change of the date on which Prayer Day is observed will lead to other changes. This fear is not a legitimate conclusion. 4) The protest claims that the decision of classis would establish precedent that would prove destructive to denominational unity. The protest, however, does not prove this point. 5) The protest does not respond to nor interact with any of the grounds classis gave for its decision.

Classis elected the following to serve as delegates to Synod 2015: MINISTERS:

Primi: G. Eriks, C. Haak, K. Koole, W. Langerak, R. VanOverloop; Secundi:

N. Decker, M. DeVries, D. Holstege, A. Spriensma, C. Spronk. ELDERS: Primi:

R. Drnek, D. Kregel, Gerald Kuiper, S. Miedema, H. Pastoor; Secundi: Brad Dykstra, J. Engelsma, Steve Kuiper, H. Langerak, J. Warner.

In other voting Rev. A. denHartog and Rev. M. DeVries were elected to serve three-year terms as primus and secundus terms respectively. Rev. W. Langerak was apponted to serve a three-year term on the Classical Committee, and Revs. Haak and Van Overloop were chosen as church visitors; Revs. Koole and DeVries will serve as alternates.

The church visitors reported that they found a spirit of peace and unity in the churches.

Report of Classis East Meeting - Sept./Oct. 2014

 

Grandville smallReport of Classis East

September 10, 2014 with a continued Session on October 15, 2014
Grandville Protestant Reformed Church

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 with a continued session on October 15, 2014.  All the churches were represented by two delegates.  Rev. R. VanOverloop was the chairman for these sessions.

What occasioned the continued session on October 15th was the decision of the September 10th session to place four protests against the decision of classis at its May, 2014 relative Article 67 of the Church Order.  At the May, 2014 meeting, an appeal of a consistory’s decision to change the date of its Prayer Day service was treated.  At the May meeting, classis upheld this appeal and decided that any change to the meeting date of the Prayer Day service should be sought by overture to the broader assemblies.  Four protests—three from consistories in Classis East and one from an individual in Classis West—were lodged at the September, 2014 meeting of classis against this decision.  Classis then placed these protests in the hands of a committee of pre-advise whose report was received at the continued session on October, 2014.

Classis received the majority and minority reports of this committee of pre-advice at the October continued session.  Classis adopted the advice of the majority report, namely, that classis uphold the protests received and therefore rescind its decision of May, 2014 that a decision to change the date of the annual Prayer Day service should be sought by way of overture to the broader assemblies.  The grounds (summarized):

  1. 1)      The letter, spirit, and historical interpretation of Article 67 of the Church Order do not require the churches to celebrate Prayer Day together on a specific date.  Further, the consistory’s decision to change the date for its Prayer Day service does not constitute a substantial change to Article 67 of the Church Order
  2. 2)      The consistory’s decision to change the date for its Prayer Day service does not violate Article 86 of Church Order as the May decision asserts since, as stated in Ground 1 above, the decision of the consistory did not substantially change Article 67 of the Church Order.

At its September session, Classis granted classical appointments to Faith PRC and First PRC.  At its October session, Classis granted a request from a consistory to increase censure to the second step for one of its members.

The expenses of both sessions amounted to $366.24.  Classis will meet next on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at the First PRC of Holland, MI.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

 

Report on Classis East Meeting, May 14, 2014

TrinPRC2012Classis East met for its next regularly scheduled session on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI.

The Stated Clerk of Classis East submits his official public report of the meeting below. It is also attached here in pdf form.

Report of Classis East

May 14, 2014

Trinity Protestant Reformed Church

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at the Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI.  Each church was represented by two delegates.  Rev. M. VanderWal was the chairman of this session.

The main item of business for classis consisted in dealing with the report from its committee of pre-advice concerning an appeal from a brother concerning a consistory’s decision to change the date of the annual Prayer Day service.  The committee of pre-advice submitted a majority and a minority report.  The majority report prevailed as classis decided to sustain the appeal of the brother that the consistory’s decision to change the date of the annual Prayer Day service should be sought by way of overture to the broader assemblies.  The grounds given by the committee of pre-advice were adopted by the classis.  The grounds (summarized) were 1) The decision of the consistory is not merely a change in a practice that does not bind the other churches but rather is a substantial change from the letter, spirit, and historical interpretation of Article 67 of the Church Order which is that the churches celebrate Prayer Day together on the same date.  Evidence was given that historically this has been the case in the Netherlands and the United States.  2)  It is the way of wisdom, decency, and good order that any substantial change in the meaning, interpretation, and even established practice with regard to the church order, be done by the broader assemblies. 

The consistory involved and any other churches that have made a change in the date of the Prayer Day service are being permitted to observe the 2015 Prayer Day service as they have decided.  This will give any consistory time to decide if they wish to appeal to or overture the broader assemblies on this issue.

Classis granted classical appointments to Faith PRC and First PRC.  A discipline matter was considered in closed session.  Expenses for this session amounted to $311.85.

Rev. James Slopsema was in attendance at his last meeting of classis as a delegate.

Classis took note of this and expressed words of appreciation for his work in our churches and for his leadership on many issues that arose in the classis.

Classis will meet next on September 10, 2014 at the Grandville PRC.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

 

Report of Classis East Meeting Held Jan.8, 2014

southeastClassis East met on Wednesday, January 8, 2014, in Southeast PRC in Grand Rapids.  The following is the Stated Clerk's public report of this meeting. It is also attached here in pdf form (see below). May the King of His Church bless these decisions for the good of the churches.

Report of Classis East

January 8, 2014

Southeast Protestant Reformed Church

 

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at the Southeast PRC.  The churches, with the exception of Wingham, were represented by two delegates.  The Wingham delegation was unable to attend because of the weather.

 

Classis did the usual January duty of elections.  The following were elected to serve as delegates to Synod 2014:  Ministers: Primi:  G. Eriks, C. Haak, K. Koole,

W. Langerak, R. VanOverloop; Secundi: N. Decker, A denHartog, M. DeVries,

J. Slopsema, A. Spriensma.  Elders: Primi: J. Decker, N. Kleyn, H. Langerak,

G. VanBaren, P. VanDerSchaaf; Secundi: D. DeMeester, R. Drnek, R. Faber,

M. Ophoff, D. Rau. 

 

In other voting, Rev. R. VanOverloop and Rev. D. Holstege were elected as delegates ad examina to three-year terms as primus and secundus delegates respectively. Revs. K. Koole and A. Spriensma were elected as church visitors with Revs. Haak and VanOverloop as alternates.  Rev. H. Bleyenberg was elected to serve a three-year term on the Classical Committee.  The Stated Clerk and Assistant Stated Clerk were appointed to another three-year term.

 

Classis heard an appeal from a brother about the change of date of the Prayer Day Service by a consistory.  Classis referred this matter back to the committee of pre-advice with the instruction to do further research on and to establish relevancy for the past rulings of broader assemblies on this issue.

 

In other business, classis heard the report of the church visitors.  The visitors reported that the consistories were doing diligent work and that there was peace and unity among the churches.  Classis granted classical appointments to Faith PRC.  The 2015 subsidy requests from Wingham PRC and Kalamazoo PRC were approved and will be forwarded to Synod 2014 for approval there.

 

Classis received a request from Rev. James Slopsema for his emeritation effective July 1, 2014.  First PRC concurred with this request.  Classis expressed its heartfelt thanks for Rev. Slopsema who has served as a capable and dedicated undersheperd in our churches for 39 years, 27 of which have been in Classis East.   

 

The expenses of classis amounted to $147.49.  Classis will meet next on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at the Trinity PRC.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken

Stated Clerk

Classis East Meeting - Byron Center (MI) PRC

byroncentrePRCClassis East is meeting today for its regular session in the Grand Rapids area at Byron Center PRC. The agenda is light. Rev.James Slopsema, pastor of First PRC, Grand Rapids, will lead the meeting according to the scheduled rotation. May the Lord bless this church work of our pastors and elders and the decisions reached for the good of the churches.

The stated clerk's public report is also now available (see below). It is also attached as a pdf.

 

Report of Classis East

September 11, 2013

Byron Center PRC

 

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 at the Byron Center PRC.  Each church was represented by two delegates.  Rev. J. Slopsema was the chairman for this session.

 

The business was routine and classis was finished early.  As the chairman noted, this is a sign that the churches have peace and unity in their midst. 

 

Classical appointments were given to Faith PRC.  There were no expenses for this session.

 

Classis will meet next on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at Southeast PRC.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken

Stated Clerk

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