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.

Special Classis East Meeting - October 18, 2017 *(Updated)

GTPRC2012

A special meeting of Classi East was held on Wednesday, Oct.18, 2017, at Georgetown PRC.

Below is the brief summary report from the Stated Clerk, Gary Boverhof.

JoeH JustinS ClassisEast Oct 2017

Report of special meeting of Classis East for the purpose of examining Pastors-elect Joe Holstege (left in picture above) and Justin Smidstra (right in picture above).

They each preached a specimen sermon and then were examined extensively on the six loci of Reformed dogmatics, and their knowledge of the Scriptures, confessions, controversy, and practica.

Both men gave excellent demonstrations of their knowledge and training in all these areas over roughly 5 hours of oral questioning. Classis voted unanimously to approve of their examinations (and the Synodical Deputies from Classis West concurred), recommending that Zion PRC and First PRC of Holland proceed to the ordination and installation.

With much thanksgiving to God, we rejoice in His provision of these ministers of the gospel to the PRCA.

Also a classical appointment schedule was made for First PRC while they are without a pastor.

Pastor-elect Joe Holstege will be ordained and installed as Zion PRC's pastor on Friday Oct.20 at Faith PRC (7 p.m.), D.V. *UPDATE: Below is a picture from Rev. J. Holstege's ordination/installation service Friday evening in Faith PRC. It captures the important ceremony of the laying on of hands by the professors and ministers who were present.

JHolstege ordination Oct 2017

Pastor-elect Justin Smidstra will be ordained and installed as First PRC-Holland's pastor on Tuesday, Oct.24 at First PRC of Holland (7 p.m.), D.V.

You are cordially invited to witness these events if you are in the area, or via live-stream through these churches' website.

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Report of Meeting of Classis East, September 13, 2017

Grandville smallSeptember 13, 2017 – Grandville PRC

Classis East met in regular session on the morning of Wednesday, September 13, 2017. The churches were each represented by two delegates. Rev. J. Mahtani was the chairman for this session.

Rev. W. Langerak was appointed as the moderator of Byron PRC in their vacancy. Holland PRC, Southwest PRC, and Zion PRC were granted Classical pulpit supply for evening services during their vacancies.

Most of the morning was spent on an appeal by a brother against his consistory. This was appointed to pre-advice committee for recommendations. After thorough deliberations Classis declared that this appeal was illegally before Classis on the basis that his work was not finished with his consistory.

The Classical Committee of Classis East has scheduled a special meeting of Classis East in order to examine Pastors-elect Smidstra (Holland PRC) and Holstege (Zion) at Georgetown PRC on Wednesday, October 18, 2017. Rev. Overway will preside by rotation.

Classis approved the expenses for its meeting of $788.65. The next regular meeting of Classis East will be at Hudsonville PRC on January 10, 2018 at 8:00 a.m. Lord Willing.

Respectfully Submitted

Gary Boverhof, Stated Clerk

Report of Classis East - May 10, 2017

byroncentrePRC

Below is the public report on the meeting of Classis East at Byron Center PRC this week Wednesday, provided by Mr. Gary Boverhof, the Stated Clerk.

May 10, 2017

Byron Center PRC

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The churches were each represented by two delegates. Rev. Wm. Langerak was the chairman for this session.

Rev. K. Koole was appointed as the new moderator of Southwest PRC. He replaces Rev. A. denHartog who has been on the west coast assisting our Lynden Church during the illness of Rev. Ron Hanko. Holland PRC, Southwest PRC, and Zion PRC were granted Classical pulpit supply for evening services from June through September, should they be needed.

Classis was informed that a brother intends to appeal to Synod a decision that Classis made during the January 2017 meeting. This decision was regarding admitting non-Protestant Reformed believers to the communion table.

                The new Stated Clerk of Classis East was instructed to send a letter of thanks to Jon Huisken for his 40 plus years of faithful service to Classis East. Further, to place a notice of thanks in the bulletins of Classis East as well as the Standard Bearer.

                Most the day was spent on a protest by a sister protesting the content of various sermons of her pastor. This was appointed to pre-advice committee for recommendations. After thorough deliberations, Classis declared that this protest was illegally before Classis on the basis that her work was not finished with her consistory. Classis appointed the church visitors of Classis East to assist the Consistory and appellant with advice and guidance in their work.

A committee was appointed to digitize the minutes and supplements of Classis East. Due to the scope of this work, the committee is to report to Classis annually with their progress.

Classis approved the expenses for its meeting of $1,268.80. The next meeting of Classis East will be at Grandville PRC on September 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM, Lord willing.

Respectfully Submitted,

Gary Boverhof, Stated Clerk

 

*UPDATE: On May 16, 2017 the Stated Clerk sent out this special note of thanks concerning the labors of Mr. Jon Huisken, previous Stated Clerk of Classis East:

At the May 10, 2017 meeting of Classis East it was decided to charge the Stated Clerk to send a letter of thanks to Mr. Jon Huisken and a bulletin announcement for his 40 plus years of faithful service as Stated Clerk of Classis East. This is a daunting task to express our thanks for such a monumental gift he has given the churches of Classis East.

Saying thank you for giving of yourself as a selfless laborer to the churches for so many years seams insufficient. Please know that your work has been deeply appreciated as the labor of love that it was for you.

Psalm 90: 17 “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.”

 

In His service,

Gary Boverhof, Stated Clerk Classis East

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Classis East Meeting - Wednesday, January 11, 2017 (Updated with Official Report)

GTPRC2012Classis East met for its first regular session of 2017 (meeting also in May and September) on Wednesday, January 11.

Below is the Stated Clerk's official report of this meeting (the last one Mr. Jon Huisken will submit - cf. below in his report).

 

Report of Classis East

January 11, 2017

Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church

 

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, January 11, 2017, at the Georgetown PRC. Each church was represented by two delegates. Present also were the synodical deputies from Classis West: Revs. S. Key, D. Kuiper, and N. Langerak. Rev. K. Koole was the chairman for this session.

 

The classis dealt first with the request from Faith PRC to organize a new congregation in the Jenison area which congregation will be known as Zion PRC.

With thanks to God, the classis approved this request and instructed Faith PRC to proceed with the organization of this congregation. The synodical deputies expressed concurrence with the decision of classis.

 

Classis considered an appeal from a brother who protested a decision of his consistory to admit non-Protestant Reformed believers to its communion table. At issue was whether the consistory followed the principles adopted by Classis East in 1945 to admit such people to the communion table. Classis East in 1945 decided that indeed non-Protestant Reformed believers could be admitted after the consistory was satisfied that those who requested admission reveal themselves as believers in their walk and conversation and are in good standing in their home churches. Further, it should be demonstrated that those asking permission do not have ready access to the table in their home churches. The brother contended that his consistory did not follow the principles adopted by Classis East in 1945; his consistory believed that they indeed had done so. Classis East decided not to sustain the appeal of this brother.

 

The report of the church visitors was received. The report indicated that the visitors found peace and unity in our churches.

 

Classis spent time, as is usual at the January meeting, in voting. The following delegates to Synod 2017 were elected: MINISTERS: Primi: W. Bruinsma, G. Eriks, C. Haak, C. Spronk, R. VanOverloop; Secundi: N. Decker, K. Koole, W. Langerak, R. Smit, A. Spriensma. ELDERS: Primi: Pete Adams, Gary Boverhof, Jim Lanting, Sid Miedema, John VanBaren; Secundi: Mike Bosveld, Dave Bouwkamp, Bruce Jabaay, Wes Koops, Joel Minderhoud.

 

In other voting, Revs. R. VanOverloop and R. Smit were elected to three-year terms as primus and secundus delegates ad examina respectively. Rev. H. Bleyenberg was appointed to another three-year term on the Classical Committee; Revs. J. Slopsema and C. Haak were elected as church visitors with Revs. G. Eriks and R. VanOverloop as alternates.

 

Classis also needed to replace its Stated Clerk and Assistant Stated Clerk. After 40-plus years serving as Stated Clerk, Jon Huisken notified classis in September, 2016 that he would not be seeking another term. Gary Boverhof was elected to serve as his successor. Rev. H. Bleyenberg was appointed as Assistant Stated Clerk.

Classis expressed its thanks to J. Huisken for his service to classis over these years and wished him Godspeed in the years ahead.

 

In other business, classis approved the 2018 subsidy requests for Wingham PRC ($41,000 – CDN) and Pittsburgh PRC ($99,000). Classical appointments were given to Holland PRC, Southwest PRC, and to the new congregation, Zion PRC.

 

In closed session, classis considered the request of a consistory for the erasure of a baptized member.

 

The expenses of classis amounted to $1698.65. Classis will meet next on May 10, 2017 at the Byron Center PRC.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

Classis East Meeting - Sept.14, 2016 (Updated with Clerk's Report)

SouthwestPRC2012CLASSIS EAST meets this Wednesday, Sept.14, 2016, at Southwest PRC, beginning at 8 AM.

This will be the first time that there will be delegates from Pittsburgh PRC.

In addition to the usual business, the agenda has two other matters:

1. A report from Southwest PRC of its serving as the committee of Classis for the organization of Pittsburgh PRC.

2. An emeritation request from Rev. Arie denHartog, pastor of SW PRC, effective Dec. 31, 2016.

Let us remember the delegates as they do the work of Christ's church today.

The Stated Clerk's report is now included here (as of Sept.17, 2016). It is also attached in pdf form.

Report of Classis East

September 14, 2016

Southwest PRC

 

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at the Southwest PRC.   Each church was represented by two delegates.  Rev. C. Haak served as the chairman for this session.  Welcome was given to the delegates from Pittsburgh PRC who were attending classis for the first time and to the delegates ad examina from Classis West who were present for the consideration of the request for emeritation from Rev. A. denHartog.

 

Southwest PRC requested approval for the emeritation of their pastor, Rev. Arie denHartog effective January 1, 2017.  Classis granted this approval as did the delegates ad examina from Classis West.  Rev. Haak spoke fitting words to Rev. denHartog on this occasion, thanking him for his able and faithful work as a minister of the gospel in our churches.

 

The Classical Committee reported on their work in approving the 2016 and 2017 subsidy requests from Pittsburgh and of their approval of the transfer of the ministerial credentials of Rev. W. Bruinsma from Southwest PRC to Pittsburgh PRC.

 

Classis granted classical appointments to Holland PRC.  Classis also appointed a search committee to bring nominations to the January, 2017 for the selection of a new Stated Clerk.  Classis also informed the Pittsburgh PRC that they did not need permission to ask the churches in Classis East and Classis West for collections for their Building Fund.

 

The expenses of classis amounted to $1866.99.  Classis will meet next at the Georgetown PRC on January 11, 2017.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, Stated Clerk

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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

And, as of May 26 we may add this note re the organization of the Pittsburgh PR Fellowship:

At the May 11, 2016 meeting of Classis East, approval was given to organize the Pittsburgh Protestant Reformed Fellowship as an instituted church.  SW Protestant Reformed Church was instructed to organize this congregation on the behalf of Classis.  With thanksgiving to God, SW Protestant Reformed Church’s Council, as well as the Pittsburgh Protestant Reformed Fellowship, invites you to Pittsburgh on June 24, 2016, at 7 PM, for this organizational service.  Everyone is invited for a time of refreshment and fellowship following the service.

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.

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