Church Government

Classis West

Classis West currently consists of 15 congregations and a total of 2,934 members (baptized and communicant). Classis West is a broader assembly of the PRC and meets two (2) times per year: usually the first Wednesday of March and September but the actual dates are determined by the March Classis each year. The Classis is made up of two (2) delegates from each church, usually the pastor and an elder.

Classis West Meeting, Sept.28, 2016 (Updated with Clerk's Report)

RandolphChurchCLASSIS WEST met in regular session on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at Randolph (WI) PRC.

An Officebearers' Conference on Biblical Counseling was held the day before the meeting, Tuesday. Sept.27, in the church (cf. the flyer below and attached).

The professors and students of the PRC Seminary also attended the Tuesday conference.

May the Lord give His blessing to the conference and the meeting of Classis.

Official report:

Classis West met in regular session on September 28, 2016, in Randolph, WI.

    Rev. S. Key opened the meeting with devotions and an exhortation based on 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6.  He reminded the delegates that God has entrusted us with the gospel.  This becomes a source of confidence for us who minister the word, as well as a reason for commitment and the power of divine commission. 
    Rev. R. Kleyn chaired this meeting of Classis.  The agenda was brief.  The stated clerk, classical committee, and reading sermon committee all reported routine labors.  The expenses of this meeting totaled $6,871.73.  Classis adjourned before 11:00, after hearing Rev. Kleyn give a brief parting exhortation based on 1 Corinthians 15:58.  Classis is scheduled to meet next on March 1, 2017 in Redlands.
    The day before Classis, the delegates and several visitors enjoyed fellowship and instruction at an officebearers’ conference on the topic of “Biblical Counseling.”   The two morning sessions were led by Rev. Jeff Doll, pastor of biblical counseling at Cornerstone United Reformed Church, and director of the Institute for Reformed Biblical Counseling.  Rev. Doll’s first presentation set forth seven foundational principles for Reformed Biblical counseling.  In his second speech he laid out seven steps to follow in counseling God’s people.  The afternoon sessions were led by Rev. Garry Eriks and Rev. Rodney Kleyn.  Rev. Eriks spoke on
“The Practice and Goal of Biblical Counseling,” and Rev. Kleyn on “Implementing Biblical Counseling in the Local Church.”  The instruction was timely and the fellowship pleasant.
 
Rev. Douglas Kuiper

Stated Clerk, Classis West  

biblicalcounseling CW sept 2016 Page 1

Classis West Meeting - Crete PRC, IL - Wednesday, March 2, 2016 (Updated!)

SouthHollandCreteChurchClassis West will hold its regular March meeting today, Wednesday, March 2, 2016, at Crete PRC, IL.

The agenda appears to be normal, with delegate voting for Synod 2016 also to take place.

May the Lord guide the delegates with wisdom and charity, for the good of the churches in the West, and for the glory of His name.

Let us remember them in prayer today.

UPDATE: The Stated Clerk of Classis West has submitted his report, which may be found below.

Crete PRC hosted the spring meeting of Classis West on Wednesday, March 2.  This meeting was the occasion for thirty ministers and elders, traveling from points near and far, to labor for the wellbeing of the fifteen churches of the classis, and to enjoy each other’s fellowship.

    The stated clerk, classical committee, church visitors, and reading sermon committee all reported routine labors.  A particular cause for thanksgiving to God was the church visitors’ testimony of seeing “God’s work and faithfulness in the churches of Classis West,” in whom “unity, peace and love” prevails.
    With sorrow, the Classis advised one consistory to proceed to the second step of censure in its labors with a member.
    Six churches requested subsidy for 2017 in the total amount of $266,910.  Classis approved these requests and will forward them to synod.  These smaller churches are thankful for the willingness of every family in the denomination to help support them.  At the same time, the resolve of these churches to support themselves as much as possible is evident from the fact that their General Fund budgets are usually higher than most other churches.  Of the six churches on subsidy in Classis West, the lowest per family per week General Fund budget is $73; the average is $85; the highest is $112.
    An hour or more of the meeting of the March classis is spent voting for various classical functionaries.  For terms of three years, Rev. J. Engelsma was appointed to the classical committee, Rev. D. Lee to be a primus synodical deputy, and Rev. C. Griess to be a secundus synodical deputy.  Appointed as church visitors were Revs. Key, Kleyn, Kuiper, and Laning, with Revs. Brummel and Lee as alternates.  Appointed to represent the Classis at Synod 2016 were Revs. Brummel, Key, Kleyn, Kuiper, and Laning, with Revs. Engelsma, Griess, Huizinga, Lee, and Marcus as their alternates.  Elder delegates are Keith Bruinsma (Peace), Alvin Bylsma (Calvary), Chester Hunter, Jr. (Edgerton), Lou Regnerus (Randolph) and Brian VanEngen (Hull).  Their alternates are George DeJong (Crete), Henry Ferguson (Edmonton), Steve Kooima (Hull), Jack Lenting (Crete), and Mike Gritters (Redlands).
    The expenses of the meeting totaled $8360.47.
    Classis is scheduled to meet next on September 28 in Randolph.
    Rev. Douglas Kuiper, Stated Clerk

Classis West Meeting, Edgerton, MN, Sept.30, 2015 - Official Report Now Published

EdgerPRC2012Classis West met this week in Edgerton, MN PRC.

Update from Wednesday afternoon, Sept.30: Pastor-elect Ryan Barnhill successfully sustained his classical exam and Classis West unanimously approved him to serve as a minister of the Word and sacraments in the PRC.

Peace PRC was also instructed to proceed with his ordination and installation, which is scheduled for Friday evening, Oct.9 in Peace PRC (Lansing, IL), with Prof.B. Gritters leading the service.

We rejoice in God's gracious provision of another servant to herald the gospel of sovereign grace. May He continue to prepare this brother for his work in the church of Jesus Christ in our Peace congregation.

RBarnhill CW Sept 2015
Chairman for this meeting of Classis West, Rev.B.Huizinga, informs Pastor-elect Barnhill and his wife Miranda of its decision.

The Stated Clerk of Classis West provides this official public report of this meeting:

On September 30, 2015, Classis West held its fall meeting in Edgerton, MN.

The meeting was preceded by an officebearers’ conference the previous day on the topic “The Local Church and Missions.” In his keynote speech, Rev. Slopsema emphasized first that every local church has the calling before God to do mission work. The church should not think this is optional for her; she also should view it as a privilege, not a burden. The second part of his speech explained that some of the work of missions becomes the work of the denomination, and laid out guidelines for how and when a congregation would turn to the denomination for help. The fourth presentation of the day supplemented this instruction; members of the Domestic Mission Committee spoke on “Promoting Mission Outreach by the Local Congregation.” The other two presentations were by members of Hope PRC and Georgetown PRC, giving overviews of Hope’s work with Rev. Titus in Myanmar, and Georgetown’s work with the Protestant Reformed Church of Vellore, India.
The presentations were informative, and I personally found them encouraging. A hearty thanks to Revs. Griess and Kleyn for organizing the conference, and to those who came from Michigan to take part in it.
After Rev. R. Hanko opened the meeting with an edifying devotional on Zechariah 1:8, Rev. B. Huizinga capably chaired this meeting for the first time in his ministry. .
The highlight of the meeting of Classis was the examination of Mr. Ryan Barnhill, who has accepted the call to serve as pastor of Peace PRC in Lansing, IL. The evening prior to Classis, the delegates of Classis and synodical deputies from Classis East gathered in the sanctuary of Edgerton PRC for an official worship service, at which Mr. Barnhill preached his specimen sermon on Psalm 25:14. Both in his preaching as well as in the rest of the exam, Mr. Barnhill gave good account of his natural and spiritual gifts for the ministry of the Word. With joy, Classis approved his exam and advised Peace PRC to proceed with his ordination. With this decision, the synodical deputies concurred.
Also on the agenda was an appeal of a brother from Peace PRC against a decision of his consistory. Peace PRC was unable to find pulpit supply for its worship services on December 31, 2014 and January 1, 2015. The consistory decided, with the approval of Crete PRC’s consistory, to hold a combined worship service with Crete, under the supervision of both consistories. The brother presented his consistory with several reasons why he considered this decision to be an error and, not satisfied with his consistory’s response, appealed the matter to Classis. Classis decided not to sustain the brother’s appeal for five reasons. Of those five, the first two regard significant principles of the Church Order, and the last three regard matters that were specific to the appellant’s wording in stating his case. I’ll summarize the first two. First, Classis pointed out that at this combined service, the elders of Peace PRC did not relinquish their responsibilities toward their congregation, but rather called the congregation to worship, and were able to oversee both the attendance of the members of Peace PRC as well as the preaching that the members received. In this way they fulfilled the mandate of Scripture in 1 Peter 5:2-3. Second, Classis declared that in so doing both consistories adhered to Article 67 of our Church Order; that Peace PRC did not relinquish their autonomy; and that Crete PRC did not lord it over Peace PRC (something which Article 84 of our Church Order specifies may not happen).
The consistory of Covenant of Grace PRC requested an additional subsidy of $4000 for 2015 and $12,000 for 2016. The reason for this request is that Rev. and Mrs. Kleyn decided to enroll their children in a different school than they had been using since moving to Spokane, which school had significantly higher tuition. Classis granted these requests and forwarded them to the synodical finance committee.
The expenses of this meeting totaled $9362.36. Classis is scheduled to meet next in Crete PRC on March 2, 2016.
The fellowship was again enjoyable. God is to be thanked for giving us the freedom to hold such assemblies claiming the protection of the authorities, and for giving the delegates to this particular meeting safety in travel and freedom to speak the convictions of their heart in love for the churches.
Rev. Douglas Kuiper, Stated Clerk

Classis West Meeting March 4 in Doon PRC (Stated Clerk Report Now Added)

DoonPRCPicThe next regular meeting of Classis West is set for Wednesday, March 4, 2015 at the Doon PRC in Doon, IA.

The agenda looks to be light. At this meeting Classis will be voting for its synodical delegates, functionaries, and committee members.

Pray that the men may be given traveling mercies as they make their way to NW Iowa and that these delegates may be given wisdom for the work the King of the church, Jesus Christ, has in store for them.

UPDATE: Below you may now find the Stated Clerk's public report of this meeting (also attached in pdf form):

Classis West of the Protestant Reformed Churches

Rev. Douglas J. Kuiper, Stated Clerk
321 Maple St W, PO Box 212, Edgerton, MN 56128
Phone: (507) 442-4441
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Report of Meeting of Classis West
March 4, 2015

On March 4, 2015, the thirty delegates to Classis West met in the Doon, IA PRC. The day dawned sunny, clear, cold, and windy - a typical winter morning on the eastern edge of the plains. Inside, the delegates enjoyed warm fellowship.

Rev. Erik Guichelaar opened the session by reading 1 Timothy 4:11-16, and giving a meditation on verse 16. The young pastor reminded the delegates of the need both to be diligent in our labors, and to be personal examples of godliness, assuring us from God’s Word that in this way we will enjoy God’s blessing on us personally and on our congregations. After devotions, Rev. R. Hanko took the chair and capably led the Classis through its work.

For the most part, this was a routine spring meeting. Classis approved the labors of its stated clerk, classical committee, church visitors, and reading sermon committee. It provided Peace PRC with classical appointments. Classis approved Edgerton’s request for subsidy for 2015, and approved subsidy requests for six churches for 2016. Since 1999, Edgerton has been able to subsidize its own General Fund by drawing annually from the interest and principal of a sizeable bequest. Edgerton informed Classis that, because the bequest could be completely gone in about 5 years, Edgerton thought it prudent to subsidize its General Fund partly from that bequest fund, and partly from denominational subsidy - which Classis granted. All subsidy requests will now be forwarded to Synod 2015 for final approval or disapproval.

Voting for various functionaries and synodical delegates is always on the agenda of the spring meeting. Classis appointed Rev. J. Laning to a three year term on the classical committee. It chose Revs. S. Key, R. Kleyn, D. Kuiper, and J. Laning as church visitors for the next year, with Revs. A. Brummel and D. Lee as alternates. It brings to Synod the recommendation to approve Rev. D. Kuiper for a three year term as primus synodical deputy, and Rev. J. Laning for a three year term as secundus. It delegated to synod Revs. Brummel, Key, Kleyn, Kuiper, and Laning, and elders Keith Bruinsma (Peace), Chester Hunter (Edgerton), Alan Meurer (Bethel), Jack Lenting (Crete), and Jack Regnerus (Randolph). Alternate delegates are Revs. Griess, Huizinga, Langerak, Lee, and Marcus, and elders Jim Andringa (Hull), Glenn Feenstra (Hope), Jim Hoogendoorn (Doon), Victor Solanyk (Loveland), and Steve Van Drunen (Crete).

Classis dealt with two non-routine matters.

First, Peace PRC informed Classis that its congregation has authorized its council to investigate buying property or existing buildings south of its current location, “most likely in Indiana.” Recognizing that the Illinois/Indiana border is the designated boundary line between Classis East and Classis West, Peace asked Classis to bring to Synod its request to be permitted to remain in Classis West, should Peace move across the classical boundary into Indiana. Classis forwarded this request to Synod, with its approval.

Second, the stated clerk informed Classis that he was nearly finished preparing an index of the decisions of Classis West, and desired advice from Classis regarding the printing, distributing, and updating of this index. Classis decided to permit every consistory in the denomination to receive a printed copy, and every minister in the denomination to receive a printed and/or electronic copy of this index. Because the index contains publicly known information, Classis faced the question whether to make the printed version available to any member of the denomination who requests it. Classis decided instead that members of the congregations may ask their consistory to use their copy, as the consistory is in a better position to judge why the member desires to use it. The stated clerk was then instructed to update and redistribute the electronic version of this index every year, and the printed version every ten years. However, every year the stated clerk must send those who receive the printed version a looseleaf sheet of cumulative updates.

Glancing through the minutes, I see that consistories have asked for advice regarding erasure or increase of censure at 7 of the last 11 meetings. This meeting was one of those four at which no consistories sought such advice.

The expenses of this meeting totaled $8029.82.

Classis is scheduled to meet next on September 30 in Edgerton, MN.

Rev. Douglas Kuiper, Stated Clerk

Pastor-elect Josh Engelsma Sustains Classis West Exam

On Wednesday, September 24, 2014, Pastor-elect Joshua Engelsma was examined by the delegates of Classis West meeting in Peace PRC, Lansing, IL. Part of the exam included preaching a specimen sermon before the delegates of Classis and the congregation of Peace PRC at a special worship service the evening before, held in Crete PRC.

Following a thorough examination in all areas of theology and practical theology (pastoral care), pastor-elect J.Engelsma was unanimously approved for ordination as a minister of the Word and sacraments in the PRCA. Doon PRC's Council, from whom Josh had received his call into the ministry, was instructed to proceed with his ordination and installation into the ministry.

This is planned for Friday evening, Oct.3, at 7:00 p.m. in the Doon PRC with Prof. David Engelsma conducting the service. Pastor-elect Engelsma's inaugural sermon will take place on Sunday, Oct.5, during the evening service (6:00 p.m.).

The picture below is of Pastor-elect J.Engelsma and his wife Courtney, as he receives his Classical diploma from the president of Classis, Rev.Erik Guichelaar (compliments of Rev.R.Van Overloop, one of the delegates ad examina representing Classis East).

Josh  Courtney E -ClWest - Sept2014-2

We give thanks to Jesus Christ, the King of the church, for giving pastor-elect J.Engelsma the grace to sustain his exam before Classis, and for providing us as churches with another herald of the gospel. May He now give him additional grace to enter into the ministry and to fulfill its glorious labors in faithfulness to the charge given him. Let us pray for this brother as he prepares to take up his labors.

*Note: For a full report of the meeting of Classis West and the Officebearers' Conference, see the pdf attached to this post.

Classis West Officebearers' Conference - Sept.23, 2014

The special committee of Classis West announces that a special Officebearers' Conference on preaching will be held September 23, 2014 in Peace PRC, Lansing, IL, the day before the next meeting of Classis West (See note below about links to the audio versions of these speeches.)

The public is invited, but especially area officebearers - elders, deacons, and pastors are encouraged to attend. Lunch will be provided. Please contact the church or Rev.C.Spronk for more information.

The special flyer prepared for this event is posted below, as well as a pdf version of it for your own publication and posting.

OBConf-Preaching-CLWest-Sept2014 Page 1

*Note: The four speeches of this conference are now available in audio form on Peace PRC's Sermonaudio page. The links are provided here:

  1. Developing Your Preaching Beyond Seminary - Missionary-pastor W.Bruinsma
  2. The Important Place of Application in Reformed Preaching - Prof.B.Gritters
  3. The Art of Making Christ-Centered Sermons, with Biblical Illustrations - Prof.R.Dykstra
  4. The Elders' Supervision of the Preaching - Prof.R.Cammenga

Report on March 5 Meeting of Classis West

HeritagePRCClassis West met this week Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. in Heritage PRC, Sioux Falls, SD.

Rev. Allen Brummel, (Heritage PRC) as the previous president, provided opening devotions. By rotation, Rev.Cory Griess (Calvary PRC, Hull, IA) presided as chairman.

The stated clerk of Classis West, Rev.Doug Kuiper has completed his public report for this meeting. It is attached here in pdf form. A few highlights are as follows:

Voting for various officers and functionaries is always part of the agenda of the spring meeting. Classis appointed Rev. C. Griess to a three year term on the classical committee, reappointed Rev. D.Kuiper and Rev. J. Marcus to three year terms as classical stated clerk and assistant stated clerk, and appointed Revs. A. Brummel, S. Key, R. Kleyn, and D. Kuiper to be church visitors for the next year. Assisting these church visitors, if needed, will be Revs. J. Laning and J. Marcus.

Rev. S. Key was appointed to a three year term as primus synodical deputy, and Rev. N. Langerak to a three year terms as secundus synodical deputy. The work of the synodical deputies is to attend meetings of Classis East, when Classis East treats matters requiring synodical approval.

Delegated to synod were the following ministers: Revs. A. Brummel, S. Key, D. Kuiper, J. Laning, and C. Spronk. Alternate minister delegates are Revs. C. Griess, R. Kleyn, N. Langerak, D. Lee, and J.
Marcus. Elder delegates are Alvin Bylsma (Calvary), Jack Lenting (Crete), Jim Regnerus (Doon), and Don Terpstra (Peace), and Leon Uittenbogaard (Calvary). Their alternates are elders Jim Andringa (Hull), Lou Regnerus (Randolph), Dewey VanDerNoord (Crete), Steve VanDrunen (Crete), and Bob Vermeer (Peace).

May the Lord of the church richly bless all the proceedings for the good of the churches.

Report of Classis West - Pastor-elect E.Guichelaar Sustains Exam!

ErikG-ClassisWestExam-Oct2013Below is the official public report - along with a few pictures - courtesy of Rev.Doug Kuiper, Stated Clerk of Classis West, - of the meeting of Classis West which met and concluded yesterday, Wednesday, October 9 in Loveland, CO.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report of Classis West
October 9, 2013
 
    Classis West held its fall meeting in Loveland, CO on October 9.  The meeting date had been postponed from the usual September date, so that Classis could examine Candidate Erik Guichelaar, who had accepted the call to be the pastor of the Randolph, WI PRC.
    Rev. Allen Brummel chaired the session.  In addition to the thirty delegates from the churches in Classis West, Classis was attended by the synodical deputies from Classis East (Revs. Haak, Koole, and VanOverloop), and by Seminarian Joshua Engelsma, who is doing his internship in Peace PRC.  Many members from Loveland PRC, as well as students from Loveland’s grade school and high school, were found sitting in the pews during the examination.  No doubt their interest in this particular exam was heightened by the fact that Mr. Guichelaar had served his internship in Loveland, CO last year, and several of the students had Mr. Guichelaar as their catechism teacher.
    As part of his examination, Mr. Guichelaar led a worship service on Tuesday evening, preaching from John 12:26 under the theme “For Him Who Would Serve Christ.”  Classis judged Mr. Guichelaar’s exposition to be sound, Christ centered, and edifying.  The text gave Mr. Guichelaar opportunity to witness of his own commitment to serve Christ, and reminded all the delegates that the way to serve Christ is the way of following Him.
    Mr. Guichelaar’s oral examination took all of Wednesday morning.  Various ministers examined him in the six areas of Reformed doctrine, the knowledge of Scripture, the knowledge of confessions, controversy, and practica.  After lunch, Classis unanimously approved his exam, and advised Randolph PRC to proceed with his ordination into the ministry of the Word and sacraments.  The synodical deputies from Classis East concurred with this decision.  Mr. Guichelaar will be ordained and installed in Randolph PRC this coming Sunday, October 13, D.V.
    God be thanked, again, for the gift of ministers - and of this minister in particular!  And, God be thanked, again, for the gift we have in a denominational seminary, and for professors who are diligent in preparing men for the ministry of the gospel!
    In other business, Classis received reports from its stated clerk, classical committee, and reading sermon committee.  It also approved a classical examination schedule for Doon PRC, the only vacant church in the Classis.
    Crete PRC had requested Classis to designate the fourth Wednesday of September as the date for the regular fall meeting, in part to avoid travel the week of Labor Day.  Classis did agree to try to avoid meeting the week of Labor Day in the future, but still denied Crete’s request, giving Classis more freedom to schedule future meetings on a date which works best for that particular year.
    The expenses of Classis totaled $10,090.84.
    The next meeting of Classis is scheduled for March 5, 2014 - the first to be hosted by Heritage PRC in Sioux Falls, SD, God willing.
RevABrummelErikandCherithG-ClWest-Oct2013
 
Rev.A.Brummel, Chair of Classis, addresses Pastor-elect E.Guichelaar and family following the decision to approve his examination.

Classis West Meeting in Loveland, CO

LovelandPRC2012CLASSIS WEST is scheduled to meet this Wednesday, October 9 hosted by Loveland (CO) PR Church. The main item on the agenda is the classical examination of Randolph PRC's pastor-elect, Erik Guichelaar. For this purpose a special worship service is planned for Tuesday evening, the 8th, at 7 PM (MT). Synod is to be represented at this meeting by three ministers (delegates ad examina) from the East: Revs. C. Haak, K. Koole and R.VanOverloop

Let us remember in prayer the delegates as they travel and carry out the work of the churches in the West and for pastor-elect E.Guichelaar as he is examined. May the Lord be pleased to bless all the labors conducted and the decisions reached.

Change of Date for Fall Meeting of Classis West

The Classical Committee of Classis, with the previous approval of Classis West, has rescheduled the regular meeting of Classis West from September 4 to October 9 in order to avoid having two Classis meetings this Fall. This will allow time for CandidateErik  Guichelaar to consider and answer his calls and then prepare to be examined by Classis West, Lord willing.

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