News From Classis West
Classis West met on Wednesday, March 1, in Redlands, CA. Visiting Redlands for Classis in early March is a nice break for many of the delegates. Delegates who live in colder climates enjoy a break from winter’s cold, and all enjoy a break from the normal routine of work. The fellowship was warm, both in temperature and in spirit.
Attended by two delegates from each church, and chaired by Rev. Kuiper, Classis treated both routine and weighty matters.
Weighty were two matters of discipline regarding which a consistory sought Classis’ advice. After hearing of the extensive work of the consistory regarding the two baptized members, Classis advised the consistory to proceed to erasure in both cases.
Routine were the reports of the stated clerk, classical committee, church visitors, and reading sermon committee. The church visitors reported using the text Deuteronomy 17:18-20 and the theme “An Officebearer’s Dependence On the Word of God” for their visits. They testified to finding “unity, peace, and love prevailing in our congregations,” with the officebearers “faithfully carrying out the duties of their offices according to their abilities.” Carrying out this aspect of mutual oversight, the visitors incurred expenses of $6,430.75.
Not routine, and also weighty, were two requests from ministers, coming through their consistories, to be declared emeritus. Rev. T. Miersma, presently serving Immanuel PRC in Lacombe, AB, requested emeritation due to age (66) and increasing physical limitations and infirmities. Classis granted this request and will forward it to synod for final approval. Rev. R. Hanko, presently serving our congregation in Lynden, WA, also requested emeritation. His stated reason for his request was neither age nor health, but his desire to be closer to his son Neal who lives in Spokane. Most of us are aware that Neal has special needs which require him to live in an institution. Classis rejected Rev. Hanko’s request as not satisfying the requirements of Article 13 of our Church Order. Classis also advised Rev. Hanko and Lynden’s consistory regarding several specific issues which any future request for early emeritation must address.
Routine, for the March meeting, was the treatment of subsidy requests. Six churches requested subsidy for 2018, for a total of $276,055. Two churches asked for the same amount of subsidy as in 2017; two asked for more than 2017, explaining their reasons; two asked for less. Each church submitted financial documents supporting its request, as well as a letter explaining what efforts it was making to reduce the amount of subsidy it needs. All six requests were approved and forwarded to synod.
Also routine was the task of voting for various classical functionaries. For three year terms, Rev. C. Griess was appointed to the classical committee, Rev. D. Kuiper as stated clerk, and Rev. J. Marcus as assistant stated clerk. Revs. A. Brummel, S. Key, R. Kleyn, and D. Kuiper were appointed church visitors for the coming year, with Revs. J. Laning and T. Miersma as alternates. Classis appointed Revs. S. Key and N. Langerak to three year terms as primus and secundus synodical deputy, which appointment requires the final approval of synod before going into effect.
Ministers delegated to synod were Revs. B. Huizinga, S. Key, R. Kleyn, D. Kuiper, and J. Laning, with Revs. A. Brummel, J. Engelsma, C. Griess, N. Langerak, and J. Marcus as their alternates. Elder delegates are Robert Brands (Loveland), Keith Bruinsma (Peace), Henry Ferguson (Edmonton), Chester Hunter (Edgerton), and Alan Meurer (Bethel). Should they be unable to attend, they will call on their alternates, who are Rod Griess (Loveland), Loren Gritters (Hull), Steve Huizenga (Crete), Ed Stouwie (Crete), and Ed VanEgdom (Heritage).
The expenses of this meeting totaled $10,985.41.
The fall meeting of Classis is scheduled for September 27, 2017, hosted by Hull PRC.
We thank God for the traveling mercies He gave the delegates and for the brotherly spirit that prevailed at the meeting. And we - delegates not only, but all members of the PRC - now earnestly beseech Him to use the decisions which were made for the good of our churches, and to give those affected by these decisions the grace to receive them in a humble and willing spirit.
Rev. Douglas Kuiper, Stated Clerk