Church Government

Synod

The PRC Synod is the broadest church assembly or gathering, made up of 20 delegates, 5 ministers and 5 elders from each Classis (of which there are two in the PRC). It meets annually during the second week of June to treat the ecclesiastical matters of the denomination (Missions, Seminary, etc.) and whatever matters have been brought from the narrower assemblies, viz., the Consistories and the Classes. The decisions of this body are published in the annual "Acts of Synod".

PRC Synod 2019: Day 5 - Monday, June 17 *Updated with Report

session pic 2

The PRC Synod reconvened Monday morning at 10 a.m. in First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI).

The main item on the agenda was consideration of two protests involving Synod 2018's decision on the relation between faith and good works. Synod unanimously adopted the advice of its committee of pre-advice (Committee 4), that neither protest be sustained. Synod 2019 gave detailed grounds to both parties, which will become available in the published Acts of Synod.

In other business, Synod voted for members of its standing committees (Contact Committee, Domestic Mission Commitee, Foreign Mission Committee, Theological School Commmittee, etc.) and officers. These too will be published in the summary report and in the Acts.

Synod concluded its work a little after 2:00 p.m.

The expenses for synod totaled $11,524.83.

Let us pray for God's blessing to rest upon the decisions reached, for the good of the PRC, her sister churches, and her mission endeavors - and above all, for the glory of God and the King of the church, Jesus Christ.

coffee wed 1
One of the coffee-time breaks at Synod 2019

coffee grad 1
Coffee and cake time after seminary graduation Thursday night (at Eastside Christian School next door)

RevGVB exam thurs
Rev. G. Van Baren was able to attend the end of the seminary student examination on Thursday.

PRC Synod 2019: Day 4 - Friday, June 14 *Updated with Report

sem grads 1a
The PRC Seminary graduates are introduced by Prof. B. Gritters, rector of the seminary.

sem graduation 2019 1

After a wonderful seminary commencement program Thursday night in First PRC (Grand Rapids, MI), (see pics above)

sem grad cake

the PRC Synod 2019 returned to its regular business at 8 am Friday morning.

synod fri 2

Much of the work was based on the report of Committee 3 dealing with the protests concerning Psalter revision and Contact Committee work.

synod fri 1

That included addresses from the three foreign men representing our sister churches:

JFlores address fri
Rev. John Flores from the PRC in the Philippines

LeeM Hsien CEREC address fri
Deacon Lee Meng Hsien from Covenant ERC, Singapore

MMcgeown address fri
and Rev. M. McGeown representing Covenant PRC, N. Ireland (he is her missionary-pastor in Limerick, Ireland)

*The summary report on today's decisions has now been attached to this news post. Included in that are these words:

Delegates from our sister churches were given an opportunity to address synod on behalf of their churches. Deacon Lee Meng Hsien spoke on behalf of the CERCS, Rev. McGeown spoke on behalf of Covenant PRC in Northern Ireland. and Rev. John Flores spoke on behalf of the PRC in the Philippines. These delegates spoke of the work that God was doing in their churches and expressed thanks to God for our sister church relationship. The chairman of synod responded by express to these delegates our thanks to God for them and for the fellowship that we have them.
Synod expressed to the PRCP and CERCS that the PRCA has no objections to their entering into a sister-church relationship with each other, and expressed to our sister churches our joy and our thankfulness to God for opening the way for this manifestation of the unity and catholicity of the church and our prayer for God’s richest blessings upon this relationship.

Synod plans to reconvene at 10 am Monday morning.

PRC Synod 2019: Day 3 - Thursday, June 13 *Updated with Report

rdykstra exam 1
Prof. R. Dykstra examining the seminarians in church history (early church focus).

This morning synod returns to the oral examination of Sems. M. Kortus and J. Maatman. The seniors will be examined in O.T. History, N.T. History, Church History, Church Polity, and Practica (a practical exam). These portions of the exam will also be live-streamed on First PRC's Sermonaudio channel.

bgritters exam polity
Prof. B. Gritters examining the men in Reformed Church Polity (government) and OT history.

RC NT exam Thurs 1
Prof. R. Cammenga examining in NT history.

exam audience thurs
Audience observing the examination in First PRC sanctuary

Following the exam, synod will make a decision to approve these men and declare them candidates for the ministry of the Word in the PRCA.

*Update: That decision has now been made. Both M. Kortus and J. Maatman have been unanimously approved and declared to be candidates for the ministry of the Word in the PRC, eligible for a call beginning July 13. We rejoice with these brothers and their wives and families, and thank God for the gift of two more eligible pastor-teachers for the churches.

student approval thurs 1
Rev. G. Eriks, president of Synod 2019, informs the students and their wives and the audience of synod's decision.

synod congrats 1
synod congrats 2
Following the singing of the doxology and prayer, the students received the congratulations of the professors, delegates, family, and friends.

This afternoon synod will return to its regular work, considering the advice of its various committees.

First church

Seminary graduation will take place this evening in First PRC, at 7:30 P.M.  Prof. R. Dykstra will give the address from 1 Timothy 4:16, "Take Heed to Thyself and to the Doctrine." The choir of First PRC, Holland, MI will provide the special music. All are welcome to join us in celebrating the goodness of God in providing two graduates this year.

PRC Synod 2019: Day 2 - Wednesday, June 12 - *Updated with Report

CGriess devotions
Rev. C. Griess (pastor of First PRC, the host church) with opening devotions, Wednesday, June 12

Following synod's approval of the sermons of Sems. M. Kortus and J. Maatman yesterday, synod is proceeding with their oral examination today. First is Prof. R. Cammenga, who is examining them in all branches of theology. The exam is being live-streamed through First PRC's Sermonaudio channel.

Exam Dogm 2
Prof. R. Cammenga examining Sems. Matt K. and Jacob M. in dogmatics

Students exam 2
The two men completed their exam in dogmatics this afternoon, then synod reconvened to treat material from its committees that was ready. *The report of the actions taken is attached in pdf form.

One of the more significant decisions was this: "Synod called Rev. Brian Huizinga to replace Prof. Cammenga as Professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament. Rev. Cory Griess was chosen to be the alternate. May the Lord guide Rev. Huizinga that he may know God’s will regarding this call. Let us remember him in our prayers."

On Thursday the seniors will be examined in O.T. History, N.T. History, Church History, Church Polity, and Practica (a practical exam). This portion of the exam will also be live-streamed.

synod sessions 1

Missionary-pastor D. Kleyn addressed synod on the ongoing work of the PRC's three missionaries in the Philippines (photo below).

DKleyn address Wed 2

The following are pictures taken today of the committees of synod - and one at work yesterday (more to come!).

Comm 1 1
Committee 1 - Prof. B. Gritters, Elders G. Lanning, H. Goosen, Rev. S. Key, Rev. G. Eriks

Comm 2 1
Committee 2 - Revs. C. Haak, J. Laning, Elders A. Meuer, K. Van Overloop, Prof. R. Cammenga

Comm 3 1
Committee 3 - Rev. R. Kleyn, Elder M. Bosveld, Rev. R. Van Overloop, Elder D. Terpstra, Prof. R. Dykstra

Comm 4 1
Committee 4 - Elder P. VanDer Schaaf, Prof. D. Kuiper, Rev. B. Huizinga, Elder B. Wories, Rev. C. Griess

Comm 5 1
Committee 5 - Revs. C. Spronk, A. Brummerl, Elders R. Gritters, B. Gritters

Foreign delegates
The special foreign delegates - Rev. J. Flores (PRC, the Philippines), Rev. M. McGeown (Covenant PRC, N. Ireland), Deacon Lee Meng Hsien (Covensnt ERC, Singapore)

Comm1 work 2
Committee 1 at work

Comm 2 work 2
Committee 2 at work

Comm3 Tues 2
Committee 3 at work

Comm 5 work 2
Committee 5 at work

And the group pictures taken today, one in front of First PRC, the other down below.

group front 1

group below 1

PRC Synod 2019: Pre-synodical Service (Monday) and Day 1 (Tuesday) *Updated with Report

RevRVO Pre synod sermon 2

On Monday evening, June 10, 2019, having been called by her Council, the congregation of First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI - the calling church of the PRC Synod 2019 - gathered in worship, together with the synodical delegates and fellow saints and friends of the PRC. The service was led by Rev. R. Van Overloop, the president of last year's synod. He preached from Revelation 3:14-21, speaking on the theme "The Church of Christ at Laodicea" (you may find and listen to the sermon at this link).

pre synod service 1stprc 2019

Synod will begin its sessions in the lower level of First PRC on Tuesday morning at 8:00 am. After being constituted, synod will elect officers and appoint committees for her work (cf. update below).

MKortus sermon 1
Sem. Matt Kortus delivering his sermon on Ps.139:23,24

JMaatman sermon 2
Sem. Jacob Maatman delivering his sermon on Luke 19:10

The rest of the morning, beginning at 10 am, will involve the delivery of specimen sermons by the two senior seminarians to be examined by synod - Matthew Kortus and Jacob Maatman. The rest of their oral exam (in theology, etc.) will begin Wednesday morning. Visitors are welcome. *Synod approved the live-streaming of the exam. That may be viewed on First PRC's Sermonaudio channel.

Tuesday afternoon the committees will begin their work of preparing advice for synod.

First church

Delegates to Synod 2019 are as follows:

Classis East: Revs. G. Eriks, C. Griess, C. Haak, C. Spronk, and R. Van Overloop. Elders M. Bosveld, R. Gritters, G. Lanning, P. VanDer Schaaf, K. Van Overloop

Classis West: Revs. A. Brummel, B. Huizinga, S. Key, R. Kleyn, J. Laning. Elders H. Goosen, B. Gritters, A. Meuer, D. Terpstra, B. Wories

Officers 1
From l-r: Rev. J. Laning, Rev. C. Spronk, Rev. G. Eriks, Rev. S. Key

Update: Synod voted the following men as its officers:

President: Rev. G. Eriks
Vice President: Rev. S. Key
First Clerk: Rev. C. Spronk
Second Clerk: Rev. J. Laning

And these minutes relating to the foreign delegates from the PRC's sister churches may be noted:

Synod receives letters from the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland,
informing synod that they have authorized Rev. Martyn McGeown to represent the CPRCNI and speak on
her behalf; from the Classis of the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines,
informing synod that they have authorized Rev. John Flores to represent the PRCP and speak on her
behalf; from the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore, informing
synod that they have authorized deacon Lee Meng Hsien to represent the CERCS and speak on her behalf.
It is moved to seat Rev. Martyn McGeown, Rev. John Flores, and deacon Lee Meng Hsien, giving
them advisory vote in all matters. Carried.

On behalf of synod the chairman welcomes the representatives from our sister churches.

The report of the Committee on Committees (dividing up the work of synod) was approved. *See attachment for that document.

The report on the day from the second clerk of synod also included these notes (that report is also attached):

Synod has the privilege of examining two seminarians this year. Today synod approved the specimen sermons of Seminarian Matt Kortus and Seminarian Jacob Maatman. After the approval of the students’ sermons synod adjourned for the day, so that the pre-advice committees could begin their work.
Synod is scheduled to reconvene tomorrow morning at 8:00. After morning devotions, synod will begin with the oral examination of the two students. Live-streaming of the examinations will be available.

And, of course, we want to acknowledge the all-important role of the tech-crew!

Tech crew 1

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 7 - Thursday, June 21

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 completed its work Thursday, June 21, beginning at 8 AM and ending after lunch.

Rev. G. Eriks, second clerk of synod, offers this final summary of the day's work:

After praying for God’s blessing upon the work of the day, synod returned to recommitted material regarding
the appeal dealt with yesterday. Synod sustained the appellant's appeal of Art. 44 of Classis East, which decision advised

Hope’s consistory to require the appellant to retract an accusation. 

Synod also made a favorable judgment on the paper that Rev. D. Overway wrote in response to the following
mandate of Synod 2017: “respond fully, in writing, to the objections against his sermon on John 14:6 as
sustained by Synod 2017. This response must include his theological convictions about the matter.” Synod said
that Rev. Overway satisfactorily fulfilled this mandate and judged his response to be orthodox.

Synod then approved some recommendations to help Hope PRC implement these decisions. This included the
appointment of a special committee of Prof. R. Cammenga, Rev. C. Spronk, and Rev. R. Van Overloop.
Synod then turned to the three protests of the decision found in Article 88, B.1 of Synod 2017 (Acts, pp. 88-89).

Synod sustained the protests of these three men and rescinded Art. 88. B. 1 because the statements were unclear
and because Synod 2017 erred when it entered into the statements of a protestant while at the same time not
sustaining the protest, which charged these statements with antinomianism.

Synod also responded to one protest by rebuking the protestant for including in his protest charges of heresy
against an office bearer in good standing in the PRC.

After lunch, synod voted on appointments to the standing committees of synod, and approved expenses of over
$12,000 for the meeting of synod.

The chair thanked the delegates for their work and cooperation and the chair was thanked for his able leadership
of the synod through many difficult issues. Elder Jim Lanting closed synod with a prayer of thanksgiving

May the King of the church give His sovereign blessing to the decisions reached by Synod 2018 - for the welfare of His church and the glory of His name.

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 6 - Wednesday, June 20

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 resumed its work Wednesday morning, June 20, at 9 AM at Adams Christian School.

Synod Wed20 1
Delegates and audience stand to sing for morning devotions - a beautiful sound in the gym!

synod wed20 2
A large number of visitors were present on Wednesday.

Synod treated the recommendations of Committee 4 regarding the appeal of a member against the decisions of Classis East. Synod adopted some of the recommendations, sustaining the appeal, while others were recommitted to Committee 4 for reformulation.

Before synod finished its work for the day, the chairman bid farewell to Rev. L. Trinidad, who will be returning to the Philippines Thursday, the Lord willing.

Synod planned to reconvene at 8 AM on Thursday morning.

May the King of the church continue to guide the delegates and bless their decisions for the welfare of His kingdom and cause.

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 5 - Monday, June 18

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 returned to its work Monday morning, June 18, at 1 PM at Adams Christian School. 

Synod Mon 18th 1

Second clerk Rev. G. Eriks again provides a detailed summary of synod's work today (also attached in pdf):

Synod first treated the reformulated advice of the committee dealing with Psalter revision. After a
lengthy discussion, the following motion failed: That synod discontinue our involvement in the
interdenominational Psalter revision project with two grounds:
1. Our consistories indicate that there is not sufficient support in the denomination for this
Psalter revision.
2. This does not conflict with past synodical decisions involving us in the participation of the
interdenominational Psalter revision committee.

This means that we will continue our involvement on the interdenominational Psalter revision project.

Later synod approved the following subsequent motions regarding Psalter revision:
1. That synod declare the proposed revisions of Psalm 1-40 are in harmony with the principles
of text, music, and format approved by Synod 2016.
a. This declaration of synod is not a final approval of the section and all the details but a
statement that the synod judges that the principles have been followed.
b. The committee of pre-advice has gone over the changes in this section and is satisfied
that the principles governing the changes have been followed.
2. That synod inform the Interdenominational Psalter revision committee, in response to their
request for an indication of continued denominational support, that it is unlikely that our
denomination would adopt the revised Psalter in its entirety. Grounds:
a. A survey of our consistories has shown that more than half are not in favor of continuing
the project.
b. In the judgment of a majority of our consistories, too many changes have been made in
the revision to be found acceptable by our congregations.
3. Synod also thanked Prof. Gritters, Prof. Kuiper, and Mr. Joshua Hoekstra for their work on the
Psalter Revision Committee.

Synod adopted the budget for the PRCA of $2,261,686 (adjusted to $1,725,062 because of excess
funds) for 2019 and approved assessments of $800 per family in 2019, a $25 increase per family
from 2018 ($775).

Synod plans to reconvene at 8:00am WEDNESDAY morning, the Lord willing, which gives committees
3 and 4 time to work.

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 4 (Friday) at Adams Christian School

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 took up its work Friday morning, June 15, at 8 AM at Adams Christian School. 

group inside 1
Group picture inside the gym of Adams CS

Second clerk Rev. G. Eriks again provides a detailed summary of synod's work today (also attached in pdf):

After Rev. R. Kleyn led us in opening devotions, synod returned to two recommitted matters from
Committee 2. The first matter was a mandate given to the observers to NAPARC 2018. The
mandate was approved. The second matter was Psalter revision. The pre-advice committee
recommended “that synod inform the interdenominational Psalter revision committee that we will not
continue our official involvement in the work of their committee.” This matter was recommitted
because the recommendation and ground did not take into consideration the decisions of past
synods.

Synod then treated the recommendations of Committee 5. The following are some of the highlights:
• Synod reappointed Mr. Don Offringa to a three-year term as synodical treasurer and Rev. R. Van
Overloop to a three-year term as stated clerk. Synod also thanked these men, and our synodical
bookkeeper, Mrs. Pamela Bos, for all of their work.
• Synod noted the following in regard to the finances of the denomination, for which we give thanks
to our God, Who faithfully provides:
1. As of Dec. 31, 2017 the assets of the PRCA totaled $11,880,853, an increase of 11.7% from a
year ago.
2. Revenues exceeded expenses in 2017 by $1,228,289 due entirely to investment earnings of
$1,307,979 during an exceptional year of stock market growth.
3. The Emeritus Fund totaled $3,893,803 by Dec. 31, 2017. The current balance is ahead of the
goal of 4,000,000 in the fund by 2023.
• Synod approved the emeritation request of Rev. Koole effective on July 31, 2018. Synod
expressed its thanks to Rev. Koole for his almost 41 years of faithful service and capable
leadership in the denomination as a minister of the Word and sacraments
• Synod approve 17 requests for emeritation support for 2019 in the amount, $486,195. This is for
the support of our emeritus ministers and minister’s widows. What a blessing that we can support
these men financially as churches. Let us remember these men and their wives in our prayers.
• Synod also approved subsidy requests for eight of our churches, which provides financial support
for these smaller churches so that the gospel can be preached by them.
• The stated clerk, Rev. Van Overloop, called our attention to a couple of things in his report: he
expressed appreciation for the labors of Don Doezema in helping to prepare the substantial
agenda for synod 2018. He also noted that as of January 2018 the PRCA is made up of 33
congregations comprised of 2,144 families and 8,716 souls.
• Finally, Synod 2019 will be held at First PRC (GR) beginning on June 11, 2019.

Synod finished its work today around noon, giving three of the committees of pre-advice time to
work. Synod decided to reconvene Monday afternoon at 1:00pm, the Lord willing.

And here are some candid photos of the delegates and representatives at Synod 2018. See how well you can identify them by now.

Delegates candid 1
Looks like Elder Adams has some pointed advice for Rev. A. Stewart

Delegates candid 2

Delegates candid 3
For some reason, gatherings under the east basketball hoop are common.

Delegates candid 4

DK LT candid

And lunch time - how would synod ever be able to work without the wonderful lunches provided by the faithful ladies?! Thank you, too, for your service to synod!

lunch 1

lunch 2

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 3 (Thursday) at Adams Christian School

AdamsCS 1

The PRC Synod 2018 continued its work Thursday morning, June 14, at 8 AM at Adams Christian School.

officers 1
Officers of Synod 2018: Rev. C. Spronk (1st clerk), Rev. R. Van Overloop (president), Rev. J. Laning (vice-president), Rev. G. Eriks (2nd clerk)

The second clerk (Rev. G. Eriks) has provided a summary of the business covered and the decisions reached (also attached in pdf form). They are as follows:

After opening devotions, synod considered the report of the Contact Committee. One of the highlights of the day was the speeches from the representatives of our sister churches.

CERC Leong
Elder Leong Fai Chong from Covenant ERC in Singapore (sister church) addressed synod (cf. report above).

  • Elder Leong Fai Chong from the Covenant Evangelical Church in Singapore expressed gratitude for the many benefits of the sister church relationship: the ministry of Rev. Lanning and his family, pulpit supply while they are without a pastor, and faithful seminary instruction for their students. Rev. Van Overloop assured them also of the great blessing the relationship is for us.
  • Rev. Angus Stewart, representing the Covenant PRC in N. Ireland extended the greetings of the CPRCNI to synod, the PRCA, and the our sister churches. He expressed their hearty thanks for the literature, faithful pulpit supply, church visitors, and financial support from the PRCA.
  • When we came to the material concerning our contact with the PRC in the Philippines, Rev. Leovino Trinidad addressed synod. He expressed thanks for the gracious work of the Lord in forming the PRCP. He also expressed great thanks for the missionaries from the PRCA and the sister church relationship.
  • Also letters were read from two other contacts we have. A letter was read from the BERG, the congregation in Giessen, Germany, with whom the PRCA has contact. And a letter was read from the Evangelical Presbyterian Churches in Australia.

 RevAStewart
Rev. A. Stewart, pastor of Covenant PRC in N. Ireland, also addressed syod as a representative of a sister church to the PRCA.

Here are some other highlights of the work of synod regarding the Contact Committee report.

  • Synod approved the calling of a minister-on-loan to provide a pastor for our sister church in Singapore. Grandville PRC was again appointed the calling church for the calling of the MOL.
  • With much thanksgiving synod approved the implementation of sister-church relations with the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines after our other sisters in Singapore and N. Ireland expressed they have no objections to establishing the sister-church relationship. After this was approved, Rev. Van Overloop addressed Rev. Trinidad and Rev. Holstege expressing our thanks at what God has given to us in the sister church relationship. Synod sang Ps. #371 and Prof. Gritters offered a prayer of thanksgiving.

One of the main issues this synod must consider is Psalter revision. Two things to note here:

  • Synod considered the protest of Mr. Peter Vander Schaaf who protested the decision of Synod 2017, Article 82, in which synod instructed the Contact Committee “to poll our consistories in order to gauge denominational support for the project of Psalter revision…” After careful consideration and a lengthy discussion, the brother’s protest was not sustained.
  • Then synod discussed a recommendation of the pre-advice committee regarding the work of Psalter revision. After a lengthy discussion, synod decided to recommit the matter to the committee for reformulation. Synod anticipates treating this matter Friday morning.

Synod dealt with a few other matters this afternoon:

  • Synod considered matters dealing with domestic missions. Synod approved the budget and expressed its thanks to Rev. and Alva Spriensma and to Byron Center PRC for for their faithful work and assured them of our prayers for God’s blessing upon their labors.
  • Synod expressed its thanks to Chuck Terpstra for his work of overseeing our denominational website, and thanked Luke Bomers, Brad Kamminga, and Alex Postma for their help with the website and the denominational app.
  • Finally, synod treated a few recommendations from the catechism book committee. Synod appointed Prof. Cammenga and Rev. den Hartog jointly to compile a different memory work schedule for the Juniors and Seniors curriculum and approved the work of the catechism book committee.

LTrinidad 3

Rev. Leovy Trinidad also gave greetings to synod, in this case, on behalf of the PRC in the Philippines, the newest "sister" of the PRCA.

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