Church Government

Synod 2018 (Byron Center PRC, MI) - June 12 - 15, 2018

News items on the PRC meetings of the Synod of 2018, held at Byron Center PRC beginning Tuesday, June 12.

byroncentrePRC

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 5 - Monday, June 18

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

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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

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

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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.

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

Delegates candid 2

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

PRC Synod 2018 - Day 2 (Wednesday) at Adams Christian School

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The PRC Synod 2018 resumed its work Wednesday morning, June 13, at 8 AM at Adams Christian School.

delegates wed am 1

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:

Synod treated the recommendations of Committee 1 through the morning. The following are
some of the decisions made regarding our seminary.
• It was noted that Matt Kortus and Jacob Maatman are in their third year of study at the
seminary and will begin their internships this summer. Josiah Tan, a student from
Singapore, finished his second year of study.
• Synod admitted another student into our seminary, Mr. Marcus Wee, a young man from
Singapore, beginning with the fall semester in 2018.
• Synod approved an addition and remodel to the seminary at an estimated cost of $451,600.
• Our seminary has never been authorized to grant a degree to those who graduate. Synod
approved the activity of the Theological School Committee to seek approval from the state
of Michigan to be recognized as a degree-granting institution.
• Synod also noted that Mr. Jon Huisken has served as our archivist for over 30 years and
gave thanks for his work now that he is retiring from this position.
• Synod expressed appreciation to Professors Cammenga, Dykstra, Gritters, and Kuiper, and
to Charles Terpstra and Judi Doezema for all their work in our seminary.
• Noting the urgent need for pastors and missionaries in our churches, synod decided to
“urge the churches and the pastors in particular in their public prayers to pray the Lord of
the harvest for able, faithful, devoted pastors and teachers for us and our children, as well
as for the gathering of the elect out of the nations (Matt. 28:19).”

Synod made the following decisions regarding Foreign Missions:
• Rev. Holstege, one of missionaries in the Philippines, addressed synod today, expressing
the his joy and gratitude laboring as the Lord’s servant in the work of missions in the
Philippines. He highlighted some of the recent developments on the field and thanked the
synod and churches for their generous and willing support of the missionaries and their
families.
• Synod expressed appreciation for the work of the Foreign Mission Committee, the Doon
Council, and to the missionaries, Rev. Holstege, Rev. Kleyn, Rev. Smit and their families, for
their work in the Philippines.
• Synod approved financial support for the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines
for 2019 in the amount of about $15,000. Synod also approved a budget of about $406,000
for mission work in the Philippines.
• At the request of the FMC, synod approved going Rev. and Sharon Kleyn a 4-6 month
furlough in 2019, for the main purpose of missionary development, which would include
taking a missions class, if possible, and reading in missions.
• Because of the many issues that have arisen with providing financial assistance in foreign
lands, synod mandated the Foreign Mission Committee to come to Synod 2019 with
guidelines for giving financial assistance in foreign lands.

Synod treated the legality of the protests and appeal in the agenda. The appeal and all of the
protests were declared legally before synod.

Synod decided to recess for the rest of the day so that committees of pre-advice may
continue to work. Synod will begin again at 8:00am Thursday morning.

DHolstege address 2b
Missionary-pastor to the Philippines Daniel Holstege, here on furlough, addressed Synod on behalf of the Foreign Mission Committee and Doon PRC, the calling church.

A valuable service to synod that can easily be overlooked is the sound system set up and run by Joel Van Oostenbrugge of our Grace PRC. Thanks for your work, Joel!

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PRC Synod 2018 - Day 1 (Tuesday) at Adams Christian School *(Updated)

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The PRC Synod of 2018 began its work on Tuesday, June 12 at 8 AM. Though Byron Center PRC is the calling church for this year's body, the delegates are meeting at Adams Christian School in Wyoming (main meetings are in the gym). 

SKey devotions

This morning Rev. S. Key, last year's president, opened the meeting with devotions and led synod in its initial task of electing new officers.

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Rev. Ronald Van Overloop (pastor of Grace PRC in Grand Rapids, MI) was elected president, with Rev. James Laning (Hull IA PRC) elected as vice-president, and Revs. Clay Spronk and Gary Eriks chosen as first and second clerks respectively. The new president addressed synod, thanking them for appointing him, asking them for their cooperation, and desiring their prayers as synod conducts her work.

delegates assent

The delegates then arose while the president read the "Public Declaration of Agreement with the Three Forms of Unity," to which all the men expressed agreement.

Synod adopted the report of her Committee on committees as follows:

Committtee layout

Synod then recessed for the day, as the five committees went to work on their assigned business.

Synod will reconvene Wednesday morning, June 13, at 8 AM at Adams Christian School, taking up the report of Committee One first.

Comm1
Committee One: Elder P. Vander Schaaf, Rev. J. Laning, Prof. D. Kuiper, Elder H. Ferguson, and Rev. G. Eriks

Comm2
Committee Two: Rev. S. Key, Elder J. Regnerus, Rev. C. Haak, (with special guests Rev. L. Trinidad from the PRC in the Philippines and Elder Leong Fai Chong from Covenant ERC in Singapore), Elder H. Pastoor, Prof. R. Cammenga

Comm3
Committee Three: Elder A. Meuer, Rev. W. Langerak, Rev. R. Kleyn, Prof. B. Gritters, Elder G. Kaptein

Comm4
Committee Four: Prof. R. Dykstra, Rev. C. Spronk, Elder J. Lanting, Elder H. Goosen, Rev. B. Huizinga

Comm5
Committee Five: Rev. R. Van Overloop, Rev. N. Langerak, Elder G. Feenstra, Elder P. Adams

PRC Synod 2018 - Pre-Synodical Service - Monday, June 11 *(Updated)

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Synod 2018 announcement: Synod 2017 appointed Byron Center PRC the calling church for the 2018 Synod. Synod will convene, D.V., THIS Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 8:00 a.m., in the gymnasium of Adams Christian School (please note the change of venue from the announcement in the May 1 Standard Bearer).

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The Pre-synodical Service will be held on Monday evening, June 11, at 7:00 p.m. at Byron Center PRC (please note that the pre-synodical service and the meetings of synod will be held in different venues), with Rev. S. Key leading the service and ministering the Word (president of last year's synod).

The service will be live-streamed on Byron Center PRC's Sermonaudio channel.

UPDATE: *You may now find the sermon in the audio sermon section of the PRC website.

Let us remember to pray for the delegates as they take up the work of the churches this week. May the Spirit of Jesus Christ guide all the discussions and deliberations, so that the decisions reached are according to His Word and bring honor to the Head of the church.

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