May 2023 Classis East Report
Classis East convened Wednesday May 10, 2023 at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI. Rev. McGeown served as chairman. Eight elders served at classis for the first time and signed the Formula of Subscription, a vow to uphold the teaching of Scripture summarized in the Reformed Confessions.
The routine matters treated by classis included approving the work of its Stated Clerk and Classical Committee (this committee does work on behalf of classis when classis is not in session). A schedule for classical appointments for Georgetown, Hudsonville, and Zion PRCs was adopted. The expenses for the meeting of $3,065 were approved.
Classis appointed two moderators for churches that currently do not have pastors, Rev. McGeown for Zion, and Prof. Dykstra for Georgetown.
One consistory requested the advice of classis regarding a discipline case. The elders representing the consistory summarized the work done with a member walking impenitently in sin. Classis advised the consistory to proceed in its work of discipline and announce the name of the impenitent member to the congregation (Article 77 of the Church Order). This matter was treated in closed session.
Classis treated one appeal of an individual against a consistory regarding a sensitive matter in closed session. Classis upheld the appeal and directed a previously appointed special committee of classis to continue to assist the consistory in working with the individual.
Classis treated seven protests against a decision taken in March not to approve of the overture of Providence PRC, which overture proposes that synod hire an independent third party to investigate the incidents of child sexual abuse in the PRCA. In January of 2023 classis appointed a committee to look further into certain matters and bring a recommendation to classis in March. The committee was divided and presented a majority and minority report. Classis adopted the majority report that recommended that classis not approve the overture. Two of the seven protests contended that classis should have rejected the majority report and declared that it did not fulfill the mandate given to it by classis in January. Classis did not sustain the protests on this point. Six of the protests argued that the four grounds of the majority report adopted by classis were erroneous. Classis sustained these protests. Classis then approved a recommendation to “inform synod that it erred in adopting the four grounds of the majority report and forward the…decision to Synod 2023.” Classis did not treat requests to approve the overture of Providence PRC since the overture has been submitted for the consideration of synod in June. A motion to acknowledge and apologize for any harm done to victims of abuse and their families caused by the March decision failed.
Trinity PRC will host the next meeting of Classis East on September 13, 2023.
Pastor Clayton Spronk
Stated Clerk, Classis East
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