Classis East Meeting - January 10, 2024 at Hope PRC

HopePRC Walker

Classis East Report - January 10, 2024

The delegates of the nineteen churches of Classis East of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America met at Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Walker, MI on January 10, 2024. Rev. David Noorman (Southwest PRC), chairman of the September 2023 meeting, led opening devotions by reading 1Thessalonians 5 and opening with prayer. After all of the delegates were seated, Rev. Justin Smidstra (First PRC of Holland, MI) presided as chairman for the rest of the meeting.

Morning Session

After Rev. Smidstra assumed the chair, three elders, who served for the first time at classis, signed the Formula of Subscription. The transcription of the minutes of the September 23, 2023 meeting was approved. The questions of Article 41 of the Church Order were asked and answered. Approval was given to the work of the Stated Clerk, the Classical Committee, and the Church Visitors after they read their reports.

In closed session classis treated a request from a consistory for advice regarding the discipline of a baptized member of their congregation. Classis advised the consistory to erase the baptized member who, not heeding the repeated admonitions of the elders, continues walking in sin.

The chairman appointed five committees of pre-advice and then declared that classis was in recess so that the committees could get to work.

The Hope kitchen committee provided lunch for the delegates.

Afternoon Session

Elder Brad Dykstra (Unity PRC) began the afternoon session by reading Psalm 25:1-5 and opening with prayer.

Now we need to introduce committee one. The chairman appointed Rev. Noorman (Southwest), Rev. J. Holstege (First, Grand Rapids), Rev. Maatman (Southeast) and elders Jon Lubbers (Byron Center), Murray Geertsma (Wingham), and Josh Hoekstra (Hudsonville) to the committee. He tasked the committee with preparing advice in response to seven protests. To read these protests login to the bulletin page on and open the Classis East file.

The first task of the committee was to provide classis with advice on whether the protests were legally before classis. The committee recommended that classis declare the protests legal. Classis approved the recommendation of the committee. One part of one of the protests regarding how the Stated Clerk made decisions public after the September 2023 meeting was declared not legal. If the protests were declared illegal, committee one’s work would have been concluded. However, since classis declared the protests legal, committee one’s mandate is to provide classis with advice on around 200 pages of material appearing in the agenda!

Before breaking so that committee one could get to work, classis treated advice from committee two regarding an appeal. Serving classis on committee 2 were the Revs. Lee (Kalamazoo), McGeown (Providence), and Decker (Grandville), and Elders Pete VanderSchaaf (Faith), Titus Mahtani (Pittsburgh), and Don Kuiper (Southeast). Committee two was tasked with providing classis with advice regarding a sexual abuse case. Deliberations on the appeal took place in closed session. The appeal asked classis to judge that a consistory erred in judging that the sins of sexual abuse committed in this case were private. The appeal asked that classis judge that the sins “are a public matter.” Committee two recommended that the appeal be declared legal, and classis adopted the recommendation. Therefore, committee two, along with committee one, had more work to do in preparing advice on whether or not classis should sustain the appeal.

Revs. Langerak (Trinity) and Daniel Holstege (Wingham) and Elders Ed Tolsma (Pittsburgh) and Mark Vanden Berg (First, Holland) were appointed to committee three. They were tasked with proposing a schedule appointing the ministers of Classis East to preach for the vacant congregations in the classis—Georgetown, Hudsonville, and Pittsburgh. Classis adopted the schedule they presented and then recessed the rest of the afternoon so the committees could continue to work.

The Hope kitchen committee provided supper for the delegates.

Evening Session

Elder Randy Dykstra (Zion) opened the evening session with prayer.

Committee two recommended that classis sustain the appeal which asked classis to judge that the sins of sexual abuse that were reported “are a public matter.” Classis made a significant decision, that took into account previous decisions of Classis East and West, judging that “the nature of the sin” makes it necessary for “the name of the abuser and the sin” to “be made public to the congregation.” This decision reminds us to pray for victims and survivors of sexual abuse—may they be properly cared for by the church of Jesus Christ; for abusers to be stopped in their way of sin and called to broken-hearted repentance; and for consistories that God grant them His wisdom and strength in responding to abuse.

Committee four was tasked with providing advice on the subsidy requests of needy churches. Revs. Eriks (Unity) and Mahtani (Hope, Walker) and Elders Randy Dykstra (Zion) and Dowie VanderShcaaf (Providence) served on committee four. Classis approved subsidy for Kalamazoo in the amount of $50,000, Pittsburgh in the amount of $37,200 (without a pastor) and $89,700 (with a pastor), and Providence in the amount of $51,000 for 2025. These
decisions will be forwarded to Synod 2024 for its approval.

Election Results

Synodical Delegates for Synod 2024: Primi elders: Rick Gritters (Trinity), Josh Hoekstra (Hudsonville), Steve Kuiper (Southwest), Jon Lubbers (Byron Center), John VanBaren (Hudsonville). Secundi elders: Brad Bruinsma (Grandville), Terry Dykstra (Trinity), Ken Engelsma (Hope), Dave Langerak (Byron Center), Dave Rau (Southwest). Primi Ministers: Revs. Decker, Eriks, Langerak, Mahtani, Spronk. Secundi Ministers: Prof. Dykstra, Revs. D. Holstege, Lee, Noorman, Smidstra.

Synodical Deputies from the east (three-year term): Primi: Rev. Lee; Secundi: Rev. McGeown.

Classical Committee (three-year term): Rev. Lee

Church Visitors for 2024: Prof. Dykstra and Rev. Eriks with the alternates of Revs. Decker, Langerak, and Mahtani.


Committee one recommended that classis recess until 8:00am on February 8, 2024 so that it could have more time to formulate advice in response to the seven protests. Classis adopted the recommendation, and Rev. Smidstra closed the meeting with prayer. May God be with the members of committee one as they work on advice to present on February 8.

Rev. Clayton Spronk
Stated Clerk, Classis East

Note: For a pdf of this report, use this link.

Classis West Meeting - September 27, 2023 - Official Report Added


Classis West held its regular meeting Wednesday, September 27, 2023 in Crete PRC (Illinois).

Matt Koerner exam Sept 27 2023 1

The main item on the agenda is the examination of Pastor-elect Matthew Koerner (2023 PRC Seminary graduate), who has accepted the call to Hosanna PRC in Edmonton, AB, Canada. Last evening he gave his specimen sermon before the delegates of Classis West and Crete PRC in a worship service. This morning Classis approved that sermon and proceeded to his examination in theology, Bible knowledge, confessions, and practica.

Rev JMarcus chair CW exam MKoerner
Rev. J. Marcus, chair of Classis, asking for any further questions from the delegates

Rev MKortus exam MKoerner
Rev. M. Kortus questioning Matt K in the doctrine of the church

Classis West has approved Pastor-elect Matt Koerner's examination and advised Hosanna PRC to proceed with his ordination. We rejoice with the brother and his wife in God's goodness and grace in this successful examination. May He continue to bless them as they anticipate his ordination and installation in Hosanna PRC.

Rev JMarcus chair CW exam MKoerner final

Rev. J. Marcus informing Pastor-elect M. Koerner and his wife Sharon of Classis' approval of his examination.

Matt Sharon Koerner CW diploma Sept27 2023
Matt and Sharon Koerner with his classical diploma

Yesterday (Tuesday, Sept.26) Classis West held an officebearers' conference on "Abuse in Our Churches and the Proper Response." A good number of officebearers and members attended, including the faculty and students from the PRC Seminary.


News Report of Classis West of the PRCA

Meeting September 27, 2023

Classis West of the Protestant Reformed Churches met on September 27, 2023, in Crete (IL) PRC. The Crete congregation did a fine job of hosting the delegates.

The day before the meeting, an officebearers’ conference was held on the timely subject of “Sexual Abuse in our Churches and the Proper Response.” Prof. Cory Griess spoke first on “The Consistory’s Response to Sexual Abuse,” and Prof. Russell Dykstra spoke next on “Repentance and Reconciliation of the Abuser.” The conference concluded with a roundtable discussion among pastors, elders, and professors in which they talked about various questions and challenges they face in working through cases of sexual abuse.

Delegated to Classis were 25 men (8 ministers and 17 elders), and they were joined by three synodical deputies from Classis East. A number of visitors were also present, including junior high and high school students from the area Protestant Reformed school. By alphabetical rotation, Rev. J. Marcus chaired the meeting.

Two elders signed the Formula of Subscription as first time delegates to Classis, the minutes of the previous meeting of Classis were approved, and the questions of Article 41 of the Church Order were asked and satisfactorily answered by the consistories.

The highlight of the meeting was the examination of Pastor-elect Matthew Koerner, who had accepted the call to serve as pastor of Hosanna PRC (Edmonton). The night before Classis convened, the delegates gathered with the Crete congregation to worship God and to hear the specimen sermon of Mr. Koerner. He preached on Psalm 34:1-3 and displayed clearly the gifts that God has entrusted to him for the proclamation of the gospel. The majority of the morning of Classis was taken up with the joyful work of examining Mr. Koerner in theology, knowledge of Scripture and the Reformed confessions, controversy, and practica.  Throughout the exam the brother gave a good account of the intellectual and spiritual gifts necessary for the ministry. Classis unanimously approved his examination, and the synodical deputies from Classis East heartily concurred. The brother plans to be ordained and installed into the ministry in the next few months. We give thanks to the Lord of the harvest for supplying our churches with another faithful laborer!

After the conclusion of the exam, Classis heard regular reports from the stated clerk, classical committee, and reading sermon library committee and approved their work.

The church visitors of Classis reported on their work with the saints of Covenant of Grace PRC (Spokane, WA) after the resignation of office and departure from the denomination of their pastor and two of their three other officebearers. Classis approved the work of the church visitors regarding this case and thanked them for their timely response to the situation. Classis also asked the consistory of Loveland PRC, which has taken oversight of the saints in Spokane, to bring a recommendation to the next meeting of Classis regarding the viability of a congregation in Spokane and the path forward for the saints there. Finally, Classis communicated to the saints in Spokane its continued love, care, and support for them.

In closed session, Classis treated the report of a special committee assigned by Classis in March to help a consistory regarding a case of sexual abuse. Classis approved the work of the special committee up to this point, and gave further mandates to the special committee as to their work with the consistory going forward.

Classis made a schedule of pulpit supply through March of 2024 for the vacant congregations of Loveland (CO) PRC, Lynden (WA) PRC, and Randolph (WI) PRC.

The expenses of this meeting totaled $11,174.59.

Classis finished its work by about 5:00 PM.

Classis West will meet next in Randolph (WI) PRC on March 6, 2024, the Lord willing.

Rev. Joshua Engelsma

Stated Clerk, Classis West

Classis East Report - Sept.13, 2023 & October 25, 2023

TrinityPRC new sanctuary 2018

Classis East of the Protestant Reformed Churches Update

Classis East convened Wednesday morning, September 13, 2023 at Trinity Protestant Reformed Church. Rev. M. McGeown opened with prayer and read the names of the thirty-eight delegates from the nineteen member churches. After the roll call, Rev. David Noorman assumed the position as chairman of the meeting (photo below).


Rev. Wilbur Bruinsma (photos below with his wife Mary) submitted a request to classis for emeritation (retirement) to be effective January 1, 2024. Classis approved his request and by motion expressed its heartfelt thanks to Rev. Bruinsma (and his wife Mary) for making faithful use of his God-given talents for almost 45 years as pastor and missionary. Classis sang the doxology and offered up a prayer of thanksgiving for the work of Rev. Bruinsma led by Rev. Eriks. We pray that God will bless Rev. and Mary Bruinsma in their remaining months in the active ministry and that He will continue to use them for service in the church in new ways in the years to come.

Haak Bruinsma CE Sept 2023

Bruinsma CE Sept 2023

Classis adopted a pulpit supply schedule for three vacant congregations: Georgetown, Hudsonville, and Zion PRCs.

Classis treated an appeal Mr. Pete VanderSchaaf and declared it legal. Therefore this appeal is now available for non-officebearers to read. For more information login to and navigate to the bulletin page where you will find a folder for Classis East. When you open the Classis East folder you should be able to open the appeal under the name “Appeal of Pete VDS Sept 2023.” Due to the complexity of this case, Classis East decided to give the committee of pre-advice a month to prepare its advice. Classis will reconvene October 25 to consider the appeal. We pray for God’s blessing on the committee in their work.

Some of the work of classis was treated in closed session.

  • Two consistories came to classis asking for advice regarding the discipline of impenitent members of their congregations. The consistories reported to the classis on their work with the individuals who are walking in sin. After taking time to ask the consistories follow-up questions about their work, classis advised each consistory to proceed in their discipline of these members. May God use their work for the recovery of these members.
  • Classis heard and deliberated on a report of a Special Committee to assist a consistory with a sensitive matter.
  • Classis deliberated on the legality of an appeal in closed session. Classis declared the appeal illegal and provided the appellant with advice on how to move forward with the case.

At around 5:00pm classis approved a motion to “recess until October 25.” Rev. Noorman read Hebrews 13:20-21 and closed the session with prayer.

In Christ’s service,

Rev. C. Spronk, Stated Clerk

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21)


Report of the continued session of October 25, 2023

Classis East reconvened on Wednesday, October 25, with the 38 delegates meeting at Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Rev. Noorman continued to lead the meeting as chairman.

Classis East heard reports from two committees (a special committee to help a consistory with an abuse case, and the Classical Committee). The main work of the classis was to treat an appeal that contended that a consistory erred in judgments made about the writings of one of our ministers. One of the decisions of classis requires that the consistory involved give information to its congregation. To give the consistory some time to receive and respond to the decisions of Classis East, the Stated Clerk of Classis East plans to wait awhile before publishing the information publicly. When it is time to make the information available, it will be published at

The expenses of the meeting totaled $4,891.36.

Classis East plans to meet again on January 10, 2024 at Hope PRC in Walker, MI.

At around 2:00pm classis adjourned and Rev. Noorman closed the meeting with prayer.


For the public minutes, click on this link.

PRC Synod 2023 - Day 5 - Monday, June 19


The PRC Synod of 2023 met at Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI) for a fifth day this Monday, June 19.

Below is the report of the second clerk of synod, and attached is the specific decision of synod with regard to a third-party investigation (in your browser click on the title to this news post and it will take you to the attachment download at the bottom of that specific page).

Day 5 Report

The first matter synod treated today was a recommendation to express sorrow to females abused by a former pastor in the denomination. A letter was adopted to be distributed through each consistory of the PRCA to the congregations. The letter expresses sorrow that the former pastor, representing the church in his work, used his position to abuse sheep and cause them great anguish. It also acknowledges and apologizes for the neglect of the broader assemblies of the PRCA in not expressing this sorrow sooner. The letter closes stating: We are broken for you, sisters.  We, as well as our churches, pray for you and for your healing.  Know that the Good Shepherd loves and cares for you, His wounded and hurting sheep.  Be assured that the all-sufficient Savior, who died for you, rose again, and ascended into heaven, will provide for all your needs. “The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.  And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee” (Psalm 9:9-10).

The rest of the morning session and a good part of the afternoon was spent deliberating on a recommendation to approve “the substance of an overture from Providence PRC to hire a third-party organization to investigate sexual abuse in the PRCA.” The recommendation carefully outlined the scope, the implementation, the reporting, the mutual accountability, the hiring, and the financing of the work of the investigation. Synod adopted the recommendation on the basis of three grounds: 

  1. It is wise to conduct a denomination-wide investigation into the matter of sexual abuse on account of the nature of the sin and its prevalence in our churches. 
  2. It is wise to engage a third-party organization to conduct such a denomination-wide investigation. 
  3. Hiring a third-party organization to conduct a denomination-wide investigation in the manner outlined above is consistent with our Reformed system of church government.

An ad-hoc committee was appointed to hire and liaise with a third-party organization for the investigation into sexual abuse in the PRCA.


Synod treated a recommendation to approve the overture of Zion PRC “to appoint a study committee to develop the proper biblical, confessional, and theological groundwork that could be used in the local congregations to guide them in understanding and addressing the evil of abuse.” Synod appointed six men to this committee.


At the end of the day Synod adopted several motions presented by Committee 5. The highlights include:

  1. Approving subsidy requests for Covenant of Grace, Heritage, Hosanna, Immanuel, Kalamazoo, Lynden, Pittsburgh, and Providence PRCs. 
  2. Thanking Mr. Doug Mingerink for his faithful work as the Stated Clerk of Synod. 
  3. Authorizing the reimbursement of the expenses for the meeting of synod totaling $6,138.28.
  4. Setting the synodical assessments, based on a family count of 2,120 families in 2024, at $600. 
  5. Appointing Trinity PRC as the host of Synod 2024 to convene on June 11 at 8:00am. Seminarian Arend Haveman is a member of Trinity and, the Lord willing, will be examined at Synod 2024. 


Synod adjourned around 6:50pm. Rev. Eriks closed with prayer. 


May the decisions of synod be to the honor of our God and welfare of our churches. 


On behalf of Synod,

Rev. C. Spronk, 2nd Clerk


PRC Synod 2023 - Day 4 - Friday, June 16

SW PRC 2012

After a wonderful commencement-celebration program of a new PRC Seminary graduate last evening (Candidate Matt Koerner), Synod returns to its work this morning at Southwest PRC, considering reports from its committees of preadvice.

sem grad GE MK RC

grad crowd

Look for the daily end-of-day report later today.

Day 4 Report - Friday Morning June 16, 2023


Since we are breaking until 2:00pm for committees to work, it seemed good to do a morning report on the activities of synod today. 


The work of synod began today with treating the report of the Foreign Mission Committee (FMC). We are thankful for the labors of Elders Perry Van Egdom, Doug Brands, Brian Gritters, Mike Van Bemmel, and Ed Van Egdom, and Revs. De Boer, Barnhill, and J. Laning on the FMC in the last year. The advice submitted was recommitted. Synod will likely consider the reformulated advice this afternoon. 

RSmit address
Rev. R. Smit speaking on foreign missions in the Philippines (recently returned to the States)


Synod also recommitted advice regarding a protest in order to add grounds. The reformulated advice will also likely be treated this afternoon. 


Synod treated the report of the Board of Trustees (BOT). The BOT members in the past year include: Nick Kleyn, Don Offringa (synodical treasurer), Doug Mingerink (synodical clerk), Sid Mideama (president of the BOT), Dirk Westra (asst. synodical clerk), Tom Holstege (asst. synodical treasurer), and Revs. Eriks and Langerak. 


Synod approved several recommendations of the BOT regarding the corporate restructuring of the PRCA. Presently the PRCA is incorporated in the state of Illinois, but the denominational offices are in Michigan. Synod adopted the recommendation to reincorporate in the state of Michigan. A recommendation to change the name of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America (PRCA) to the Protestant Reformed Churches in North America (PRCNA) failed. 


The BOT reported on work that it is doing with Hosanna PRC of Edmonton AB to resolve a conflict with a group that continues to use the name of Protestant Reformed even though it is has left our denomination.


Synod approved the recommendations of the Emeritus Committee for the financial support of sixteen ministers/widows of ministers. Synod also approved the recommendation to increase the amount of “no questions asked” funds for retired ministers to $28,000 for 2025. Synod expressed thanks to Brian Gritters, Chester Hunter, and Ed VanEgdom for their work on the committee in the past year. 


Synod thanked Don Offringa and Pamela Bos for their work as the synodical treasurer and bookkeeper.


Synod thanked Rev. Barnhill, Rev. Carl Haak, Mr. Terry Dykstra, Mr. Dan VanUffelen, Mr. Bert Wories, and Prof. Gritters for their work on the 100th Anniversary Committee. This committee has been disbanded because a new steering committee has now been appointed synod. 


The synodical deputies of Classis East reported that it concurred with Classis West in September of 2022 to approve the retirement of Rev. Key. Synod approved of this work of the synodical deputies.


Synod received a report of work the Catechism Book Committee is doing to revise the Juniors and Seniors curriculum. Synod decided to postpone approval of the work until 2024 and thanked the committee for its work. 


Synod approved the work of the Student Aid committee in providing assistance to seminary students. The churches are asked to take one collection for student assistance in 2024.  We thank the committee of John DeVries, Brandon VanOverloop, Jon VanOverloop, Steve Bylsma, and Brian Kalsbeek for their work. 


On behalf of synod,
Rev. C. Spronk, 2nd Clerk 

Friday Afternoon June 16, 2023


Synod returned to the report of the FMC regarding mission work in the Philippines. Approval was given to the “decision of Doon PRC’s council and the FMC to begin the process of withdrawing the missionaries.” The FMC and Council of Doon were directed by synod to “close the mission field in the Philippines and take necessary steps to bring the work to completion.” The FMC and Doon’s council were also instructed to “write up an evaluation of their work in the Philippines, including especially what can be learned from it both positively and negatively for future mission work, and present this as a report to Synod 2024. Ground: It is important that we remember our history and learn from our previous experiences. Such an evaluation will help facilitate this.” The PRCA desires to help our sister churches in the Philippines and adopted a recommendation to “instruct the Contact Committee to consider offering assistance to the PRCP in the form of visiting ministers providing pulpit supply.” Synod expressed thanks to the FMC, Doon PRC, and current and past missionaries (and their wives) involved in the work: Revs. Spriensma, D. Holstege, Smit, D. Kleyn.”


Hope PRC continues to work with Rev. Titus and saints in Myanmar, and Georgetown PRC continues to work with Pastor Paulraj and saints in India. Synod approved the work of the FMC with Hope and Georgetown, and we pray that God will continue to preserve and bless the saints in Myanmar and India with whom we have fellowship in the Lord.


Prof. Huizinga read a letter informing synod of his acceptance of the decision to reappoint him as Professor of Dogmatics and Old Testament Studies for a 3-year term. He also asked for prayers for himself and his colleagues in the seminary.


The one protest submitted to Synod this year was declared legally before it. Synod sustained the protest. In January of 2022 the Synodical Deputies from the West concurred with the decision of Classis East to approve the deposition of a minister. They reported their action of concurring with Classis East’s decision to Synod 2022. The protest contended that the error of Synod 2022 was that it approved the work of the Synodical Deputies without receiving or reviewing the grounds for the deposition of the minister. Synod agreed with the protest and declared that “Synod 2022 erred in approving the report of the synodical deputies of Classis West regarding the deposition of [the former pastor] without background material, decision, and grounds of Classis East.” The information was submitted and received into the records of synod. A portion of the advice regarding the protest was recommitted for reformulation.


Synod recessed at 5:00pm and will reconvene Monday at 8:00am. 


We thank SW PRC (especially the caterers!) for hosting synod this week and look forward to enjoying their hospitality again Monday.


On behalf of Synod,
Rev. C. Spronk, 2nd Clerk

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