Church Government

Synod 2015

Annual PRC Synod to meet at Faith PRC, Jenison, MI, June 9 - 12, 2015.

July 2015 "Standard Bearer" - Annual PRC Synod Issue

The July 2015 issue of The Standard Bearer is the annual special PRC Synod issue, with special pictures and an editorial summarizing the work and decisions of the Synod (done by Prof.R. Dykstra this year).

Since that issue has now been published, we may post here the cover and one page of pictures. If you wish to receive this issue or to subscribe to the "SB", contact the RFPA at the link above.

SB July 2015 Synod Issue

For more information on this year's PRC Synod, visit this page.

SB July 2015 Synod Issue 2

Synod 2015: Day Four - Summary of Final Decisions


The PRC Synod completed its work on Friday, June 12, 2015. Below is a summary which the 2nd clerk, Rev.A.Brummel, put together for information.

For a complete record of Synod 2015's decisions look for the published Acts of Synod in the next few months.

Synod treated an appeal against a decision of Classis East regarding the timing of the Prayer Day service. Synod did not sustain the appeal, but maintained the decision of Classis East which stated that a consistory did not err in scheduling a day different than the 2nd Sunday in March for their prayer day service. The date of Prayer Day is not established by the Church Order nor any decision of our churches.

More Contact Committee Matters: Synod approved the CC once again sending visitors to NAPARC and granted them an extended deadline regarding the mandate of Synod 2014 “to study and recommend what guidelines synod would follow to determine whether and how to participate in an ecumenical council of churches.” Synod approved the request of the CC to send a delegation to Namibia and South Africa in 2016 in response to an invitation from two consistories. Synod referred the matter of the Free Reformed Church Publication Committee request that we appoint three men to an interdenominational Psalter Revision Committee back to the CC to bring a detailed, grounded recommendation to Synod 2016. In the interim synod authorized the CC to appoint 3 delegates to attend the meetings making clear that our involvement is on an interim basis, and report this committee’s work to Synod 2016.

Synod approved an exception to the By-Laws of the PRC regarding the division between Classes (VI.B) by allowing Peace PRC the right to remain in Classis West should the congregation move across the Classical boundary into Indiana in the future.

Synod expressed itself in favor of some formatting changes to the catechism books and declared that the implementation of those changes belongs to the work of the Stated Clerk, not the Catechism Book Committee, instructing the CBC to make the Stated Clerk aware of inconsistences in uniformity.

Synod noted that the sale of the parsonage in NI has been finalized.

Synod expressed deep gratitude to God and presented plaques of tributes of thanksgiving for Mr. David Ondersma (13 years as treasurer) and Mr. Don Doezema (20 years as stated clerk), both of whom are retiring from their respective positions after synod.

All the emeritation requests were approved as were the subsidy requests after careful evaluation. The work of the Student Aid Committee was approved.

Hope PRC- Walker, MI was informed that synod did not need to approve their request for collections from the churches for their Myanmar Fund because they have the right to do this without synod’s approval.

Synod approved a recommendation of the Theological School Committee to begin the transition plan for the replacement of the current faculty in 2017 with subsequent appointments in 2019 and 2021. Approval was given for the relocating of the seminary driveway, resurfacing the parking lot, and bringing in city water. Synod approved the recommendation of the TSC regarding live streaming of student examinations when feasible, reserving for itself the right not to do this any given year. No permanent record will be retained of those exams. Three students were admitted to the seminary for next year- Mr. Matthew Kortus, Mr. Jacob Maatman, and Mr. Darrin Vink. Synod expressed gratitude to the professors and support staff of seminary for their work.

Rev. Van Overloop was elected to replace Mr. Doezema as Stated Clerk and Mr. Doezema agreed to fill the remaining one year term of Rev. Van Overloop’s assistant Stated Clerk position. The position of treasurer will be filled by the assistant treasurer this year while the BOT seeks suitable candidates for the position.

Synodical assessments were slightly raised to $790 for each family in the denomination.

Synod 2016 will be held in Hull, IA.

Synod adjourned Friday at 5:00 pm ET. The chairman, Rev. Key, offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the unity that prevailed during the deliberations of synod and asked God to use the decisions for the good of the church of Jesus Christ.


Synod 2015: Day 3 - Sem.R.Barnhill Sustains Examination & Synod Treats More Committee Reports

After observing Sem. Ryan Barnhill examined in church history (Medieval) by Prof.R.Dykstra and NT history by Prof.R.Cammenga, and then to conclude, in practica by his pastor, Rev.G.Eriks, Synod met in closed session to vote on approving the brother's examination and recommending him as a candidate for the ministry of the Word and sacraments in the PRC.

Synod 2015 ProfRDykstra 1 Synod 2015 RevGEriks 1

This was unanimously done, and the brother was heartily recommended to the churches as a candidate for the gospel ministry. He was declared eligible for a call on July 11, 2015.

Synod 2015 approval CandBarnhill

Rev.S.Key, president of synod 2015, reads Synod's decision to Ryan and Miranda.

Deep thanksgiving to God was expressed in song and prayer for His faithfulness in providing us another man for the ministry.

Synod 2015 post exam 2

The delegates of synod as well as the visitors were then given opportunity to congratulate the new candidate.

synod 2015 congrats RevDKuiper

Congratulations from Rev.D.Kuiper, Cand.Barnhill's mentor during his internship last year.

Synod 2015 congrats RevGEriks

Congratulated by Rev.G.Eriks, the Barnhill's pastor.

Synod 2015 congrats LandBBarnhill

Ryan and Miranda are congratulated by his parents, Les and Bev Barnhill.

The Seminary graduation program for Cand.R.Barnhill will be held this evening in Faith PRC beginning at 7:30 p.m. Prof.R.Cammenga will deliver the address, "The Minister and His Marriage." Afterward there will be an open house for Cand.Barnhill and his family in the church fellowship room. All in the area are invited to attend this event. The graduation will also be live-streamed from Faith's website for the benefit of those who cannot attend. (A copy of the program is attached here in pdf form.) We can now add a few pictures from last evening.

SemGrad 2015 ProfRC

SemGrad 2015 RBarnhillKK

Rev.K.Koole, president of the Theological School Committee presents Cand.R.Barnhill with his diploma.

SemGrad 2015 ProfRDRB

Prof.R.Dykstra, current rector of the PRC Seminary, congratulates graduate R.Barnhill.

Following its work of examining Sem.Barnhill, synod returned to receiving and acting on its committees of pre-advice.

Daily summary report from 2nd clerk of Synod:

Mr. Ryan Barnhill sustained his oral examination before Synod and was declared a candidate eligible for call in the churches on or after July 11, 2015. We rejoice in God’s gift of another candidate for the ministry to the churches.

Synod took up the work of the Board of Trustees and noted that the sale of the parsonage in NI has been finalized. Expressions of deep gratitude to God were given for the faithful labors of Mr. David Ondersma (13 years as treasurer) and Mr. Don Doezema (20 years as stated clerk), both of whom are retiring from their respective positions after synod.

All the emeritation requests were approved as were the subsidy requests after careful evaluation.

Rev. Eriks left synod due to a death in his congregation and Rev. Nathan Decker was seated as his alternative.

Synod treated an appeal against a decision of Classis East regarding the timing of the Prayer Day service. Synod did not sustain the appeal, but maintained the decision of Classis East.

Synod treated the work of the Contact Committee with both the CERC of Singapore and the CPRC of Northern Ireland. Deacon Tang and Deacon Hall addressed synod on behalf of their respective congregations. Synod received a joint letter from the two churches expressing their desire to establish sister church relationship between one another. Synod not only expressed no objections but great joy and thankfulness to God for opening this manifestation of the unity and Catholicity of the church.

Synod approved the work of the CC with the EPC of Australia and approved a 2017 conference to be held in Australia.

Synod also expressed approval of the CC’s work with the BERG and declared that their explanation regarding the differences between the PRCA and the BERG satisfied the requirement of Synod 2014.

Synod will resume labors Friday morning at 8:00 with the expectation of finishing its work tomorrow.

Respectfully Submitted,
Rev. Allen Brummel, second clerk

PRC Synod: Day 2 - Committee Work and Examination of Sem.R.Barnhill

Synod 2015 group 1

As Synod entered its second day of sessions, it was able to start receiving and acting on the reports of its committees of pre-advice this morning (cf. committee pictures below). At 10:00 AM synod turned its attention to the examination of Sem.Ryan Barnhill once again. Today he is being examined in all the loci of Dogmatics by Prof.R.Cammenga. See the full report of the day at the end of this post.

RBarnhill Synod 2015 2 Synod 2015 ProfRCammenga

In connection with the work of Committee I on the Domestic Mission Committee report, Missionary-pastor W.Bruinsma addressed the synod, describing the joys and trials of his mission labors in Pittsburgh, PA and in the eastern U.S.

Synod 2015 RevWBruinsma

Rev.R.Smit, former missionary to the Philippines (before taking a call to First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI in March of this year), answered questions from the synodical delegates relating to the work and needs in the Far East country.

Synod 2015 RevRSmit 1

Below you will find pictures of the five (5) committees of pre-advice for Synod 2015, along with a brief note on what aspect of the work has been delegated to them.

Synod 2015 Comm 1

Committee I - Elder B.Drnek, Prof.R.Cammenga (advisor), Rev.A.Brummel, Elder J.Lenting, Rev.C.Haak - DMC & FMC reports

Synod 2015 Comm2

Committee II - Deacon P.Hall (Covenant PRC, N.Ireland), Rev.J.Laning, Rev.W.Langerak, Elder D.Kregel, Elder S.Hunter, Deacon Tang Yoon Chuan (Covenant ERC, Singapore) - Contact Comm. & Peace PRC request

Synod 2015 Comm3

Committee III - Rev.D.Kuiper, Elder K.Bruinsma, Elder H.Pastoor, Rev.R. Van Overloop - Theological School Comm. and Student Aid

Synod 2015 Comm4

Committee IV - Prof.R.Dykstra (advisor), Rev.R.Kleyn, Rev.K.Koole, Elder J.Regnerus, Elder S.Miedema - Appeal of J.Kalsbeek

Synod 2015 Comm5

Committee V - Elder G.Kuiper, Elder A.Meurer, Rev.G.Eriks, Rev.S.Key - Board of Trustees, Finances, Emeritus Comm., etc.

Synod 2015 Officers 2

And we include another picture of the officers of synod this year - our thanks to Don Doezema for all the photos!

Rev.S.Key, Pres.; Rev.A.Brummel, 2nd clerk; Rev.D.Kuiper, 1st clerk; Rev.C.Haak, Vice-pres.

Daily summary by 2nd clerk of synod:

Synod witnessed the dogmatic section of the examination of Mr. Barnhill today. Mr. Barnhill gave a very good account of his knowledge of Reformed Doctrine demonstrating humility as well as excellently defining the terms and demonstrating the doctrines from Scripture. The remainder of his examination will commence Thursday morning at 8 a.m. which consists of Church History, NT History, and Practica (this will also be live-treamed through Faith PRC's website.). The examination should be finished around 10 a.m., Lord willing.

Synod took up the report of the DMC and approved the work in Pittsburgh thanking Rev. Bruinsma and Southwest PRC for their labors. Rev. Bruinsma was present to speak of the challenges of 17 years of history behind our labors with not much more to show in terms of numbers. He expressed encouragement in seeing a united core group that loves the truth and interacts well with the many visitors they continue to see at worship services and lectures. The DMC and Southwest, along with the Fellowship and missionary believe that God continues to give an open door to the spread of the gospel in the Pittsburgh area. The proposed budget was approved for 2016.

Synod turned to the work of the FMC approving the work in the Philippines. Rev. Smit, previous missionary to the Philippines, was granted permission to speak and spoke of the great need for assisting the PRCP with theological training for their students. We pray that the Lord of the Harvest will equip and prepare men for the work.
Synod approved the work of the FMC regarding Myanmar and India where they are working with Hope PRC and Georgetown PRC with a view to developing new fields of labor in those lands.
Synod approved an overture from the FMC that expands the policy of synod regarding payment for the travel of wives accompanying their husbands on official delegations. Previously men needed to be gone for 4 Sundays and their wives present for at least 14 days in order for their travel to be covered. The new policy places the responsibility on the standing committees to approve coverage on a case by case basis in situations they believe the presence of the wife will be of benefit to the delegation.

Synod plans to take up the work of Committee 4 regarding an Appeal of a decision of Classis East regarding the change of the date of the Annual Prayer Day service on Thursday at 1:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Rev. Allen Brummel

PRC Synod 2015: Day 1 - Sermon & Examination of Sem.R. Barnhill

RevKKoole Pre Synod sermon 2015Last night the pre-synodical worship service was held at Faith PRC, the calling church for this year's synod. Rev.Ken Koole, last year's synodical president, led the service and preached from Genesis 6:8 under the theme, "Noah, One Who Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord." When the sermon is posted, you will find it here on Faith PRC's Sermonaudio page.

Today (Tuesday, June 9) the examination of Sem.Ryan Barnhill begins, with his specimen sermon delivered first. Following the approval of his sermon and exegesis, his examination will continue later today. Prof.B.Gritters will examine him first in the area of church polity and then in the area of OT history (cf. pictures below).

With synod's approval, this part of the exam will also be live-streamed - beginning at 2:30 ET. To watch this part of the examination, check in at this page of Faith PRC's website. If there is nothing on the video, the exam is not taking place yet, or there is a break.

It is our prayer that the Lord will uphold and strengthen Sem. Barnhill as he undergoes this examination.

Daily summary of synod's activities:

The second clerk of Synod provides the following summary of the activities and decisions of Synod for its first day. Even though some of this is covered already above, we include his full summary report here.

Synod convened Tuesday morning at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI. The first order of business was to elect officers with the following results: Rev.Steven Key, President; Rev. Carl Haak, Vice President; Rev. Doug Kuiper Clerk; Rev. Allen Brummel, Second Clerk (cf. picture below).

Synod seated delegates from our sister churches: Deacon Tang Yoon Chuan from the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore and Deacon Philip Hall from the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland.

The examination schedule proposed by the Theological School Committee for Seminarian Ryan Barnhill was approved with the specimen sermon scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Seminarian Barnhill addressed the delegates and a good number of visitors with the theme: "Fear Not, Israel" based on Isaiah 43:1,2. Synod declared the sermon Reformed and edifying and approved proceeding to the rest of the exam, with the sections conducted by Prof.B.Gritters on Church Polity and Old Testament History beginning at 2:30 p.m.

Prof. Gritters, who accepted an invitation to speak for a summer conference of the CERC in Singapore, found out later that the travel arrangements required him to leave for Singapore on Wednesday. The rest of the examination will continue Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. with Prof.R.Cammenga examining Mr. Barnhill in the area of Dogmatics. Synod approved the live streaming of the sermon and the examination from Faith PRC’s website.

Synod recessed for the day and opportunity was given to the committees to begin their pre-advice work. Lord willing, Synod will convene at 8 a.m. Wednesday to begin treatment of Committee 1's pre-advice regarding the work of the Domestic Mission Committee.
Rev. Allen Brummel, Second Clerk

RBarnhill Synod 2015 1

Sem.Ryan Barnhill delivering his sermon before synod.

RBarnhill Synod 2015 2 ProfGritters Synod 2015

Sem.R.Barnhill being examined by Prof.B.Gritters in church polity and OT history.

Synod 2015 Officers

Synod 2015 Officers: Rev.C.Haak, Rev.A.Brummel, Rev.D.Kuiper, Rev.S.Key

PRC Synod 2015 to Convene June 9, 2015


This week Tuesday (June 9-12, 2015) the PRC Synod 2015 will begin it meetings and deliberations at Faith PRC in Jenison, MI. Below you will find the first announcement notifying the churches of this annual meeting and some of the special events connected to it.

Visit this PRC news section next week for daily reports and pictures.

The pre-synodical service will be held on Monday evening, June 8, at 7:00 P.M., in Faith PR Church in Jenison, MI. (Collection will be for the Academy for Reformed Theology in Germany.) Rev. K. Koole, president of Synod 2014, will preach the sermon. This service will be streamed live at Synod convenes Tuesday morning at 8:30 in Faith Church.

Mr. Ryan Barnhill will be examined at this year’s synod. His specimen sermon will be delivered Tuesday morning, beginning at 10:30. Pending synod’s approval, this sermon, as well as the rest of Mr. Barnhill’s examination and his graduation, will also be streamed live at the above-mentioned link. The schedule for the rest of the examination must yet be determined by synod. Those who plan to view the examination online can look for the schedule to be announced at the time of the specimen sermon.

Graduation is planned for Thursday evening, June 11, at 7:30 in Faith Church. Prof. R. Cammenga will deliver the commencement address: “The Minister and His Marriage.”

For a preview article by Prof.R.Dykstra on this meeting of Synod and its work, see this news item on the 2015 synodical agenda.

Pray the Lord of the Harvest… (The Agenda for Synod 2015)

FaithPRC2012The annual PRC Synod is set to meet in Faith PRC, Jenison, MI, June 9-12, 2015. Watch for reports here on the sessions of this broadest assembly of the PRCA at the time of Synod 2015.

This annual preview of the PRCA's Synod of 2015, scheduled to be published in the June 1, 2015 issue of the Standard Bearer, is being posted here on the PRCA website and on the RFPA Blog so that our Standard Bearer subscribers can read the preview in advance to receiving their hard copy subscription.

What follows is Prof.R.Dykstra's editorial on the upcoming PRC Synod 2015.

Pray the Lord of the Harvest… (The Agenda for Synod 2015)

The church belongs to the Lord. God gave His elect to Jesus Christ in eternity, who in time redeemed each member from sin and death. God rewarded Jesus by lifting Him up to be Head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:22). We confess that Jesus gathers, defends and preserves His church throughout history by His Word and Spirit (LD 21, Q. & A. 54).

Thus, whenever the church meets together in her assemblies, she is careful that everything be done in harmony with the Word of Jesus Christ and His Spirit. For the work of the church is the work of Jesus Christ. All the delegates of the Protestant Reformed Synod who meet the week of June 8 in Faith Protestant Reformed Church (Jenison, MI) are conscious that the work is His. This reality is driven home by the fact that the most pressing need in one of the works the Protestant Reformed Churches carry out in common, a need that is at the very heart of Jesus’ command to His church—“go ye into all the world”—only Jesus can fill.

I speak of the need for a missionary to the Philippines. God has called the churches to labor in these islands, given us faithful missionaries, and prospered the work, so that the FMC reports that a denomination of churches has been formed by two congregations that hold to the Reformed confessions and adhere to the same doctrine and walk as the Protestant Reformed Churches! The reports on the work—the FMC, Doon PRC (the calling church), and the missionaries—are overwhelming. The reader is overwhelmed by the work being done, by the opportunities the Lord gives, by the spiritual and theological progress of the believers there, and by the zeal for spreading the gospel in the Philippines.

And, overwhelmed by the need. The need arises because the Lord, the King of the church, has called Rev. Smit, one of the two missionaries, to be the pastor of First Protestant Reformed Church (in Grand Rapids, MI). But the need in the Philippines is unspeakably great—the need for ongoing training of ministers; the need for seminary training; the need for guiding (four) consistories, and classis and classical committees; the need for preaching; the need for one, preferably, two more missionaries. Some of the work must be curtailed; some stopped. Rev. Kleyn cannot do the work of two men. Only the Lord can fill this need.

Pray the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth laborers into His harvest (Matt. 9:38).

With that same conscious dependence on the Lord, may the entire agenda of synod be completed.

The purpose of this editorial is to furnish a brief summary of the agenda (with comments). The report on the Philippines comes from the Foreign Mission Committee, and we take note of only one other item in their report—a significant proposal to revise synodical guidelines for paying the travel cost of “the wives.” The FMC argues convincingly that frequently it is very beneficial for the work of the churches that wives of minister/elder delegations accompany their husbands. Currently the guidelines allow reimbursement for the wife’s travel costs only when the husband is gone for four Sundays or more. The FMC proposes that synod authorize full reimbursement for “the expenses incurred when a wife accompanies her husband on the business of the churches, when the standing committee:

  1. Is convinced of the value of the wives accompanying for that particular trip, considering each trip on a case by case basis, and
  2. Stands ready to defend its decision before synod, if synod should so inquire.

These benefits are real, but difficult to grasp for one who has never gone on such a trip for the churches. The value is not “companionship.” Surely a man can live and survive and work well enough without his wife for a few weeks. Rather, the benefits include her observations and her balanced perspective for the man sent. And on the other hand, as regards the people visited, the value is the encouragement and counsel for the women there. Should synod agree with this change, the committees will need to be honest and wise in implementation. For those worried this will produce exorbitant costs, believe me, all synodical committees are aware that they and the fellow members of their congregation pay the synodical assessments. There is a natural caution about spending the hard-earned money of the people in the pew.

Next, we turn to another vital work of Christ—missions in North America—the Domestic Mission Committee. The only active field of the DMC is in Pittsburgh, PA. Missionary W. Bruinsma reports on the joys and the sorrows of missionary labors, which, he notes, are quite similar to those in established congregations.

Included in the agenda is a special appeal from Rev. Bruinsma for a second missionary to Pittsburgh. He has four main grounds—well fleshed out—for his request. These are (in skeletal form):

  1. His present labor as a pastor in our mission in his area of Pittsburgh (Forest Hills) is a full-time labor, demanding nearly all his time.
  2. There is demonstrable need for additional labors in surrounding areas which he is not able to perform.
  3. The combined efforts of two missionaries would be advantageous to the fellowship and the present missionary.
  4. It would give time to write tracts and study guides for use on the mission field.

The DMC agreed with the principle of two missionaries on a field and with the advantages for this field. The Council of Southwest Protestant Reformed Church, the calling church, disagreed. And the DMC acquiesced to Southwest’s decision.

Admittedly, such a weighty matter must be carefully considered and good grounds provided for the decision produced. While conceding that Southwest’s consistory is in a much better position than the editor to make a wise judgment in this field, I also have to say that the grounds for rejecting Rev. Bruinsma’s request are not overwhelming.

And now to step back a bit, consider that the PRC has money and manpower for a second missionary. The pulpits of all the PRC may well be filled in just a few months. Times are relatively good in the USA, and the PRC are financially able to do more work. Also, consider that a fairly large class is scheduled to graduate from seminary in 2017, D.V.

With as many as nine graduates in two years, we will have a goodly number of graduates with very few openings. What to do? One option is to push ministers in their low to mid-sixties into early retirement. Another far better option is to look for opportunities—that is, pray the Lord of the harvest for open doors.

In Pittsburgh, does not opportunity stare us in the face? We have the opportunity to do work that Rev. Bruinsma is currently not able to do. The concrete advantages to this field are well presented. And add this—this is the opportunity for a younger minister to learn from an experienced missionary by working alongside him for several years. By now, all agree that God has endowed this seasoned missionary (Bruinsma) with wisdom, diligence, zeal, patience, and the ability to work well with consistory, DMC, and mission group. Add to that, he has not only demonstrated his heartfelt commitment to all the truths that the PRC hold dear, but he knows how to teach and preach them in a mission setting. What tremendous profit for a young missionary to learn from him! In my judgment, this is an opportunity that ought not be passed by. My prayer is that the Lord of the harvest will lead synod to agree with Missionary Bruinsma’s request.

The Contact Committee reports their conviction that sister church relations with the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore have never been better. Since the Synod of 2014, CERC called and installed Rev. A. Lanning as her pastor. CERC has welcomed church visitors from the PRC for the second year now, to the benefit of both.

Our relation with Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland is likewise as firm and vibrant as ever. A CC delegation came for official church visitation to CPRC NI in January and visited the mission fellowship in Limerick as well. The report is true oneness and unity among these saints and steadfastness in the Reformed faith. Another sister to be cherished in these last days.

Both of our sister churches are committed to sending representatives to synod—Deacon Tang from CERCS, and Deacon Hall from CPRC NI.

The CC also reports on a conference on the doctrine of God’s covenant held with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Australia in July of 2014. The EPC and the CC propose another conference for 2017.

The CC gives a lengthy report on our contact in Giessen, Germany—the BERG. The CC is fulfilling the mandate of Synod 2014 to “identify in their report to next year’s synod the differences between the BERG and ourselves and what progress has been made in the discussions.” This is a developing contact in the spiritual wasteland of the country of Martin Luther. The report indicates the care with which the CC pursues such contact, subject to synod’s approval and direction.

To the synod of 2014 the CC proposed that they be mandated “to study and recommend what guidelines synod would follow to determine whether and how to participate in an ecumenical council of churches, and report their study to synod.” However, the CC reports that they were not able to complete this, and ask for another year.

The CC requests permission for a follow-up trip to Namibia and South Africa in 2016 in response to invitations received. Details will need to be worked out.

The final point in the CC report is that the Free Reformed Churches and the Heritage Reformed Churches are proceeding with preliminary plans for limited Psalter revision and desire the PRC to join them in this endeavor. Psalter revision is hardly the CC’s area of labor or expertise, and they leave this judgment to synod without recommendation. If synod decides to participate, a more extensive report will be forthcoming.

The Catechism Book Committee returns with a request for reformatting all the catechism material—books and workbooks. It would be quite helpful to synod if they would bring a sample (a finished product) of what they have in mind. They also inform synod that the confessions will soon be available in electronic format free of charge.

The Board of Trustees, in addition to the normal financial reporting, informs synod of the desire of two faithful servants to be replaced. They are the stated clerk, Mr. Don Doezema, and the synodical treasurer, Mr. David Ondersma. Their importance for the smooth and efficient running of the denomination cannot be overstated.

Peace PRC (Lansing, IL) comes with a reasonable request, namely, that if in their search for a new place to build, they find a plot “across the border” in Classis East territory, they be allowed to remain in Classis West.

The Theological School Committee reports on various details—physical and educational—that they oversee. The most important: a qualified graduate is recommended for examination at synod, namely, Ryan Barnhill. They recommend that the exam be shifted a little from the ordinary. If Seminarian Barnhill gives his sermon specimen Tuesday morning (as per usual), then, with synod’s approval, Prof. B. Gritters will examine him in the afternoon in two areas of study. This is recommended because Prof. Gritters is scheduled to speak in the June camp of CERC in Singapore on Monday, June 15. Graduation is scheduled for Thursday, June 11 in Faith PRC. All are welcome to witness the glad event and to hear Prof. R. Cammenga’s address.

The TSC brings a significant report on retirements for the current seminary professors. The current method for replacing professors can be found in the Constitution of the Theological School (found in the PRC’s Church Order Book). The basic provision is that when a professor reaches the age of 65, a replacement is called; subsequently, there is a transition period of up to five years (it has not gone beyond three years to this point). Replacements for the three current professors are scheduled to occur in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Recognizing that such a quick transition is not wise, the TSC brings a proposal to spread out the replacements to 2017, 2019, and 2021. In addition, they desire the transition period to be the full five years.

And there is one appeal to synod. The appeal concerns the church political question of whether a congregation may change the date of a special day set aside by the churches in the church order (in this case Prayer Day), and whether a congregation may do that on its own, that is, without going through classis and synod. Classis East decided that a congregation may. The appeal asks synod to overturn classis’ decision.

This appellant deserves to be heard carefully. I suppose from a certain point of view, all appellants deserve to be heard. But some approach the broader assemblies with rancor; some with sarcasm; some casting about unfounded charges. This appellant wrote carefully, in a most Christian manner. Whether one agrees with him or not, one can appreciate the genuine concern and Christian spirit that his appeal breathes.

The appeal raises an interesting question that deserves a good discussion. On the one hand, the PRC are death to independentism. On the other hand, they have historically and emphatically rejected hierarchy, and the notion that the authority of the synod is higher than that of a congregation. This issue must be worked out between those two extremes.

And the best part is, neither side (whichever Synod adopts) is a denial of Reformed truth. Synod will need to make a judgment as to the proper application of the principles of the church order. But there is no reason for the discussion to be heated or rancorous—though it certainly may be spirited!

There you have the highlights of the agenda. If you can visit, you are most welcome, especially for the examination of Mr. Barnhill. (You can also watch that online, since the examination will be live-streamed from Faith PRC—subject to synod’s approval.)

The purpose of this editorial is, you understand, not to satisfy curiosity. It is rather that you may know the work Jesus will be doing through the twenty delegates the week of June 8 in Faith Protestant Reformed Church. And knowing that, you can pray with understanding for the work.

Pray, then, to the Lord of the harvest.

Prof. Russell Dykstra, Co-Editor of the Standard Bearer

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Synodical Committees

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Classical Officers

Classis East
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Classis West
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