News

Classis East News - Wednesday, Sept.11, 2019

JMaatman exam sermon Sept 2019
Pastor-elect Jacob Maatman delivering his sermon before delegates of and visitors to classis at Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI).

JMaatman exam Sept 2019
Pastor-elect J. Maatman being examined by Rev. C. Spronk in Soteriology.

Here is one unofficial summary of today's activities and decisions at the meeting of Classis East at Southwest PRC.

Classis met today at Southwest PRC and examined Pastor-elect Jacob Maatman as requested by Southeast PRC. His specimen sermon and examination went very well and Classis approved his examination. In the afternoon, Classis handled the request to form Unity PRC, daughter church of Byron Center PRC. This request was approved. The Emeritation of Rev. Michael DeVries was also approved. He was ordained in October of 1978 in the same room Classis was meeting in today. He served in our Southwest, First Edgerton [MN], First Edmonton [AB], Wingham [ON] and Kalamazoo churches. Classis recessed for the day to give time for the committees to work. Classis will reconvene on Thursday (9/12) at 8 AM. 

JMaatman exam decision Sept 2019

Pastor-elect J. Maatman and his wife Rachel receiving the news of classis' approval of his examination and instructions to Southeast PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) to proceed with his ordination and installation (from president of classis, Rev.H. Bleyenberg). That will take place, D.V., on Friday evening, Sept.27 in Southwest PRC.

We rejoice with Pastor-elect J. Maatman and his family and with Southeast PRC in this decisive step toward the ministry of the Word in our churches, and we thank God for His bountiful grace to the churches.

Updated report (while we wait for the stated clerk's official one): Classis East met for two days. Pastor-elect Jacob Maatman sustained his classical exam and Southeast PRC wasadvised to proceed to his ordination. Classis approved the organization of a new congregation (to be called Unity PRC) because men suitable to be officebearers were judged to be among the signators. Approval was given for the emeritation of Rev. Michael DeVries effective Jan. 1, 2020 after 41 years of faithful service at five PR congregations. Approval was given in a matter of discipline. In addition, classis treated six appeals and protests and one overture, adopted a pulpit supply schedule, and appointed a moderator for Kalamazoo PRC.

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

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