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PRC Synod 2021 - Day 7 - Thursday June 17 *(Updated with Report)

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The delegates of the 2021 PRC Synod gathered again this morning in Georgetown PRC (Hudsonville, MI) for their seventh day of discussion and deliberation. We pray for them as they hope to complete their work today.

preparing to start work

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Preparing to start the work this morning.

The body returned to some recommitted advice from Committee 2 this morning. Commmittee 5 material was also to be dealt with.

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Synod stands to sing each morning for devotions.

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Pres RKleyn final remarks
Synod president, Rev. R. Kleyn, makes closing remarks Thursday afternoon as synod ends its work.

 And here is the final public report of the day's decisions, per the second clerk of synod:

Report of Day 7 - Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America
June 17, 2021
After opening devotions, Synod treated reformulated advice on a protest of an individual who objected to Synod 2020’s decision regarding a sermon (entitled “Dealing Rightly With Our Sins”) preached by a former minister in the denomination. The individual’s main contention is that Synod’s decision contradicts Scripture and the confessions and brings Synod 2020 into contradiction with decisions of Synods 2018 and 2019. Synod did not sustain the protest.

Synod then dealt with reformulated advice on a protest of a decision of Synod 2020 related to the release of that former minister from the ministry under Article 12 of the Church Order. The protestant contended that Articles 79 and 80 of the Church Order ought to have been applied instead. Synod voted not to sustain the protest.

Synod treated reformulated advice on another protest that objected on procedural grounds to Classis East’s concurrence to depose a minister according to Articles 79 and 80 of the Church Order. Synod did not sustain the protest.

Synod approved the work of the synodical deputies from Classis West in their concurrence with the decision of Classis East to proceed with the deposition of that minister according to Articles 79 and 80 of the Church Order. Synod judged that Classis East’s grounds, on the basis of which the synodical deputies concurred, demonstrate that the minister was guilty of sin that warranted deposition. In addition, although synod granted some points made by those who protested, synod did not sustain the protests against the work of the synodical deputies.

Synod took a decision to express the churches’ deep gratitude to God for the work that Prof. R. Dykstra has performed on our behalf over the past 25 years in faithfully training our pastors in the seminary. Over half of our present pastors were formed, in part, by Prof. Dykstra’s instruction and example. May the Lord continue to bless the instruction Prof. Dykstra gives, and strengthen him for his work as pastor of Byron Center PRC.

Synod approved publishing and distributing an open letter to those who have recently left the PRCA, gave specific direction on how that distribution would take place, and approved the letter that would be sent. It did so believing that seeking reconciliation is the solemn duty of the church with those who have left because reconciliation is the very heart of the gospel (2 Cor. 5:18-21); because seeking reconciliation is expected of those who are members of the church, as Jesus says in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God”; and because seeking reconciliation is consistent with the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17:21, “That they all may be one; as thou Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”

Synod declared not legally before it two pieces of correspondence.

Synod approved the recommendations made by the Catechism Book Committee regarding memory work schedules for the Juniors Bible History classes.

Synod concurred with the decision of Bethel PRC to declare Rev. Dennis Lee temporarily emeritus since, by this coming July, through no fault of his own, he will have been left without a fixed charge due to the disbanding of the congregation. Synod also approved the financial support of Rev. Lee. May the Lord be pleased soon to open up a place of labor for Rev. Lee in our churches.

Synod approved the requests of four congregations for financial subsidy for 2022.

Synod adopted the overtures of two congregations to schedule a denominational commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the PRC for the summer of A.D. 2025, and appointed a steering committee to present concrete proposals for implementing these overtures.

Synod adopted the budget for 2022 of $2,534,463, which is adjusted to $1,415,729 because of surplus funds, collections, and monies from the “endowment” funds. Synod approved assessing each family $675 for 2022, a decrease of $75 from 2021.

Synod appointed Zion PRC as the host church of Synod 2022 to convene Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at 8:00 AM. The Lord willing, Sem. Marcus Wee, a member of Zion, will be examined by that Synod.

Having completed all the matters on its agenda, Synod adjourned at about 4:00 PM. May the Lord bless the decisions of Synod and cause them to serve for the good of our churches.

A special word of appreciation to Georgetown PRC for the outstanding job they did in hosting the delegates for nearly two weeks. The comfortable accommodations, the good food, the warm hospitality, and the colorful posters made by the children were greatly appreciated!

In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Joshua Engelsma Second Clerk of Synod 2021

PRC Synod 2021 - Day 6 - Wednesday, June 16

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Here follows the public report of the sixth day of meetings for the 2021 PRC Synod being hosted by Georgetown PRC in Hudsonville, MI.

Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America
June 16, 2021
After opening devotions, Rev. Cory Griess read a letter of acknowledgment to the call he has received to serve in our seminary as Professor of Practical Theology and New Testament Studies (see photo below). He plans to answer the call on or before July 4. Continue to remember him in your prayers as he considers this weighty call.
CGriess acknowl June16
Synod treated another protest that objected on procedural grounds to Classis East’s concurrence to depose a minister according to Articles 79 and 80 of the Church Order. The matter was recommitted to the committee of pre-advice for reformulation.

Synod treated a protest of an individual who objected to Synod 2020’s decision regarding a sermon (entitled “Dealing Rightly With Our Sins”) preached by a former minister in the denomination. The individual’s main contention is that Synod’s decision contradicts Scripture and the confessions and brings Synod 2020 into contradiction with decisions of Synods 2018 and 2019. This matter was recommitted to the committee of pre-advice for reformulation.

A different individual brought a protest against that same decision of Synod 2020. Synod voted not to sustain his protest, judging that the individual had failed to prove his contention that the sermon militated against Synod 2018 by making repentance an instrument to obtain blessings of salvation.

Two individuals protested another decision of Synod 2020 related to another sermon of that former minister (a sermon entitled “The Reward of Grace”). Synod did not sustain either of the protests, judging that the individuals failed to prove that the former minister militated against the decision of Synod 2018 in the sermon.

Synod dealt with a protest of a decision of Synod 2020 related to the release of that former minister from the ministry under Article 12 of the Church Order. The matter was recommitted to the committee of pre-advice for reformulation.

Synod took up reformulated advice regarding a protest of a decision of Synod 2020 not to publish a report from a special committee appointed to assist a congregation. Synod did not sustain the protest, but judged that Synod 2020 had acted within its rules by not including in the printed Acts a report regarding a mandate that synod gave to a committee in closed session and that synod treated in closed session.

Synod also considered reformulated advice regarding a protest that objected to Synod 2020 giving instruction to an appellant regarding the form of his appeals after treating those appeals. Synod did not sustain the protest.

Synod approved the dispersing of funds for the financial support of our seminary students. It also approved changes to the constitution of the Student Aid Committee which make clear the uses of the two main funds it oversees.

Synod had before it an appeal of an individual whose objections to a sermon were not upheld by his consistory or Classis. Synod voted not to sustain the appeal, but expressed its agreement with the judgment of the Classis that the sermon did not promote the wisdom of the world; did not promote the Pelagian heresy; did not violate the first commandment; and did not teach the false gospel concerning God, hope, Christ, sin, and the covenant.

Synod approved the work of the Board of Trustees during the past year, including its work with the Investment Subcommittee concerning the synodical investments. The synodical treasurer and stated clerk were reappointed to three-year terms.

Synod approved the financial support of fifteen emeritus ministers and their wives for 2022.

The Stated Clerk was instructed in his letter to the churches to include a notice of the urgent need for seminary students. “The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:37-28).

Synod finished for the day at 5:00 PM, and will meet again tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM, the Lord willing. It’s possible that Synod will conclude its business tomorrow.
In Christ’s service,
Rev. Joshua Engelsma Second Clerk of Synod 2021

PRC Synod 2021 - Day 5 - Tuesday June 15 *(Updated with Report)

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After allowing extra time for her committees to draft advice, the 2021 PRC Synod returned to its work on Tuesday June 15 at noon (not at 8 a.m. as previously decided).

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The delegates and visitors (now a maximum of 60) are now meeting in the fellowship room of Georgetown PRC.

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Much of the work today involves treating protests and appeals. May the Lord give wisdom to the delegates as they discuss and decide on these matters.

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Let us remember to pray for the body in all its work, asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and faithfulness to the Word of the Head of the church, Jesus Christ.

Here is the public report to the churches on today's work:

Report of Day 5
Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America June 15, 2021

Synod had initially planned to assemble again this morning, but, due to committees of pre-advice needing more time to prepare advice, it did not begin meeting until noon.

Synod began the work of the day by rescinding a previous decision to declare a letter from a consistory not legally before it. Synod declared the letter legally before it because the letter addresses several slanderous allegations made against the consistory by a protest included in the agenda. Synod decided to publish the letter in the printed Acts to set the record straight in a matter that has been made public even beyond the realm of our churches.

Synod spent most of the day treating the substance of five protests that objected to the concurrence of the synodical deputies of Classis West with the decision of Classis East in the deposition of a minister. Synod voted not to sustain the five protests in their objections to Ground A of Classis East (the minister’s making public accusations of sin), with regard to Ground B (the minister’s sins against the 9th commandment), with regard to Ground C (the minister’s sins against the 5th commandment), and with regard to the charge against the minister of the sin of public schism, believing that there was clear and sufficient evidence of these sins.

Synod also treated the protest of an individual who objected on procedural grounds to Classis East’s concurrence to depose this minister. The protestant argued that the work was not finished at the level of the consistory, that another consistory called in to render judgment on the case was not the nearest consistory, and that officebearers he believed to be conflicted were permitted to advise, deliberate, and render judgment in the case. Synod did not sustain the individual’s protest.

Synod worked until around 8:30 tonight, and will meet again tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM, the Lord willing.

In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Joshua Engelsma Second Clerk of Synod 2021

PRC Synod 2021 - Day 4 - Friday June 11

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One of the delegates did some drone pictures of Georgetown PRC today. Can you guess who?

The 2021 PRC Synod gathered for a new day and a new session in Georgetown PRC on Friday June 11. With the examination of Sem. J. Tan completed, she could dig into her regular business and begin trearting committee report recommendations right away. The delegates and visitors are back meeting back in the fellowship room of the church.

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The summary report of today's deliberations and decisions follows:

Protestant Reformed Churches in America June 11, 2021
Synod began the day by continuing to deal with material from the Theological School Commitee (TSC). The TSC had received a request from a congregation to delay calling a replacement for Prof. Gritters for a year. The TSC did not approve this request, and synod concurred with the TSC’s action. Synod then proceeded to calling a man to replace Prof. Gritters as Professor of Practical Theology and New Testament Studies. The result of the voting was that Rev. Cory Griess was chosen to receive the call. We pray that the Lord would make his will known clearly to Rev. Griess over the next weeks, and, if it be his will, that he would accept this call. In the event that he is led to decline the call, Rev. Engelsma was chosen as an alternate to receive the call.
Before Synod was a protest of a decision taken by Synod 2020 not to include a report in the printed Acts. After deliberations, the matter was recommitted to the committee of pre-advice for reformulation.
Another protest objected to Synod 2020 giving instruction to an appellant regarding the form of his appeals after treating those appeals. This matter was also recommitted to the committee of pre-advice for reformulation.
Synod treated an appeal from an individual who objected to a decision of Classis West to declare a protest of his not legally before it. Synod rejected the appeal and upheld the decision of Classis West, declaring that Classis West correctly ruled that the individual may not appeal to Classis without bringing a protest of the consistory’s decision to the consistory.
Synod approved the appointment of synodical deputies from Classis East and West, recommitted advice from a committee of pre-advice regarding a letter of correspondence, and approved the work of the stated clerk.
At around 2:00 PM, Synod moved to recess until Tuesday morning in order to give committees of pre-advice time to work.
In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Joshua Engelsma Second Clerk of Synod 2021
*UPDATE on Tuesday Start time: Synod now plans to begin at NOON on Tuesday, June 15.
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Revs. C Griess (l) and J. Engelsma (r)

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PRC Seminary professors and advisors to synod: R.Dykstra, B.Gritters, R.Cammenga (back); D.Kuiper, B.Huizinga (front)

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Audience singing Thursday night at the commencement program for Josiah Tan (in front with his wife)

PRC Synod 2021 - Day 3 - Thursday June 10 (Updated with Report)

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After a busy night of committtee work, the delegates of the PRC Synod convened on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. in the sanctuary of Georgetown PRC.

First on the agenda is the final sections (4) of oral examination of Sem. Josiah Tan. This part of the exam is also be livestreamed on Georgetown PRC's website.

JT exam confessions DK
Prof.D. Kuiper examining Sem. Tan in knowledge of confessions.

JT exam BG CP
Prof. B.Gritters examining Sem. Tan in Church Polity and NT History. 

JT exam CG
Rev.C. Griess examining Sem. Tan in practica.

Pending the approval of synod, the graduation ceremony of Sem. J.Tan will take place this evening at 7:30 p.m. in the church.

Sem. J.Tan successfully sustained his exam, with the following reported in today's record: "The chairman, Rev. R. Kleyn, informs Mr. Tan that synod has unanimously approved his synodical examination and will inform the Session of the CERC that we judge him worthy to be declared eligible for a call. He reads Joshua 1:4-9. Synod sings the doxology. The delegates of synod are given opportunity to congratulate Mr. Tan and his wife."

We rejoice in this blessed provision of another candidate for the gospel ministry and pray that God will provide him a call that will lead to his ordination in the near future.

JT congrats RK
Sem. Tan and his wife Huiqi congratulated by the president of synod, Rev. R. Kleyn

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Sem. Tan and his wife congratulated by Prof. R. Cammenga

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Sem. Tan and his wife congratulated by Rev. C.Griess, under whom Sem. Tan did his internship

The rest of the day was taken up with deliberation on synod's committee reports. Here is the public report for this day:

Report of Day 3
Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America June 10, 2021

Synod continued its work this morning with the oral examination of senior seminarian, Josiah Tan. Prof. Kuiper examined Mr. Tan in Knowledge of Confessions (for 30 minutes), Prof. Gritters examined him in Church Order (for 30 minutes) and Knowledge of Scripture (for 30 minutes), and then Rev. Griess (who supervised Mr. Tan’s internship) examined him in Practica (for 20 minutes). The brother gave a very good account of himself, and synod unanimously approved his examination. May the Lord soon open up a place of labor for Josiah in his kingdom. We thank him for providing another faithful laborer in the harvest!

Believing missions to be one of the primary callings of the church, synod authorized the Domestic Mission Committee (DMC) to designate a new calling church for a home missionary from the West Michigan area. The desire is that this church call a missionary as soon as possible and work with the DMC in developing a new field of labor.

Synod dealt with the work of the Contact Committee (CC) in this past year. It approved the work of the CC with our sister church in Singapore, and approved discontinuing the calling of a minister-on-loan to serve there. Synod approved the CC’s work with our sister church in Northern Ireland. It approved the work with our sister church in the Philippines, and approved letters of encouragement to our sister church and our missionaries in light of recent struggles they have experienced. Synod approved the work of the CC with our contacts in Australia, Germany, and Namibia/South Africa, and received information regarding other contacts in South Korea and Mexico. Synod approved sending observers to NAPARC in 2021. A committee of three men reported on the work they did in the past year reviewing the doxologies and spiritual songs in the back of our Psalter, and sent this on to our denominational Review Committee for a final review.

Synod also began treating the material related to our Theological School Committee (TSC). One young man who aspires to the ministry in our churches was admitted to the seminary in the coming year. This is great cause for rejoicing as it means that, the Lord willing, next school year we will have four men studying for the ministry in our churches, as well as two other foreign students. Having served his initial four-year term, Prof. Kuiper was reappointed to another three-year term as professor of Church History and New Testament in our seminary. Synod also declared that Profs. Cammenga, Dykstra, and Gritters are capable to continue teaching in our seminary for another year, a decision demanded by the TSC Constitution on account of their being over 65 years old.

The delegates of Synod gathered tonight with the seminary faculty, members of the TSC, and supporters of our seminary to celebrate the graduation of Josiah Tan. Georgetown PRC’s choir treated the audience to two beautiful numbers, and Prof. Kuiper gave a fitting address on “Putting One’s Neck to the Work.”

In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Joshua Engelsma, Second Clerk of Synod 2021

1st clerk CS
Synod's first clerk - Rev. C. Spronk - busy at his post.

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The PRC's assistant stated clerk, Mr. Dirk Westra, has made himself available with his digital resources for synod and her committees.

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Another important member of synod's "team": Jay A. Kuiper, Georgetown PRC's facility coordinator, janitor, livestream-controller, etc.

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PRC Synod 2021 - Day 2 - Wednesday June 9 (Updated with Report and Photos)

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The PRC Synod of 2021 convened Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. in the  sanctuary of Georgetown PRC.

On the agenda for the morning session is the oral examination of Sem. Josiah Tan (Covenant ERC, Singapore). He will be examined by Prof. R. Cammenga in all the loci of Dogmatics and then in Church History by Prof. R.Dykstra. The exam is being livestreamed through Georgetown PRC's website.

JTan exam 1

JTan exam 2

JTan exam 3
Prof. R. Cammenga questioning Sem. Tan in all branches of theology.

JTan CH exam 2
Prof. R. Dykstra examining Sem. Tan in Reformation church history (his last time doing this!).

In the afternoon Synod took up the reports of its committee that were ready (cf. report below).

Report of Day 2

Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America June 9, 2021
Synod continued its work this morning with the oral examination of senior seminarian, Josiah Tan. Prof. Cammenga examined Mr. Tan in the six loci of Dogmatics (for 20 minutes on each section), and then Prof. Dykstra examined him in Church History (with a focus on Martin Luther and the sixteenth-century Reformation) for 40 minutes. At the end of each section the delegates were given opportunity to ask follow-up questions of the student. The oral examination of Mr. Tan will conclude tomorrow morning, the Lord willing. For those who are interested, the exam is being live-streamed by Georgetown PRC.
After lunch break, Synod dealt with the legality of protests from three individuals of decisions of Synod 2020. The protests have to do with decisions regarding two sermons preached by a former minister (“Dealing Rightly with Our Sins” and “The Reward of Grace”) as well as with the decision to release that minister under Article 12 of the Church Order. These protests were all declared legally before Synod.
Synod also dealt with the legality of nine protests and one letter from a consistory related to the deposition of a minister under Articles 79 and 80 of the Church Order. Synod declared seven of the protests legally before it. Two of the protests were declared not legally before Synod on the ground that the protestants are no longer members of the denomination and therefore no longer have the right of protest. Synod also declared not legally before it the letter from a consistory because it addressed one of the protests that Synod declared not legally before it.
Synod then treated the material from the Foreign Mission Committee. Rev. Daniel Holstege, one of our missionaries to the Philippines, was present at Synod and addressed the delegates and visitors regarding the work on our established field of labor. Synod approved the work done by Doon PRC and the FMC in the Philippines and expressed thanks to our missionaries for their faithful labors. Synod approved the congregations taking one collection in 2022 for foreign missions and one collection for the Philippines Book Fund.
Synod also treated the report from the Domestic Mission Committee. Synod approved the work of Byron Center PRC and the DMC, expressed thanks to Rev. Spriensma and his wife for their labors as home missionary for 3.5 years, and approved the decision of Byron Center council no longer to serve as the calling church for home missions. Synod directed the DMC to expand greatly its use of technology, internet, and radio to establish a concrete field of labor for a missionary, and budgeted $50,000 to carry out this mandate. Synod also approved the DMC proposal for updating the general purpose, form, structure, and development of the prca.org website. Synod directed the DMC to form a new sub-committee of qualified individuals to oversee and maintain the denominational website (prca.org) and all other denominationally related digital technology (social media, podcasts, etc.). The members of this sub-committee would be appointed and supervised by the DMC, and their specific work and compensation determined by the DMC. Synod approving having the churches take one collection in 2022 for the cause of Domestic Missions.
Synod recessed for the day at about 5:00 PM to allow committees of pre-advice to work.
In Christ’s Service,
Rev. Joshua Engelsma, Second Clerk of Synod 2021

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It was also photo day at synod and John Van Baren again took a variety of pictures, a sampling of which you find above and below.

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Synodical officers: front - Revs. C.Spronk (1st clerk) and J. Engelsma (2nd clerk); back - Revs. R.Kleyn (Pres.) and G.Eriks (VP)

 Comm1 2
Committee 1 - Revs. R.Kleyn and W. Langerak (front); Elder E. Van Egdom, Prof. R. Dykstra, Elder D.Kregel (back)

Comm2 2
Committee 2 - Revs. C.Griess, J.Laning (front); Elder J. Regnerus, Prof. B.Huizinga, Elder J.Holstege (back)

 Comm3 2
Committee 3 - Revs. G.Eriks, J.Engelsma (front); Elder B.Looyenga, Prof.B. Gritters, Prof. D.Kuiper, Elder D.Terpstra (back)

Comm4 2
Committee 4 - Revs. S.Key, C.Spronk (front); Elder K.Bruinsma, Prof. R. Cammenga, Elder J.Lanting (back)

Comm5 2
Committee 5 - Revs. A.Brummel, R.Van Overloop (front); Elders N.Kleyn, D.Poortinga (back)

 DHolstege Philippines greetings
Missionary to the Philippines D.Holstege addressed synod

Dutch theme
This year's synod has a Dutch theme - check out the fine art-work the Georgetown PRC children did!

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kids pics 1

kids pics 2

JTan poster
And at lunch it appears chef/griller Deane Wassink has some eager taste-testers

lunch taste test

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