Report on Classis West Meeting September 28, 2022

News Report of Classis West of the PRCA Meeting
September 28, 2022

Doon PRC 2022 2

Classis West of the Protestant Reformed Churches met on September 28, 2022, in Doon PRC (Doon, IA), finishing its work by about 9:30 PM. The Doon congregation had opportunity to show off the new addition to their church building, and they did a fine job in hosting, including scrambling to make arrangements for the delegates during a town-wide power outage for several hours in the afternoon.

Rev. S. Key had the opportunity to lead Classis in opening devotions, which was fitting as this was his last meeting of Classis before emeritation, and he gave a humbling and encouraging meditation on Psalm 112:7: “He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.”

Delegated to Classis were 28 men (11 ministers and 17 elders), and they were joined by three synodical deputies from Classis East. Rev. M. Kortus chaired Classis for the first time in his ministry, and led the meeting capably.

The questions of Article 41 of the Church Order were asked and satisfactorily answered. Regular reports from the stated clerk, classical committee, and reading sermon library committee were read and their work approved.

One important item on the agenda was a request from Loveland PRC for the emeritation of their pastor, Rev. S. Key. Classis approved the request for emeritation effective January 1, 2023 (which received the concurrence of the three synodical deputies from Classis East), approved his financial support for 2023, and expressed thanksgiving to God for his 36 years of faithful service to our churches. Rev. Key has especially been used of God for the benefit of the churches in Classis West, having served as pastor in the Classis for 31 years, as stated clerk for six years, as a representative of the Classis to Synod 27 times, as church visitor for 19 years running, as a member of many special committees of the Classis, and as a humble and wise leader in the Classis. May God bless Rev. Key and his wife as they enter this new phase of life!

An individual submitted a protest to Classis of decisions taken by a previous meeting of Classis West which related to the refusal in September 2021 to seat delegates from the former consistory of First Edmonton PRC and to approve the labors of the church visitors with that congregation. Classis did not sustain the individual’s protest.

In closed session, Classis treated an appeal of an individual regarding the discipline work of a consistory. After careful deliberation, Classis did not sustain the appeal.

Classis made a schedule of pulpit supply for the vacant congregations of Doon (IA) PRC, Hosanna PRC (Edmonton), Randolph (WI) PRC, and the soon-to-be-vacant Loveland PRC. Due to the large number of vacancies and small number of active pastors, Classis decided to request assistance from Classis East in covering five 1 Sundays in the next six months.

Classis received a special request from a congregation for subsidy for 2023, and a special request from a congregation to increase subsidy for 2023. Both requests were approved. The expenses of this meeting totaled $8,853.17. Classis West will meet next in Lynden (WA) PRC on March 1, 2023, the Lord willing.

Rev. Joshua Engelsma Stated Clerk, Classis West

ClWest Doon Sept 2022 3

PRC Synod 2022 - Day 4 - Friday, June 17

Ziion PRC Jenison spring

After a full day yesterday, the PRC Synod of 2022 resumes its work this morning at 8 a.m. in Zion PRC. With the examination of Bro. M. Wee completed, synod will dig into its committee work right away.

May the Lord again give wisdom and grace to the delegates as they take up the Lord's work in and through the churches.

Below are a few more pictures from the seminary graduation last evening. Thanks to John Van Baren for all the great photos this week!

sem grad audience

ProfRD sem grad speech
Prof. R. Dykstra's final PRTS commencement speech

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2022 PRTS Graduate Isaac Peters, with Prof. R. Cammenga (rector, left) and Rev. G. Eriks (TSC President, right)

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2022 PRTS Graduate Marcus Wee


Summary of 2022 PRCA Synod - Day 4 (June 17, 2022)

I begin with a correction from yesterday’s report. In the section regarding the Foreign Mission Committee, I referred to one of the missionaries as Rev. Rodney Kleyn. It should have been Rev. Daniel Kleyn.

Today’s session began with opening devotions led by Rev. Lanning, who read Psalm 91 and opened in prayer.

Synod approved sending letters of encouragement to the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore and the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines in light of the fact that the schism and troubles in the PRCA have also spread to them.

In addition to approving the work of the BOT, Synod reappointed Mr. Tom Holstege to a three-year term as Assistant Treasurer, appointed Mr. Doug Mingerink, Sr. to a two-year term as Stated Clerk of Synod, and reappointed Mr. Dirk Westra to a three-year term as Assistant Stated Clerk. Both Mr. Mingerink and Mr. Westra were thanked for their faithful labors this past year.

Synod treated the report of the treasurer, and expressed gratitude to our treasurer, Mr. Don Offringa, and our bookkeeper, Mrs. Pamela Bos, for their work.

Synod treated the report of the Emeritus Committee, approving 15 emeritation requests. Synod also concurred with the decision of Georgetown PRC, and concurrence of Classis East to grant the emeritation request of Rev. C. Haak effective September 1, 2022. This was followed by a decision to thank Rev. C. Haak for his 43 years of faithful service in the ministry of the Word and Sacraments in the Protestant Reformed denomination.

Synod approved the subsidy requests of six churches.

Using an estimate of 2,160 families, synod adopted a budget that set an assessment of $625 per family for 2023.

After recommitting the advice several times throughout the week to the committee of pre-advice for reformulation, Synod came to a decision on Faith PRC’s overture regarding Article 67 of the Church Order. The overture was to remove “the requirement that the churches hold worship services on ‘Old and New Year’s Day.” Synod’s decision was to “approve the overture of Faith PRC insofar as it speaks of the observance of Old Year’s Day, and thus change Article 67 of The Church Order of the PRCA by removing the words “and Old”, so that the article will then read ‘The churches shall observe, in addition to the Sunday, also Christmas, Good Friday, Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost, the Day of Prayer, the National Thanksgiving Day, and New Year’s Day’.” The decision included four grounds: “1) The churches’ commemoration of the passing of the old year to the new year can appropriately be held in one service on the first day of the new year. 2) Of all our special services, Old Year’s Day is of most recent origin, having not appeared in The Church Order prior to 1914. 3) Many special services in a short period of time can diminish the value of the Lord’s Day worship services. When the Reformation churches considered the worship on special days, a major concern was the sanctity of the Lord’s Day, which ought to be our concern. 4) Three special church services within eight days can be taxing on both ministers and congregations.”

One of the last orders of business was voting for those who will serve on the denominational standing committees.

Synod appointed Southwest PRC as the host of Synod 2023 to convene Tuesday, June 13, 2023 at 8:00 A.M.

Zion PRC was thanked as the host church. The facility served Synod well. The caterers were thanked. The delegates of synod ate well throughout the week. We also are thankful for the many members of Zion PRC who were at work to facilitate this years meeting of Synod.

The Vice-Chairman expressed thanks to our capable chairman, Rev. Key. And Rev. Key concluded the meeting expressing thanks to the delegates of synod for being given strength to do the work of Synod throughout the week and the spirit of unity and brotherly love with which it was done.

Psalm 91:1, 2, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”

In Christ’s service,
Rev. N. Decker Second Clerk of Synod 2022

JohnVB PhilVB
Two Van Baren delegates: John (Hudsonville PRC) and Phil (Crete PRC). John was also the synodical photographer - thanks for all the great photos! Look for more in the upcoming July Standard Bearer!

end of synod
And when synod is over and everyone else departs for home, who is left to finish its work?

1st 2nd clerks
The 1st (Rev. J. Engelsma) and 2nd (Rev. N. Decker) clerks - thanks for your special service to the churches!

PRC Synod 2022 - Day 3 - Thursday, June 16 (with report)

Ziion PRC Jenison spring

The PRC Synod of 2022 will reconvene this morning at 8 a.m. After devotions, the examination of Sem. Marcus Wee will continue, with four parts to complete: knowledge of confessions (Prof. D. Kuiper), church history (Prof. R. Dykstra), church polity (Prof. B. Gritters), and practica (Rev. G. Eriks). The exam is being livestreamed through Zion's PRC website.

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Sem. M. Wee enjoying a refreshing moment with his young son (held by his father) during yesterday's exam.

Exam ProfDK MWee confessions
Prof. D. Kuiper examining Sem. M. Wee in knowledge of confessions

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Prof. R. Dykstra asking Sem. M. Wee questions on Augustine for church history exam

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Fellow seminary students present to encourage Sem. M. Wee and his wife

Update: Sem M. Wee sustained his examination and has been approved by synod to be a candidate for the ministry of the Word. We rejoice in the grace given to the brother and pray for him as he returns to Singapore in the next month  to await God's will for him.

This afternoon synod will take up its regular work by considering the advice of its commmittees (Committee I, II, etc.).

Summary of 2022 PRCA Synod - Day 3 (June 16, 2022)

Synod began by singing Psalter 426. Rev. Ibe read Ephesians 4:1-16 and opened in prayer.

The oral examination of Marcus Wee was brought to a conclusion this morning. Prof. Kuiper examined Marcus in the knowledge of confessions, Prof. Dykstra in Church History, Prof. Gritters in Church Order, and Rev. Eriks in Practica. Synod took a decision to approve the synodical examination of Mr. Wee and inform the CERC of Singapore that we judge that Mr. Wee is worthy to be declared eligible for a call for the ministry of the Word and sacraments. After informing Marcus of this decision, the chairman read from 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2 and offered a word of encouragement to Marcus regarding pastors beings stewards of the mysteries God. Synod then sang the doxology, prayed, and congratulated Marcus and his wife.

The remainder of the day was spent treating reports from four committees of pre-advice.

Synod decided to accept the invitation of NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council) to send observers to its 2022 meeting. The reasons for doing so is that attending NAPARC gives opportunity to discuss doctrines and practices that divide as well as those we have in common with other churches, discuss the possibility of closer relationships with other denominations, discuss current heresies and practices that threaten Reformed and Presbyterian churches, and give answers to any questions that may arise over the recent schism in the PRCA.

Synod treated the protest of an individual against Synod 2021, Article 59. This decision approved the concurrence of the Synodical deputies from the West with the decision of Classis East (January 13-15, 2021) to approve the request of Byron Center Consistory to proceed to the deposition of Mr. A. Lanning. The committee of pre-advice divided his protest into two parts. First, Synod did not sustain the protest regarding the rescinding of Synod 2021 Article 59 on the basis of one ground: the protestant “ignored two of the four decisions which grounded the approval of the deposition of A. Lanning.” This was elaborated upon with two further points of explanation. Second, Synod did not sustain the protest regarding the contention that the protests of five protestants was not fully considered by Synod 2021 on the one ground: “Synod 2021 did adequately consider and answer all the protests of 2021.” This too was elaborated upon with five points of explanation.

Much of the afternoon was spent treating the reports of both the Domestic and Foreign Mission Committees.

Some of the highlights regarding the Domestic Mission Committee are the following:

  • Synod approved the appointment of Zion PRC to be the calling church for home missions.
  • Synod approved the work of the DMC in carrying out the mandate of Synod 2021 to “expand greatly the use of technology, Internet, and radio to establish a concrete field of labor for a missionary.”
  • Synod approved a budget of $55,000 for 2023 for design, maintenance, and webmaster salary for the PRC website.
  • Synod adopted a motion to express special thanks to Rev. Slopsema for his many years of faithful and dedicated service on the DMC, in light of him retiring from the DMC due to health issues.

Some of the highlights regarding the Foreign Mission Committee are the following:

  • Synod approved the work of Doon PRC’s council and the FMC in the Philippines on behalf of our churches, expressed appreciation to Doon PRC for their faithful oversight, and expressed gratitude to Rev. Dan and Mrs. Holstege, Rev. Daniel and Mrs. Kleyn, and Rev. Richard and Mrs. Smit and their families for their faithful service in the cause of the mission work in the Philippines.
  • Synod had the privilege of listening to a report from Rev. Richard Smit, who is here on furlough. Rev. Smit explained some of the more recent developments in the Philippines, expressed thanks for the support he and his family receive from the PRCA, and asked for continued prayers as he presses on in the labors as foreign missionary.
  • Synod approved the work of the FMC with Hope PRC regarding their labors in Myanmar and with Georgetown PRC regarding their labors in India.

Synod then turned to the report of the Theological School Committee. Regarding students, we rejoice that synod approved admitting Mr. Bruce Feenstra to the seminary as a pre-licentiate student beginning in the fall semester 2022. Regarding professors, Synod declared both Prof. R. Cammenga and Prof. B. Gritters capable to continue teaching in our seminary for another year. This was done in accord with article 7 of the constitution of the theological school, which requires that after a professor reaches the age of 65, the TSC shall consult with the professor annually “about his capability to continue teaching or possible emeritation.” Lastly, after considering the Seminary Rector’s report, synod expressed appreciation to Professors Cammenga, Dykstra, Griess, Gritters, Huizinga, and Kuiper, as well as to Miss Sharon Kleyn and Mr. Charles Terpstra, for their work.

The last items treated today concerned the Student Aid Committee. Synod both approved disbursements from and a budget for the Student Aid Fund.

Synod will reconvene on Friday morning at 8:00 AM.

Ephesians 4:1-3, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

In Christ’s service,
Rev. N. Decker Second Clerk of Synod 2022

sem diploma program 2022

This evening the PR Theological Seminary commencement took place, as Marcus Wee and Isaac Peters graduated. The program was held in the sanctuary of Zion PRC in Jenison, MI. Prof. R. Dykstra gave the address, speaking from Eph.4 on "The Minister's Calling to Seek Unity.' A nice crowd witnessed the ceremony and heard an edifying (final) commencement speech from Prof. Dykstra, who has retired from the seminary afer 26 years of faithful service. Below are a few pictures taken at this event.

Rev GEriks sem grad
Rev. G. Eriks, president of the Theological School Committee, chairs the program and leads in devotions

Zion choir sem grad
Zion PRC's choir provided the special music

Prof RD sem grad speech
Prof. R. Dykstra delivers his commencement message

IPeters diploma 2022
Isaac Peters of the EPC of Australia receiving his diploma

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Marcus Wee of the CERC-Singapore receives his diploma

PRC Synod 2022 - Day 2 - Wednesday, June 15 (with report)

Ziion PRC Jenison spring

The PRC Synod of 2022 began its second day of work with devotions, and then entered into the examination of Sem. Marcus Wee in the area of Dogmatics (6 loci of Reformed-Christian theology), with Prof. R. Cammenga asking the questions (20 minutes in each section). The examination ended late morning with Prof. B. Gritters asking questions in the area of knowledge of Scripture. Synod then took time for group pictures before lunch.

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Prof. R. Cammenga examines Sem. M. Wee in Dogmatics

This afternoon, synod will begin working through the advice of its committees, beginning with Committee I.

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Prof. B. Gritters examining Sem. M. Wee in the area of knowledge of Scripture

Yesterday afternoon (following the specimen sermon delivered by Sem. M. Wee) the various committees of synod began their work of preparing pre-advice (see photos below).

Comm1 work
Committee I at work: Revs. N. Decker, J. Laning, V. Ibe (PRCP); Elders S. Hunter, S. Miedema,  G.T. Wee (CERC); Advisor Prof. B. Gritters 

 Comm4 work
Committee IV at work: Revs. G. Eriks, R. Barnhill; Elders K. Bruinsma, J. Van Baren; Advisor Prof. R. Cammenga

goodies break time 1
Break times are always a highlight with the host church ladies providing wonderful treats for the delegates and visitors

Comm 2
Committee II - Rev. A. Brummel, Elder P. Van Baren, Prof. B. Huizinga, Elder J. Lanting, Prof. R. Dykstra

Committee III: Prof. D. Kuiper, Elder L. Gritters, Prof. C. Griess, Rev. J. Engelsma, Elder D. Van Uffelen, Rev. R. Kleyn

Committee V: Elder M. Gritters, Rev. W. Langerak, Rev. S. Key, Elder P. Smit

group sanctuary 1

Summary of 2022 PRCA Synod - Day 2 (June 15, 2022)

Synod began this morning by singing Psalter 1. Rev. Decker opened with devotions by reading John 13:1-17 and leading in prayer.

The morning session of Synod was spent with the oral examination of Marcus Wee. Prof. Cammenga examined Marcus for 20 minutes each in Theology, Anthropology, Christology, Soteiology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology. This was followed by Prof. Gritters examining Marcus on the knowledge of Scripture. Marcus gave a good account of what he both knows and believes concerning these subjects. This portion of synod was live-streamed for any who may have been interested, but especially for the saints and Session of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore.

Most of the afternoon was spent treating the advice regarding the work of the Contact Committee (CC). The Lord has given the PRCA contact with many churches and saints spread throughout the world. Synod began by treating the work of the CC regarding those with whom we have a sister church relationship: the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (CERCS), the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church Northern Ireland (CPRCNI), and the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP). With thankfulness to God, the CC reported that the relationships with each of our sisters remains strong. Yesterday, synod heard a letter from the CERCS. Today, Rev. Vernon Ibe addressed synod with a letter from the PRCP [photo below]. Both letters testified to the value and blessedness of our sister church relationship.

VIbe address

The PRCA also has a corresponding relationship with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia (EPCA). After approving the work of the CC with the EPCA, Synod had a letter read from the Presbytery of the EPCA on the floor of synod. The letter from the EPCA contained a heartfelt expression of thanks to the PRCA for the care and training of their student, Mr. Isaac Peters. In addition to those with whom we have official relationships, the CC labors with many other contacts. Information was presented at synod on the CC’s work with the Confessing Protestant-Reformed Congregation (BERG) of Giessen, Germany, along with churches and believers in Namibia, South Africa, South Korea, and Mexico.

Synod treated the report of the Psalter Revision Review Committee. The committee members are Belinda Brummel, Don DeJong, Michelle Drnek, Pam Dykstra, Matt Elzinga, Cal Kalsbeek, Steve Kuiper, Rev. W Langerak, and Shelly VanderKolk. The three synodical-appointed advisors are Prof. D. Kuiper, Josh Hoekstra, and Prof. B. Gritters. The Psalter Revision Review Committee provided synod with a helpful summary of their work from this past year. In this coming year the committee intends to finish its review of the Genevans, make a final review of the entire package, and prepare it for presentation to Synod 2023. Synod approved the work of the committee and expressed gratitude to its members for their faithful and selfless labor on behalf of the churches.

Synod approved disbursements made by the CC from the Pastor Training Fund—Foreign Lands and the Foreign Student Assistance Fund as well as approved a budget of $78,000 for the CC’s operating expenses in 2023.

The advice presented to synod regarding the North America Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) and Faith PRC’s overture to amend Article 67 of the Church were recommitted to committee one for reformulation.

Synod declared illegal an overture from an individual who asked that "Classis require each of the men of the Special Committee of Classis East (Jan 2018) to assist Hope PRC to explain in writing their doctrinal position regarding the doctrinal statement which they authored.” The one ground for declaring the overture illegal was that requirement of Article 30 had not been met, namely, that “in major assemblies only such matters shall be dealt with as could not be finished in minor assemblies.” Two points of explanation were given to explain the ground: 1) The overture “was a request for action on the part of Classis East and not Synod. He writes: ‘By way of this overture, I request that Classis require each of the men of the Special Committee of Classis East…' (Agenda p. 74). He also writes: ‘However, I believe that this Special Committee of Classis East…must also be held accountable for what they wrote and that it is Classis East’s responsibility to hold them accountable as they are a committee of Classis’ (Agenda p. 75).” 2) “His course of action should have been to protest the decision of Classis East to reject his overture, and then if not satisfied to appeal to Synod. His overture amounts to an appeal to synod, without having first protested to Classis. For Synod to take this matter up would be hierarchical in that it would be taking up work that was not finished at the classical level.”

The final item treated this afternoon is one for which we give humble thanks to God, namely, the report of the 100th Anniversary Committee. Five decisions were taken in this regard: 1) That synod approve holding the 100th anniversary celebration of our churches at Calvin University on June 23-27, 2025. 2) That synod request the Young People’s Federation to hold the Young People’s Convention at the same place and time. 3) That synod adopt the proposed theme, “Grace: The PRCA at 100,” for the 100th anniversary celebration, with a theme text of Ephesians 2:4-10 and a theme song of Psalter #394 4) That synod mandate a multi-authored book be written commemorating our 100th anniversary, overseen by an editorial committee selected by the 100th Anniversary Committee. 5) That synod send an invitation to those churches with whom we have official relationships (sister churches and the churches with whom we have a corresponding relationship) to attend our 100th anniversary celebration.

Synod recessed at 5:00 PM. Synod will reconvene Thursday morning at 8:00 AM to finish the examination of Marcus Wee.

John 13:14, 15, “If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”

In Christ’s Service,
Rev. N. Decker Second Clerk of Synod 2022

PRC Synod 2022 - Day 1 - Tuesday, June 14 (with report)

Ziion PRC Jenison spring

Last evening the pre-synodical service was held in the sanctuary of Zion PRC, the host of this year's PRC Synod. Rev. Rodney Kleyn (president of the 2021 Synod and pastor of First PRC-Grand Rapids) led the service and preached on "The Priority of Love," based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

RKleyn pre synod service 2

Part of his application to synod and its work included these words: "With regard to synod and its work, the application is this, that God will answer our prayer for His presence and the work of His Spirit in our deliberations, first, by giving to us as delegates the attitudes and behaviors of love, here described in 1 Corinthians 13. Let us remember, this week, the words of verses 4-7 which describe the behavior of love, not only as we work with each other, but also as all of the work of synod comes before us: missions, seminary, contact committee, appeals, and the rest."

Today synod will begin its official sessions. The delegates will elect her officers and appoint a "Committee on Committees" to organize the work for the week.

MWee sermon

And then its attention will be turned to the examination of one of the senior PRC seminary students - Sem. Marcus Wee from Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore (see photo above). This sister church of the PRC has asked the synod to examine Sem. Wee. The exam will begin Tuesday morning with the delivery of his specimen sermon. Starting Wednesday morning (and again Thursday morning), Sem. Wee will be examined in the main branches of his studies - dogmatics, knowledge of Scripture, knowledge of the confessions, church history, church polity, and practica. These parts of the exam are open to the public and will also be livestreamed through Zion PRC's website - in part for the benefit of his family, friends, and fellow saints in Singapore.

Look for the full report of Tuesday later today. Updates will be given as provided by the clerks of synod. Photos are compliments of elder John Van Baren.

CoC report officers


Officers table

Synod has appointed its officers and committees (cf. photos above). Rev. S. Key will serve as president; Prof. R. Dykstra as vice-president; Rev. J. Engelsma as 1st clerk; and Rev. N. Decker as 2nd clerk.

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Synod 2nd clerk, Rev. N. Decker with the PRC stated clerk, Doug Mingerink, Sr.

delegates chat 1

delegates chat 2

delegates chat 3

MKoerner WeeGT
Sem. Matt Koerner and elder Wee Gim Theng (CERCS)

MWee wife family
Some of the support Sem. M. Wee has - his wife and some of his family from Singapore is here

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Delegates and friends in Zion PRC's sanctuary for Sem. M. Wee's sermon this morning.

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A unique panoramic view of the delegates seated in the basement of Zion PRC

Pastor VIbe PRCP
Pastor Vernon Ibe, delegate from the PRC of the Philippines (sister church to the PRC)

The second clerk has drawn up his report of the first day:

Summary of 2022 PRCA Synod - Day 1 (June 14, 2022)

On Monday evening the pre-synodical service was held at Zion Protestant Reformed Church. Rev. Rodney Kleyn, the president of synod 2021, led the worship service. In the congregational prayer He beseeched our heavenly Father for His blessing upon all of the work that synod will take up in the coming days. He preached an appropriate and convicting sermon on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 under the theme “The Priority of Love.”

The 2022 Synod of the PRC officially convened at Zion Protestant Reformed Church at 8:00 AM Tuesday morning. The meeting began with devotions, the delegates of Synod singing Psalter 134 and Rev. Kleyn reading Psalm 48 and opening with prayer. It is appropriate to note what Article 32 of our Church Order says: “The proceedings of all assemblies shall begin by calling upon the name of God and be closed with thanksgiving.” The sessions of synod today and throughout the week will be filled with the delegates consciously seeking God for His wisdom and strength to carry out the work faithfully, with thanksgiving, to the glory of His name.

The first order of business was to accept the credentials of Classis East and Classis West. The delegates from Classis West are Keith Bruinsma (Peace PRC), Loren Gritters (Hull PRC), Chester Hunter (Edgerton PRC), Peter Smit (Hope PRC, Redlands), Phil VanBaren (Crete PRC), Rev. Ryan Barnhill (Heritage PRC), Rev. Allen Brummel (Calvary PRC), Rev. Josh Engelsma (Crete PRC), Rev. Steve Key (Loveland PRC) and Rev. Jim Laning (Hull PRC). The delegates from Classis East are Mike Gritters (Zion PRC), Jim Lanting (Cornerstone PRC), Sid Miedema (Unity PRC), John VanBaren (Hudsonville PRC), Dan VanUffelen (Hope PRC, GR), Rev. Nathan Decker (Grandville PRC), Prof. Russ Dykstra (Byron Center PRC), Rev. Garry Eriks (Unity PRC), Rev. Rodney Kleyn (First PRC, GR) and Rev. Bill Langerak (Trinity PRC).

With Synod officially constituted, the election of offices took place with the following results: President, Rev. Key; Vice-President, Prof. Dykstra; First Clerk, Rev. Engelsma; Second Clerk, Rev. Decker.

According to the rules of synod the faculty of the seminary (Prof. Cammenga, Prof. Griess, Prof. Gritters, Prof. Huizinga, and Prof. Kuiper) were seated and given advisory vote. Synod took the decision also to seat and give advisory vote to both Rev. Vernon Ibe from the Protestant Reformed Church in the Philippines and Elder Wee Gim Theng from the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church in Singapore.

As they do at the beginning of every meeting of synod, the delegate stood and gave assent to the Public Declaration of Agreement with the Forms of Unity, which was read by Rev. Key. If any are interested, this declaration can be found in the little green Church Order book.

The president appointed the Committee on Committees tasked with dividing the work of synod into five committees. A picture of their report (along with other pictures) as adopted can be found under the news tab of our denominational website.

The highlight of the morning was listening to the specimen sermon of Mr. Marcus Wee. Mr. Wee preached on Jeremiah 33:15,16 under the theme “The Branch of Righteousness,” an edifying sermon delivered with conviction. Synod adopted the report of the sermon critics to approve Mr. Wee’s sermon and proceed to his oral examination, which will begin Wednesday morning. Mr. Wee will be examined in the six loci of dogmatics, knowledge of Scripture, knowledge of the confessions, church history, church polity, and practica. These parts of the exam are open to the public and will also be live-streamed through Zion PRC's website, in part for the benefit of his family, friends, and fellow saints in Singapore.

Synod recessed for the day around 11:00 AM to allow the pre-advice committees to do their work, and will begin again Wednesday morning at 8:00 AM.

Psalm 48:18, “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.”

In Christ’s service Rev. N. Decker Second Clerk of Synod 202

Classis East Report - May 11, 2022

Classis East May 11 2022
Delegates from Classis East at the new facility of Redeemer Christian School, Zeeland, MI

May 11, 2022, Classis East Report

First PRC of Holland, MI hosted Classis East in the Redeemer Christian School building in Zeeland, MI.

After Rev. Bill Langerak declared classis properly constituted, Rev. Dennis Lee assumed the chair and presided over the business of the meeting. Recognizing the importance of making decisions in harmony with Scripture as set forth in our Reformed confessions, classis requires every first-time delegate to sign the Formula of Subscription. Two delegates attended classis for the first time and therefore signed the Formula. Classis exercises mutual oversight by receiving answers from each member church to the questions found in Article 41 of our Church Order. Rev. Lee asked these questions and received satisfactory answers from the delegates representing the nineteen churches of Classis East. The stated clerk gave his report regarding his work over the last four months; classis approved his work. The reporter for the Classical Committee fell sick and was absent, which means the committee will have an extended report at the September meeting of Classis East.

Classis adopted a pulpit supply schedule for the two vacant congregations in the East, Grace PRC and Hudsonville PRC.  At its March, 2022, meeting, Classis West requested that Classis East assist in providing pulpit supply for one of its vacant churches. In light of a positive change in circumstances (Classis West has one less vacancy due to Rev. Marcus’s acceptance of the call to Peace PRC), the Classical Committee of Classis West sent a letter to Classis East withdrawing this request.

In previous sessions Classis East has appointed two special committees. One committee reported that it did not have a report on its mandate to propose changes to the rules of classis regarding the distribution of its agenda. The second committee brought a report regarding its study of how to handle sexual abuse cases to classis that was received for information. Classis thanked the committee for its work so far, encouraged the committee to continue its work, and looks forward to acting upon recommendations from the committee in the future.

Two consistories asked for the advice of classis before continuing in the work of Christian discipline applied to members of their congregations. Classis advised one consistory to proceed to the announcement of the name of an impenitent confessing member per Articles 76 and 77 of the Church Order. Classis advised the other consistory to proceed with the erasure of a baptized member who, though often admonished by the elders, continues to walk in sin.

Classis approved of the request of Rev. Carl Haak to retire from the active ministry after forty-three years of faithful service. Classis marked the occasion by giving opportunity for several delegates to speak appropriate words about Rev. Haak’s service to the churches, singing the doxology, and pausing from its business to allow the delegates to speak individually to Rev. Haak and his wife, Mary. By an official decision Classis East formally and sincerely “expressed its deep appreciation and thanks to God for the 43 years of Rev. Haak’s humble and godly leadership and active ministry in our churches.” Contingent upon the approval of Synod 2022, Rev. Haak’s retirement will become official on September 1, 2022.

The catering committee of First Holland PRC did an excellent job of taking care of the delegates during various breaks and lunch. The women well deserved the thanks expressed by the Chairman, Rev. Lee, on behalf of classis.

The expenses of the meeting totaled $1,161.56. For its next meeting Classis will convene on September 14 at Byron Center PRC. After the vote to adjourn the meeting, Rev. Lee closed with prayer. The delegates began leaving for home around 3:15 p.m.

We thank God for the unity of our churches expressed in the meeting and pray for God’s blessing upon the decisions.

Rev. C. Spronk
Stated Clerk, Classis East

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