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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

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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

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

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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

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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

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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 http://faithprc.org/watchlive.cfm. 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.

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