Report on meeting of Classis Central US June 11-12, 2007

Classis Central US of the URCNA convened at Faith United Reformed Church of Beecher, Ill. at the appointed time.

Two recent Mid-America graduates have been declared candidates for the ministry and a proposed Web site was given the green light at a recent meeting of Classis Central US.

Held at Faith URC in Beecher, Ill., under the oversight of the Community URC (Schererville) Consistory, the 21st meeting of Classis Central US was held on June 11 and 12. Delegates devoted the bulk of their time to the examination of Mr. Valentin Alpuche Martinez and Mr. Andrew Spriensma.

Mr. Alpuche and his wife, Beatriz, hail from the southern Mexico town of Nohakal in the state of Campeche and are members of Faith URC. They have one son. As a member of the Independent Presbyterian Church in Mexico, Valentin attended Juan Calvino Seminary in Mexico City to prepare for ministerial work in his hometown congregation. Later, through members of Faith URC, the Alpuches embraced the opportunity to continue his ministerial training at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Currently, Mr. Alpuche and Faith URC’s Consistory are evaluating opportunities for ministering to the Hispanic community in southern part of Chicagoland – a work he began while in seminary.

Mr. Spriensma and his wife, Michelle, also are members of Faith URC. Andrew is the son of a minister who served several Christian Reformed congregations before being called to serve among the Protestant Reformed Churches. Although he already was considering the possibility of pursuing the ministry as a military chaplain, Mr. Spriensma’s desire to serve among soldiers was intensified by a seven-month tour of duty in Iraq as a National Guardsman. Returning to Calvin College, he completed his undergraduate work and enrolled at Mid-America. The Consistory of Faith URC is considering calling Mr. Spriensma to serve as a chaplain in the Army. He hopes to be able to enter chaplaincy training later this year.

Another significant act of this meeting of Classis Central US involved the approval of a classis Web site. Grace URC of Waupun, Wisc., had overtured classis to authorize their Consistory to implement a Web site for the storage and dissemination of classis-related materials. In order to demonstrate what they had proposed, the Grace URC Consistory established a trial site at which contained a limited amount of information. Although there initially were questions about who would make decisions concerning the site’s content, the delegates approved the overture without dissension. When updated, the Web site will have public and private sides.

Public areas of the site will offer general information about the Churches of Classis Central US, including locations and contact information. Private areas of the site – accessible only through user names and passwords – will include archived classis material, such as agendas, minutes, classis newsletters, and a calendar of events for upcoming meetings.

Another significant action was occasioned by Rev. Larry Johnson’s resignation as classis treasurer. At past meetings, Rev. Johnson had expressed concerns about the lack of accountability and the legal ramifications of the mandate given to the classis treasurer. However, to date, no action had been taken on those concerns. In light of Rev. Johnson’s concerns and his resignation, classis voted to appoint the Consistory of Cornerstone URC in Sanborn – which will be the Interim Committee until the next meeting of classis – to fulfill the role of treasurer temporarily. Cornerstone’s elders also were asked to examine the current mandate for the treasurer, recommending any necessary changes for the next meeting of classis.

Delegates to this meeting of Classis Central US received fraternal greetings from Rev. Alan Strange on behalf of the OPC Presbytery of the Midwest and from Rev. Charles Brown on behalf of the Great Lakes — Gulf Presbytery of the RPCNA. Letters of greeting from two RCUS classes and a classis of the CanRC also were read.

For the Classis, Doug Barnes, Clerk