Review of URCNA Classis Meetings

Classis Michigan of the URCNA

The forty-third meeting of Classis Michigan was hosted by Cornerstone United Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan, on October 14 2014. Twenty-three delegates from the twelve area URC churches joined together in the sanctuary of Cornerstone for the deliberations of the day. The meeting was ably led by Elder Glen Hop as chairman, assisted by Rev. Jason Tuinstra serving as vice-chairman.

Classis devoted the first part of the morning to the hearing of numerous routine reports from appointees of Classis committees and functionaries. After the morning coffee break, the delegates turned their attention to the main item on the agenda: that of the candidacy examination of Mr. James Roosma. Prior to lunch, the delegates had the privilege of hearing general reports of how the Lord is continuing His work within the congregations of Trinity, Dutton, and Eastmanville United Reformed Churches.

After a refreshing noon meal and updates from Rev. Zach Wyse and Rev. Allen VanderPol concerning their respective labors in church planting and theological instruction, the delegates returned to the examination of Mr. Roosma. Mr. Roosma was thoroughly examined in a variety of areas, including biblical knowledge and exegesis, confessional knowledge, Reformed doctrine, and with other subject matters. After approximately five hours of examination, Classis determined that Mr. Roosma had sustained his exam and was eligible to be declared a candidate for the ministry by his overseeing consistory, Faith United Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan.

Prior to adjournment, Classis dealt carefully with numerous requests for advice in discipline matters. According to the URCNA Church Order Article 55, there are five steps to the discipline process: 1) silent censure, 2) the first public announcement made to the congregation without the name of the individual, 3) the second public announcement made to the congregation with the name of the individual, 4) a public announcement that there will be the declaration of excommunication, and 5) the actual declaration of excommunication. Advice of Classis is needed for a consistory to proceed from the first public announcement to the second. The requests were handled in the prayerful hope that the Lord would use such discipline to recover the erring member, protect the local congregation, and bring glory of His own name. In its final action of the day, Classis set a date of June 23, 2015, for its next meeting, DV.

Humbly submitted, Rev. G. Lubbers Clerk of Classis

URCNA Classis Pacific Northwest

The eighteen churches of Classis Pacific Northwest of the United Reformed Churches in North America met at the Immanuel’s Reformed Church in Salem, Oregon, on October 14 and 15, 2014. Rev. Ed Marcusse, minister of the convening church, led the delegates in devotions. Rev. Christopher Folkerts led the meeting as chairman.

Two exciting events included, first, the Colloquium Doctum of Rev. David Inks. After being examined in several areas, Rev. Inks was congratulated and declared a minister of the Word and sacraments among the United Reformed Churches in North America. A prayer of thanks was given by Elder Stan Cotta of Fresno, California.

The second exciting event was the candidacy examination of Mr. Russell Herman. Mr. Herman gave a good testimony of his ability in several areas of the examination. Afterwards, he was informed that he sustained every area of the exam except biblical exegesis and confessional knowledge.

Classis adopted an overture from Zion United Reformed Church requesting that the URCNA discontinue all further action toward unification with the Canadian Reformed Churches (CanRC) and specifically advancement to Phase Three, Step A. Background to the purpose for the overture included the hesitancy and resistance by a significant majority of members and consistories in the URCNA to move forward with complete union with the CanRC. Also noted was that despite the resistance, CERCU has continued to pursue full unification with the Canadian Reformed churches and plans to recommend to Synod Wyoming 2016 that the URCNA proceed to Phase Three, Step A of church unity with the Canadian Reformed churches. Grounds included CERCU’s report that two-thirds of the federation does not approve of unification with the Canadian Reformed churches and are resistant to CERCU’s proceedings.

A second overture adopted by Classis asks Synod to give clear, well-defined, and appropriate guidelines for speeches made by fraternal delegates who speak at Synod. Delegates were reminded in this overture that some delegates give overly long and unhelpful speeches at Synod.

A third overture to Classis sought an overture to Synod to declare that the Proposed Joint Church Order is unusable. Citing from the Foundational Principles of Reformed Church Government of the URCNA Church Order, this overture argued that the Proposed Joint Church Order violated our particular expressions of the very principles upon which the URCNA Church Order is founded. This overture was also adopted.