United Reformed Churches in North America Classis Southwest U.S. Report

The sixteenth meeting of Classis Southwest U.S. was hosted in the Valley of the Sun, January 17–18, 2006, by the Phoenix URC. The eighteen organized churches of Classis assembled to examine a man for candidacy, deal with three overtures, as well give concurring advice to several churches in their labors to maintain the three marks of a true church.

The entire first day of Classis was taken up with the candidacy examination of Mr. Steve Oeverman, a 2004 graduate of Westminster Seminary California, who is a member of the Escondido URC. After sustaining all sections of his exam, the delegates then prayed for him and the Lord’s will to be done in his life.

The Council of the Cloverdale URC (Boise, ID) overtured Classis to give its concurring advice in the organization of the URC of the Magic Valley (Twin Falls, ID). After hearing from Rev. Christopher Folkerts about the Lord’s hand in sustaining and maturing this little flock, the assembly joyfully gave its advice and offered a prayer of thanksgiving. Classis SWUS continues to grow as this congregation will be its 19th organized church. In that light, Classis also welcomed Rev. Carl Heuss and Stuart Van Kooten of the Coram Deo Reformation Church (Denver, CO), which has voted to unite with the URCNA and which is being overseen by the Calvary United Reformed Church (Loveland, CO).

Two other overtures were brought to Classis by the Phoenix URC. First, an overture dealing with modifying several items in Classis’ “Rules of Procedure” was brought. All but one of the recommendations were adopted. The second overture dealt with the URCNA’s Committee for Ecumenical Relations and Church Unity. The churches adopted the overture, which will be forwarded to Synod 2007, to change the Guidelines for Ecumenicity and Church Unity used by CERCU. The change consists of dividing “Phase 3 – Church Union” into two distinct steps: first, in developing a plan of ecclesiastical union which would require ratification by a majority of consistories of the federation, and second, in implementing the plan of ecclesiastical union, which, as well, requires ratification by a majority of consistories. Classis SWUS believes this will give the federation more flexibility in our ecumenical relations by allowing us to recognize other true churches without at the same time committing ourselves to eventual integrated federative unity with them as well as allowing a more realistic application of “Phase Two” relations with other federations and denominations.

A request from the Christ Reformed Church (Anaheim, CA) was adopted that Classis SWUS join the Protestant and Reformed Joint Commission (PRJC), an endorsing agency for prospective chaplains in the U.S. Navy as one of their members and seminary students is planning to pursue that calling.

Finally, an ad hoc committee was formed, and which will report to the next meeting of Classis, in response to a request by the Pasadena URC in regards to how best to deal with members in our churches and their relationship to the second service. The next meeting of classis will be hosted by the Zion URC (Ripon, CA), June 27–28, 2006.

Respectfully submitted, Rev. Daniel R. Hyde, Clerk