On March 11, 2014, the 42nd meeting of Classis Michigan was hosted by Faith United Reformed Church of West Olive, Michigan. Twenty-four delegates from the twelve area URC churches joined together in Faith’s sanctuary for the deliberations of the day. The meeting was ably led by Rev. Phil Vos as chairman and Rev. Jason Tuinstra as vice-chairman.
Numerous routine matters were dealt with in the early part of the morning, including the reception of reports from the numerous classical functionaries along with appointment to vacancies among these functionaries. Rev.’s Casey Freswick and Jeph Nobel were appointed as church visitors to serve along with current visitors Elder Lee DeWitt (Cornerstone URC), Rev.’s Mitch Dick, James Admiraal, and Bill Renkema. Rev. Greg Lubbers was appointed to another term as clerk of classis.
The majority of the day was spent in the consideration of numerous overtures. Two overtures dealt with modifying the position of federation missions coordinator. While the current criteria call for a man who is ordained into the office of the ministry, Classis Michigan adopted an overture that will seek to have Synod change that by opening the position up also to nonordained men. Classis also created an ad hoc committee to draft guidelines for church-planting endeavors, especially in relation to financial support. Classis rejected an overture that would have required all consistory requests for advice in relationship to discipline to be submitted and distributed to delegates eight weeks prior to the meetings of classis. In rejecting the overture, emphasis was laid upon the provision already in the Rules of Procedure that cases must be written out with clear grounds prior to the giving of advice.
Before adjourning, Classis handled a few requests for advice in discipline matters. As Classis considered these matters, the chairman gave a careful and detailed explanation of the steps of Church Order, article 55, a process that is often confused. It was pointed out that there are really 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. In her final action of the day, Classis set a date of August 19, 2014, for its next meeting, DV.
Rev. G. Lubbers
Clerk of Classis