Report on Classis Central United States of the United Reformed Churches in North America

Convening at Covenant Reformed Church of Pella, Iowa, July 14–15, 2009

Two men moved closer to becoming ministers of the Word and sacraments at a recent meeting of Classis Central US of the United Reformed Churches in North America. Meeting on July 14–15 at Covenant Reformed Church of Pella, Classis Central US spent most of its meeting examining Mr. Matthew Nuiver for ordination and Mr. Zechariah Schiebout for candidacy.

Matthew Nuiver is a member of Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI, who graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 2004. He and his wife, Lisa, both graduates of Dort College, have three young daughters. The URC of Wellsburg, IA, called Mr. Nuiver in March to serve as its pastor. Following his examination, Classis Central US declared with thanksgiving to God that Mr. Nuiver had sustained his examination and was eligible for ordination in the URCNA. The elders of the URC of Wellsburg announced that his ordination and installation service will be held (D.V.) at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 31, at the URC of Wellsburg.

Zechariah Schiebout is a member of Covenant Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa, and a 2009 graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary. He and his wife, Rachelle, have two young daughters. Mr. Schiebout worked as an electrician for five years prior to attending seminary. He received his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University.

Hearing that the Consistory of Covenant Reformed Church had judged Mr. Schiebout to have sustained his candidacy examination, the delegates of Classis Central US expressed their concurring opinion, with thanksgiving to God.

Classis spent much of the remainder of its meeting hearing reports about what God is doing in the midst of the churches. Looking to some of the church plants in Classis Central US, delegates heard a report from Rev. Valentin Alpuche concerning his church planting work among the Hispanic community of Chicago Heights, IL, under the oversight of Faith URC in Beecher, IL. Elder Phil Veltkamp provided an update on the work at Springfield United Reformed Fellowship, which the Consistory at Covenant Reformed Church in Kansas City, MO, supervises. And Rev. Spencer Aalsburg offered an update on the work at Sioux Falls URC Fellowship, which is supervised by the Consistory at Hills URC.

Classis also offered counsel to Lynwood URC concerning its desire to call Mr. Phil Tjoelker as a church planting minister at Providence United Reformed Fellowship of Tinley Park, Ill.

In a communication distributed prior to the meeting, Lynwood’s Consistory explained that Mr. Tjoelker would continue his work as a part-time nursing home chaplain. However, since this arrangement is not typical, the Lynwood Consistory decided to seek the advice of classis before proceeding. Having heard Lynwood’s plan, Classis Central US advised them to proceed with plans to call and ordain Mr. Tjoelker.

Another Chicagoland development was revealed with the introduction of Rev. Ted Gray of First CRC of Oak Lawn, IL. Attending at the invitation of the Oak Glen Consistory, Rev. Gray explained that the Oak Lawn congregation recently voted to leave the CRC and join the URC. The Oak Glen Consistory plans to help arrange for Oak Lawn’s reception and for Rev. Gray’s colloquium doctum.
The assembly was privileged to receive greetings from Rev. Charles Muether, pastor of Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church (OPC) of Pella. Speaking on behalf of the Presbytery of the Midwest of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Rev. Muether expressed appreciation for the URC and offered encouragement on behalf of the OPC.

Delegates also heard reports from five ministers and an elder concerning assemblies of the RCUS, CanRC and PCA which they had attended on behalf of Classis Central US.

In other business, the classis declined to act on an overture from Grace URC of Waupun which would have overtured Synod London 2010 to refine the content of the federation’s directory, to establish an annual “archive” directory, and to make that archive directory available in electronic or in printed form. Delegates expressed the opinion that these matters should be raised by the URC’s Website Oversight Committee.    

The next meeting of Classis Central US is slated for Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 20–21. The Consistory of Immanuel URC of DeMotte, IN, is the convening consistory.

Classis wishes to express its sincere appreciation to the Covenant Reformed Church of Pella, Iowa, for its gracious hospitality; to the Consistory of Faith URC in Beecher, IL, for its work in preparing for this meeting; and to Rev. Harold Miller and Rev. Todd Joling for serving as chairman and vice-chairman, respectively.

For further information, contact Rev. Doug Barnes, pastor of Hills URC & Stated Clerk of Classis,
by telephone at 507–962–3254 or via e-mail at hillsurc@alliancecom.net

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