For the first time in its existence, Classis Southwest U.S. was hosted in the city of Oceanside, California, as the Oceanside URC had the privilege and joy of hosting the sixteen organized churches for Classis’ 13th meeting from September 14–15, 2004. The meeting was chaired by the very able Rev. Russell St. John of the Grace URC in Kennewick, Washington. The collegial spirit in which business was transacted continued to be a hallmark of Classis.
The largest item on the agenda was the candidacy examination of Mr. Michael Brown a graduate of Westminster Seminary California. Mr. Brown has been working under the oversight of the Escondido URC in their newest church plant, the Christ URC (Santee, CA). Mr. Brown showed a mastery of all areas of the examination.
The Classis continues to grow and to pastorally oversee the reception of new churches. The delegates answered an overture from the Grace URC of Kennewick, Washington in bringing the Evangelical Reformed Church of Tacoma, Washington into the Classis. The delegates answered by saying, “That Classis appoint the Grace URC of Kennewick, WA to provide assistance to the Evangelical Reformed Church of Tacoma, WA in the process of the reception of this church and its minister into the federation, and that the consistory of Grace URC report their labors to each meeting of Classis.” The Classis also gave its concurring advice to the Ontario URC (Ontario, CA) for the organization of the High Desert URC (Victorville, CA).
The work of church planting continues to be vibrant within the Classis. Including the High Desert URC and Christ URC, mentioned above, there are currently five church plants within the Classis: The URC of the Magic Valley (Twin Falls, ID), Immanuel URC (Lemoore, CA) and Redeemer URC (Sparks, NV).
We were blessed to hear the greetings of four ecumenical observers from the RPCNA, PCA, OPC, and RCUS. Greetings, as well, were brought by the Dr. W. Robert Godfrey, President of Westminster Seminary California and Mr. Jim Den Ouden, President of Providence Christian College.
The delegates gave their advice on various matters such as granting privilege of the floor to those not delegated, changing the date of Classis meetings, appeals of members, the procedure of examining candidates for the ministry, and the always difficult exercising of the third mark of the church. Classis also appointed members of CECCA and the URCNA Website Committee.
The next meeting of Classis will be hosted by the oldest church in Classis Southwest U.S., the Ontario URC (Ontario, CA) from January 18–19, 2005.
Respectfully submitted, Rev. Daniel R. Hyde, Clerk