URCNA Classis Southwest U.S. Report
The Grand Rapids Press. It is interesting to note that last year synod decided to send The Banner to every household in the CRC. It was reported then that there would be no additional cost, no additional ministry shares used to finance this project. Now, one year later, The Banner is appealing to its readers to donate between $10 to $25 each so that they can keep getting the magazine for free.
As a former minister in the Christian Reformed Church, I continue to pray for the denomination. Yet, I must also admit that I grieve over certain trends that have developed over the last few decades. The CRC is no longer the church that I grew up in, and, in their efforts to promote diversity and unity it no longer teaches the historic Reformed faith that was once instilled in her members.
Rev. Wybren Oord is the pastor of the Covenant United Reformed Church of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He also is the Editor of The Outlook.
The 15th meeting of Classis Southwest U.S. was hosted by one of its now-organized church plants, the Pasadena URC. What turned out to be one of its longer meetings, the eighteen churches of classis assembled to examine two recent graduates for candidacy, deal with an overture, as well as several items of advice for several churches. The delegates were pleased to have in their midst for the first time delegates from the newly organized church plant, the Emmanuel URC (Lemoore, CA).
Most of the two days were taken up with the candidacy examinations of Mr. Marcelo Souza (Christ Reformed Church) and Mr. Nollie Malabuyo (Escondido URC), both graduates of Westminster Seminary California. Mr. Souza sustained his examination while Mr. Malabuyo sustained four of the seven sections of the exam, and was strongly encouraged to return to classis within one year for re-examination in three areas.
The Council of the URC of Nampa, Idaho overtured classis on the matter of candidacy sermons. Wanting to see some structured mechanism whereby classis receives reports of these sermons, the overture was brought to the floor. Partly because of the lateness of the final day of classis and partly because the delegates wanted to see more specific details, the overture was referred back to its originating Council.
The third mark of the church was also on the agenda as the delegates gave their advice to two Consistories to proceed to the second public step of church discipline with three members, as well as to one Consistory to proceed to exclusion of two baptized members.
The work of the federation as a whole was on the agenda as classis’ delegates on CERCU, CECCA, and the URCNAWebsite Committee reported on their work and answered questions.
Classis SWUS was also privileged to received the greetings of the Rev. Jay Fluck of the RCUS, Western Classis, who exhorted the assembly with the words of 2 John, and the Rev. Ken Orr of the RPCNA, Pacific Coast Presbytery, who encouraged the brethren in their a cappella Psalm singing!
The next meeting of classis will be hosted by the Phoenix URC from January 17-18, 2006.
Respectfully submitted, Rev. Daniel R. Hyde, Clerk
URCNA Classis Michigan U.S. Report
Delegates to the eighteenth meeting of Classis Michigan of the URCNA met at the Faith United Reformed Church near Holland, Michigan. During their spare time they were able to walk through the construction of the new addition that Faith hopes to have completed by winter.
The dozen churches of classis met to examine two seminary graduates, one from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana, the other from Heritage Reformed Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition, the delegates heard reports from church visitors, several churches, and considered an overture.
Most of the day was spent listening to the Candidacy Examination of Mr. Gregg Lubbers (Covenant, Byron Center) and Mr. Talman Wagenmaker (Covenant, Kalamazoo). Both men gave a wonderful account of their knowledge of Scripture, the Confessions, and their love for the Lord. They unanimously sustained the examination and, should they receive a call within classis, the ordination exam was also waived.
An overture from Bethel United Reformed Church of Jenison was discussed and the following statement was adopted by classis: “When a professing member who is under the second or later stages of ecclesiastical discipline requests resignation of his membership, the consistory shall acquiesce to the request. This means that the member ‘is excluded from the fellowship of Christ, of the holy sacraments, and of all the spiritual blessings and benefits which God promises to and bestows upon his church.’”
In addition to these matters, advice was sought and given to various churches. Mr. Gary Fisher was elected to serve on the Synodical Website Committee, filling the vacancy brought about by the resignation of the previous classical delegate. The next meeting of classis will be hosted by the Bethel URC in Jenison on October 11, 2005.
Rev. Wybren H. Oord