Classis Michigan

Stated Clerk: Rev. G. Lubbers


Classis Michigan of the United Reformed Churches in North America

3/16/2017

Congregations of Classis Michigan,

Classis Michigan assembled for the 49th time on March 14 with 26 delegates from the 13 area United Reformed Churches. The location for this meeting of Classis was Grace United Reformed Church in Alto, Mi. Elder Steve Tjapkes of Grace URC chaired the meeting with Rev. Casey Freswick serving as vice-chairman.

This meeting of Classis was unique in that it contained several appeals. The URCNA Church Order describes the appeal process in its 31st article when it states, “If any church member complains that he has been wronged by the decision of a narrower assembly, he shall have the right to appeal to the broader assemblies.” Numerous persons from a local URC congregation appealed to Classis in regards to the discipline under which they had been placed. Classis gave a very clear answer in sustaining all of the appeals and instructing the consistory involved “to take action immediately to rescind formally and publicly the discipline previous rendered against the appellants.”

In addition, Classis unanimously adopted an overture that will request Synod 2018 to adopt a “Marriage Affirmation and Gospel Testimony.” This “Marriage Affirmation and Gospel Testimony” seeks to state the biblical and confessional truth of marriage and human sexuality as well as the redemptive power of the gospel in regards to all sin including those of a sexual nature.

Furthermore, the delegates were presented with reports from numerous committee and functionaries. Several points of advice were sought in relationship to the proceeding of ecclesiastical discipline. Finally, before adjourning, Classis set its next meeting date for October 10, 2017, DV, with Covenant URC – Byron Center as the hosting consistory.

Respectfully Submitted,

Rev. G. Lubbers

Clerk of Classis Michigan


Classis Michigan of the United Reformed Churches in North America

10/11/2016

Congregations of Classis Michigan,

                Classis Michigan convened for the 48th time on October 11 with 26 delegates from the 13 area United Reformed Churches. The meeting was held at Bethany United Reformed Church in Wyoming, Mi.  The assembly was lead through its deliberations by Rev. Casey Freswick as chairman with Rev. Mike Schout serving as vice-chairman.

                The main item on the agenda was the candidacy examination of Mr. Arjen Vreugdenhill, a graduate of Mid-America Reformed Seminary and a member of Bethel United Reformed Church in Jenison, Mi.  After a thorough examination in various sections – an examination that took up most of the day - Classis determined without dissent that Mr. Vreugdenhill has sustained all the parts of his candidacy examination and the consistory of Bethel URC declared him a candidate available for call within the URCNA.

Three routine reports were given concerning the on-going work of the Lord among Trinity, Dutton and Eastmanville URC.  The reports emphasized the continual building of the Kingdom of God through the faithful preaching of the gospel and the proper administration of the sacraments.  In addition, the healthy organic life of these respective congregations was noted as displayed in the various societies, studies, and activities.

Throughout the day, Classis received reports from and reappointed various men to various committees and functionaries.  Advice was also given in relationship to discipline matters.  Before adjourning, Classis set its next meeting date for March 14, 2017, DV, with Grace URC as the hosting consistory.

Respectfully Submitted,

Rev. G. Lubbers

Clerk of Classis Michigan


6/24/2015

Congregations of Classis Michigan,

On June 23 2015, the 44th meeting of Classis Michigan was hosted by Bethel United Reformed Church of Jenison, Mi.  23 delegates from the 12 area URC churches joined together in the sanctuary of Bethel for the deliberations of the day.  As the delegates arrived, it was noted that Rev. Corey Dykstra from Walker URC was absent in light of a miscarriage he and his wife suffered at 39 weeks of pregnancy.  The chairman, Rev. Jason Tuinstra, commended both Rev. Dykstra and his wife to the Lord of all comfort in prayer.  We are reminded of the words of biblical truth and pastoral consolation in the Canons of Dort I.17, “…godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy.”

As usual, Classis devoted the first part of the morning to the hearing of numerous routine reports from appointees of Classis committees and functionaries.  Discussion was held on the need for an on-going Classis Michigan Missions Committee in light of the new functionary of a Federation Missions Coordinator.  However, Classis decided to defer making a decision on this matter until the next meeting of Classis.  No doubt, feedback from the churches to their respective consistories on this committee’s role and viability will be welcomed.  Mission work was also highlighted in the report from the Federation Mission’s Committee.  It was noted that new editions of “The Trumpet” have been distributed to the churches and a map of all current URCNA mission works should be forthcoming.  The churches are encouraged to make use of these resources for information and prayer.   

Reports received from the Songbook Committee drew attention to the continual progress towards publication of a URCNA songbook.  Currently, there is some discussion concerning a difference of opinions on hymn selections between the URCNA and OPC as well as whether to print a songbook without the various Confessions and Forms.  As in the past, this committee encourages and welcomes feedback on the songbook from the churches.

Two overtures were presented to Classis.  One from Sovereign Grace URC requested three set meetings of Classis per year rather than the current practice of two.  The Classis did not adopt this overture.  Another overture from Cornerstone URC requested Classis to overture Synod 2016 to form an ad hoc committee in order to “study how to promote a ‘culture of peace’ within the URCNA.”  After some grammatical editorial work, the overture was tabled indefinitely with the idea that the Cornerstone consistory could rework the structure and language of the overture and resubmit it to Classis at a later date.

Delegates also had opportunity to hear updates from Rev. Will Hesterberg from I.T.E.M. in regards to international seminary training, Rev. Bill Boekestein bringing greetings from Immanuel Fellowship Church in Kalamazoo, and URCNA church planter, Rev. Reuben Sernas who labors in Princess Anne, Maryland among the Somerset Reformed Fellowship.

In the afternoon hours, Classis gave advice to consistories in regards to various matters and issues of pastoral work.  She also re-appointed numerous functionaries before setting the date for the next meeting of Classis Michigan, October 13, 2015, DV.

Humbly Submitted,

Rev. G. Lubbers

Clerk of Classis

 

3/14/2014

Congregations,

                On March 11 2014, the 42nd meeting of Classis Michigan was hosted by Faith United Reformed Church of West Olive, Mi.  24 delegates from the 12 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 the current visitors of 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 Mission’s 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 non-ordained 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.

Humbly Submitted,

Rev. G. Lubbers

Clerk of Classis

 

 

URC Member Churches (as listed in Directory*)

Grace United Reformed Church 9255 84th St. SE
Alto MI 49302
Covenant United Reformed Church 58 100th St.
Byron Center MI 49315
Trinity United Reformed Church 7350 Kalamazoo Ave. S.E.
Caledonia MI 49316
Eastmanville United Reformed Church 6845 Leonard St.
Coopersville MI 49404
Dutton United Reformed Church 6950 Hanna Lake Ave.
Caledonia MI 49316
Sovereign Grace United Reformed Church 3300 East Beltline NE
.Grand Rapids MI 49525
Walker United Reformed Church 1985 Randall N.W.
Grand Rapids MI 49534
Faith United Reformed Church 8270 120th Ave.
West Olive MI 49460
Cornerstone United Reformed Church 6442 - 36th Avenue
Hudsonville MI 49426
Bethel United Reformed Church 2025 Baldwin St.
Jenison MI 49428
Covenant United Reformed Church 3724 Lovers Lane
Kalamazoo MI 49001
Bethany United Reformed Church 5401 Byron Center Ave., SW
Wyoming MI 49519
Immanuel Fellowship Church 6015 West H Avenue,
Kalamazoo, MI 49009

*List is based on information as submitted by each Church.  Churches may make additions or corrections by updating their Profile.