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Classis Western Canada

Each URCNA Classis has a page on the URCNA website which may include Classis news, Reports, etc. and can be viewed by selecting the appropriate link under the "Classes" selection above. Each Classis page is maintained by the Clerk of that Classis, who should be contacted to request updates, changes, or further information.


Stated Clerk: Rev. Jason Vander Horst

Churches of Classis:

Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church in Abbotsford (Rev. Aaron van der Heiden) abbotsfordurc.org 

Bethel United Reformed Church in Calgary (Rev. Keith Davis) bethelurc.com

Redemption Reformed Church in Chilliwack (provisional status) (Rev. Charles Van Hoffen) redemptionreformed.ca 

Cornerstone United Reformed Church of Edmonton (Rev. Bill Pols) cornerstoneurcedmonton.com

Covenant Reformed Church in Grande Prairie (Rev. Keith Giles) grandeprairieurc.org

Grace Reformed Church in Kelowna (Rev. James Roosma) gracereformedkelowna.com

Redeemer United Reformed Church in Lacombe (Rev. Robert van der Woerd) redeemer-urc.org

Grace Reformed Church of Leduc (Rev. Tad Groenendyk) graceleduc.org

Trinity Reformed Church in Lethbridge (Rev. John van Eyk) trinityurc.ca

Emmanuel Reformed Church in Neerlandia (vacant) emmanuelurc.org

New Westminster United Reformed Church (Rev. Gary Zekveld) newwesturc.ca

Parkland United Reformed Church in Ponoka (vacant) parklandurc.org

Redeemer Reformation Church in Regina (Rev. Brian Cochran) redeemerchurch.ca

Bethel United Reformed Church of Smithers (Rev. Simon Lievaart) bethelsmithers.ca

Surrey Covenant Reformed Church (Rev. Jason Vander Horst) surreycovenantreformed.com

Taber United Reformed Church (Rev. Barry Beukema)

Faith Reformed Church of Telkwa (Rev. Kelvin Tiemstra) telkwafaithurc.com

United Reformed Church of Thunder Bay (Rev. John Ysinga) thunderbayurc.com

Providence Reformed Church of Winnipeg (Rev. Rich Anjema) providencereformed.net

 

Report of the Meeting of Classis Western Canada, July 29, 2022

In a rare occurrence for Classis Western Canada, a meeting was held in the middle of the summer. This special classis was called in order to deal with some pressing disciplinary concerns among the churches; in God’s providence, it also allowed us to conduct a colloquium doctum for the Rev. Charles Van Hoffen, called to be the minister of Redemption Reformed Church, the new church in Chilliwack. Despite the unusual timing, a good portion of our churches were able to turn out two delegates.

The day began with a wonderful worship service led by Rev. Van Hoffen. He brought the Word from Joshua 1:1-9 in a message centered on the theme of God’s calling on our lives. He exhorted us to listen to God’s call, encouraged us with the promise of God’s presence to equip us in our calling, and ended by reminding us of the need to know and follow God’s Law as part of our callings. Another warm and encouraging part of our morning was the fraternal address by Rev. Ken Wieske, minister of the St. Albert Canadian Reformed Church. The rest of the morning and early afternoon was taken up with the colloquium. Our brother acquitted himself well in 4 of the 5 areas. Lord willing, we will be able to complete the colloquium at our next classis meeting.

This was our fourth meeting in 10 months, but you wouldn’t know it based on the 11 requests for advice brought forward by the churches. Four of the requests involved asking for concurring advice to move to the second public announcement for church discipline of professing members who have broken the covenant bond made with the Lord and his people. The other seven requests sought concurring advice to move to the exclusion of either professing members or mature baptized members. Each of these situations was prayed over, and we were impacted by the weightiness of the sin and brokenness that thrives in the world and lives in the church.

Parkland United Reformed Church in Ponoka is to be commended for their glad and able hospitality. Also to be commended is the Rev. John van Eyk, who once again led us as chairman after taking one meeting off. He closed the meeting by reading from Eph 6:10-20, reminding us of the spiritual battle we face, as well as our Spiritual resources in Christ. After prayer and a closing hymn, we departed to continue pursuing the callings to which God has called us.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Jason Vander Horst

Clerk, Classis Western Canada, URCNA

 

Report of the Meeting of Classis Western Canada, Mar 8, 2022

On a beautifully mild day, the delegates of Classis Western Canada converged in Surrey, BC at the facilities of Surrey Covenant Reformed Church. With the church in New Westminster leading the way, the two churches co-hosted this one day classis meeting.

The main item on our agenda was an overture from Surrey to admit a new church into our federation – namely, Redemption Reformed Church in Chilliwack. This body of ~50-60 members broke away from the Christian Reformed Church in Chilliwack in order to continue worshipping and living in faithfulness to their convictions as to what the Bible teaches on various matters. After spending some of the morning and early afternoon in conversation with them to clarify their positions and intentions, we were delighted to vote unanimously in favour of admitting them as a member church into the URCNA. This is a decision that will need to be ratified at our next Synod.

In addition to this matter, we took up two other overtures, received a number of reports from classical functionaries and missionaries, and deliberated on twelve requests for advice. Of special note is the request from Trinity Reformed Church of Lethbridge to organize a daughter church in Taber, AB as a particular congregation. Classis gave concurring advice, and so our classis continues to grow.

The meeting was calmly and capably led by the Rev. Gary Zekveld. Kudos to all those who helped make the day run smoothly and successfully, whether accompanying the singing, monitoring the microphones, or providing nourishment.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Jason Vander Horst

Clerk, Classis Western Canada, URCNA

 

Report of the Meeting of Classis Western Canada, Nov 17, 2021

Despite having met recently in October, the delegates of our classis were happy to meet again on this day. The reason for our cheer was because the church in Grande Prairie had extended a call to Rev. Keith Giles, the minister of a small independent Baptist church in Northern Ireland, and he accepted. This was contingent upon him successfully undergoing a colloquium doctum. We began the day with Rev. Giles leading us in worship, bringing an edifying word from Galatians 3:1-14. We then proceeded to have a theological conversation with him in the areas of practica, church polity, confessional knowledge, Reformed doctrine, and ethics. It was especially encouraging to hear of Rev. Giles journey from holding a Baptist theology of the sacrament to a place where he now believes with firm conviction that the children of believers ought to be baptized as well. With joy, we affirmed this call and paved the way for Rev. Giles to take up his ministerial calling in Grande Prairie.

We discussed a few other matters as well. We gave concurring advice to two requests on moving ahead in the formal disciplinary process and prayed for the souls of the brothers in question. One church came back with a second request for advice on the pastoral application of the Church Order, the Confessions, and the Scriptures in the current political environment. We determined that we could not give them the full answers they were looking for. However, we did offer guidance in the form of a public statement adopted by way of an overture from one of our churches. This statement can be found on the second page of this press release and represents the prevailing sentiments of our body on questions we all are facing in this time of COVID.

The Cornerstone United Reformed Church in Edmonton is to be commended for their capable and warm hospitality. Also to be commended is the Rev. John van Eyk, who ably led us for the third time in as many classis meetings.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Jason Vander Horst

Clerk, Classis Western Canada, URCNA

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Public Statement of Classis Western Canada on a Pastoral Approach to COVID Questions

1. We acknowledge the following:

• Our churches are dealing with complex challenges during the COVID pandemic as it relates to the application of biblical principles to our worship, our fellowship, and our relationship with the governing authorities.

• Our consistories, councils and church members have struggled to maintain uniformity of conviction in response to the relevant issues. (Examples of issues include: government mask mandates, number restrictions for in-person meetings, and restrictions on singing.)

• This lack of uniformity need not lead to a lack of unity, for multiple convictions may be legitimate according to the Bible.

2. We encourage councils and consistories and church members not to confuse the application of biblical principle with the principle itself. An example of a biblical principle is submission to governing authorities. An application of that principle may be either adhering to or resisting Provincial Health Orders in a time of pandemic.

3. We affirm the need to beware of binding the consciences of others on matters not clearly determined by Scripture (Romans 14).

4. We affirm the need for pastoral care, sensitivity, and charity in this challenging and complex time.

5. We exhort all consistories, councils, and church members alike to make every effort to love and serve one another as our Lord Jesus Christ commands (I John 4:7-8).

6. Finally, we exhort all consistories, councils, and church members alike to prayer:

• Let us pray that these issues may no longer divide us, but that instead we may stand united together in our common faith as God’s Word instructs us

• Let us pray for a renewal and increase in godliness in our land

• Let us pray for an end to this global pandemic

• Let us pray that we might learn the important lessons that God is teaching us during these trying trials and that we might be sanctified more and more by God’s Holy Spirit

• May we all be led by the Spirit into a spirit of kindness, thankfulness, and perseverance

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Report of the Meeting of Classis Western Canada, Oct 5-6, 2021

On a beautifully brisk morning in Barrhead, our chairman pro tem read from Matt 16:13-20 to kick-start our meeting. Elder Kevin Tiemstra exhorted us to press on in our one faith rooted in Christ Jesus. We then sang “Jesus, with Thy Church Abide”, and this twofold theme of love for the church of Christ and the unity of the church pervaded our proceedings, as evidenced by other songs sung and texts read in our devotional times.

Out of love for those who have professed Christ but are straying, classis gave concurring advice to a number of churches to move forward in the disciplinary process. This is in keeping with the purpose of discipline as outlined in our Church Order: “that God may be glorified, that the sinner may be reconciled with God, the church and his neighbor, and that offense may be removed from the church of Christ.”

In the interests of protecting the unity of the church while maintaining her purity, wisdom was sought and advice given as to how local churches ought to respond to government restrictions in light of the current crisis we have been facing. It became clear that no uniform advice could be given, as differing circumstances may call for differing responses. Regardless, we affirmed the need for pastoral care, sensitivity and charity in this complex time.

Aaron van der Heiden was thoroughly examined with a view to being made eligible for call as minister of Word and sacrament in the URCNA. We are glad to report that he acquitted himself very well, and we look forward to seeing him ordained in the Lord’s timing.

There were four overtures received by classis. Three requested financial support from the Needy Church Fund, which was granted. One overture was a call to revise our classical Rules of Procedure document. After some discussion on the question of worship services at classis meetings, the overture was adopted.

It was with great joy that classis could give concurring advice to the Providence Church of Winnipeg to organize Redeemer Reformation Church in Regina into a particular congregation. This marks the next step in a long journey that God continues to richly bless.

In addition to these major matters, classis heard several reports and made several appointments to classical positions. In adjourning the meeting, plans were made for the next classis meeting to take place on November 17, 2021, convened by Lethbridge in Edmonton. The reason for another meeting so soon after this one is to do with a request for a colloquium doctum from Covenant Reformed Church in Grande Prairie.

For the second time in as many classis meetings, we were led ably by our jovial chairman, Rev. John van Eyk. Emmanuel Reformed Church warmly hosted us and provided delicious and nourishing meals.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Jason Vander Horst

Clerk, Classis Western Canada, URCNA

 

Report of the Meeting of Classis Western Canada, Sept 15-16, 2020

Who says meetings can’t be fun? Led by our able and jovial chairman, Rev. John van Eyk, this meeting was marked by the distinctly joyful manner in which its business was conducted. The scenic beauty of Telkwa, British Columbia encouraged us all as we met to complete a full agenda over the course of two days.

The greatest cause for joy was the result of the ordination examination for Mr. Tad Groenendyk. Mr. Groenendyk had sustained 4 areas of his exam at the previous classis meeting. This time he sustained the final section, and so the way is clear for Tad to be ordained as minister of the Word and sacraments in the Grace Reformed Church of Leduc. Praise the Lord! The delegates rejoiced with Tad and his wife, Karena.

There were difficult moments, too. The host church of Telkwa had requested a candidacy examination for Mr. Ehren Gaebler. After working our way through part of the examination, and upon the advice of the inviting consistory, a motion was adopted to cease the examination of Mr. Gaebler. While this decision resulted in much disappointment and heartache, it is our collective prayer that this will be for the benefit of Mr. Gaebler and for the Lord’s church.

Other difficult and weighty matters dealt with included the giving of concurring advice for several disciplinary actions related to the departure of members. Advice was also given for various requests of a non-disciplinary nature. Prayers for wisdom were offered throughout.

There were five overtures received by classis. Two requested support from the Needy Church Fund, which was granted. Two overtures calling for more guidelines relating to the presentation of sermons from those being examined at classis were sent back to the churches for further development. The final overture was a call to amend Article 55 of the Church Order of the URCNA. The intention of this overture is to clarify the sometimes confusing language regarding the “steps” of church discipline. This overture was adopted without dissent and will be presented to the next Synod of the URCNA.

In addition to these major matters, classis heard several reports and made several appointments to classical positions. Rev. Thomas Albaugh and Rev. Lou Slagter were granted emeritation status.

The community of Faith Reformed Church in Telkwa is to be commended for their warm hospitality and delicious meals. In adjourning the meeting, plans were made for the next classis meeting to take place in February 2020. The convening church will be Emmanuel Reformed Church of Neerlandia.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Jason Vander Horst

Clerk, Classis Western Canada, URCNA