Highlights: March 2016 Meeting

Classis anyone? For those of you new to the Christian Reformed Church this might be a new term. On one hand, “Classis” is the name of the meeting where pastors and elders governs a local group of churches. On the other hand, we use the term “Classis” to refer to the regional group of churches and focuses on ministry as well as governing. In this March 2016 meeting, included deacons along with pastors and elders for the first time. (We had 14 deacon delegates for the first time.)

We are part of Classis Lake Superior, an arrangement of 25 congregations within a circle ranging from Baldwin, Wisconsin to Bunde, Minnesota to Brandon, Manitoba back to Winnipeg then Thunder Bay, Ontario down to Princeton and Pease, Minnesota and back to the Twin Cities.

We meet twice per year, in March and September. At their invitation, in order to see their new facility, on March 6-7 we met at Rock of Life CRC in Willmar, MN. Some delegates who travel long distances arrive on Sunday evening in order to be fresh for the Monday afternoon pre-classis seminar. This year Rev Greg Sinclair educated us about the Salaam Project, a mission of reaching Muslim neighbors in North American with the gospel. On Monday evenings we spend time in worship and each year a third of the congregations share what the Lord has been doing in their congregations since their last report. This year we heard many good things from the Canadian congregations and East Grand Forks.

On Tuesday we addressed other matters. Highlights included:

  1. an examination and approval of Gary Wubben, a member of the Bunde CRC, for a license to exhort within classis. We presently have 5 persons with this license.
  2. a debate and approval of moving into phase two of a church planting project in the southwest corner of the Twin Cities. The Rev Arlan and Susan Koppendrayer will be heading up this initiative. Classis approved a $165,000 grant over a 5-year period pending the approval of the Finance Committee, with the specific location to be determined by the Classis Home Missions Committee in consultation with the Twin Cities CRC churches.
  3. saying farewell to the LDN, Leadership Development Network due to lack of students to carry its cost. Its goal was to train people to become more competent as church leaders by growing in knowledge and understanding of God’s word, theology, character and ministry skills. It started in September 2009, meeting at the Calvary CRC in Edina, then to better serve students it moved to the Bunde CRC for the last few years. In its place the Home Missions Committee is planning regional seminars in 2016-17 for, but not limited to, elders in three locations on the US side, East Cities, West Central, and the Pease/ Princeton area. The seminar would emphasize the changing culture and the richness of Reformed Theology to reflect God’s Word into those changes. It would have a leadership development component to it.
  4. adopting an overture to Synod. An overture is a request for something to be done. Synod is receiving 3 major study reports this year, one of them dealing with pastoral advice for how to respond to the new context in which same-sex marriages are legal. Six councils had been studying this report and together asked Classis to send an overture to Synod requesting that the report be sent back to the study committee to rewrite their advice more in line with the more conservative approach of study committee’s minority report.  Classis adopted an overture requesting this kind of action indicating it felt the Synodical study was not clear enough about the Biblical understanding of marriage and had left, “unintentional and unnecessary gray areas for individualized interpretation.”

Classes are now also to send a deacon delegate to Synod, June 10-17, 2016 at Calvin College. Classis chose the following as delegates:

  • Pastor Delegate: Brady Mulder (Bunde)
  • Pastor Delegate: Al Postma (Thunder Bay)
  • Elder Delegate: Drew Ryder (Willmar)
  • Deacon Delegate: Mark Hubbard (Bridgewood)

As believers and churches we are all members of one another and called to help each other be the ministering, serving, worshipping body of Christ. May this brief account help you be more aware of and connected to and supportive of all your brothers and sisters throughout Classis Lake Superior.

 

Highlights: September 2015 meeting

Classis Lake Superior, Sept 14-15, 2015 Highlights—Yes, highlights. Someone once told me they looked forward to such meetings as much as to having a root canal. Not me, I really do enjoy these meetings. For the first time this year we met in the brand new facilities at Lake Geneva Christian Center near Alexandria – they were amazing. A dining hall big enough perhaps for 500 or more people with stunning views of Lake Geneva, and great food and fellowship with other CRC pastors, delegates, and ministry leaders. Hard not to like!

On Monday afternoon Rolf Bouma led us through the history and background of the legal changes that have taken place re gay marriage in North America. How do we minister in this context? Christian scholars are suggesting we may need to distinguish between civil marriage and religious marriage to move forward. The religious liberty aspect of this issue is not clear yet in the US. Our 73 report is good but the language is dated and leaves the impression that the homosexual person is a problem. We had good conversation and look forward to the 2016 report next month.

Monday evenings are worship, sharing, and prayer times. Reps of central Minnesota churches as well as The Gathering Place and Hope Center, in Thunder Bay spoke. It’s always uplifting to hear how the Lord is working and being honored in all these places, e.g. A new facility in Willmar under construction, a new facility at the Gathering Place, new staff at Hope Center – often beyond expectations.

Tuesday’s highlight was the admission of 3 persons into the ministry of the Word in the CRCNA. Perrin Werner for Grace, Inver Grove Heights, based on his previous exam in March, David Zigterman and Robert Hoekstra based on their exam at this classis, for Emden CRC in Renville, and for Hope CRC, Thunder Bay. A 4th pastor was also introduced, Paw Ter, a KaRen refugee, comes with 4 languages before English and with musical gifts. He is an answer to prayer as he helps Phonh in the New Life South East Asian congregation after his night job.

Finally, we are a binational classis. That may be tested in the near future as we explore what we may need to do to comply with new Canadian laws and regulations. Yet we showed are willing to pay the price of such unity by accepting the invitation, the Lord willing, to come/go meet at the Gathering Place in Thunder Bay in September 2016. Next March we get to meet in Willmar’s new facility. It will be a highlight to meet you there and expand the circle of good Christian fellowship.

Pre-Classis Notice #2

TO: Councils, Ministers, Committees and Ministries of Classis Lake Superior
FROM: Harold de Jong, Stated Clerk
RE: September Meeting of Classis
DATE: July 22,, 2014

Greetings. The items below are a repeat from the notice dated May 21, 2014. Also, please note that Dr. Steve Timmerman, the newly appointed CRCNA Executive Director, is planning to address Classis at 4:30 pm Monday.

The next meeting of Classis Lake Superior is scheduled for September 15-16, 2014, at Lake Geneva Christian Center, Alexandria MN. Here are a few reminders as we prepare for Classis:

  1. A reminder that all items for the Agenda, including Committee and Ministry Reports, should be sent to me six weeks prior to the meeting of Classis, that is, by August 4.
  2. The Classis Expense amount for 2014 was set at $14.50 per member. Please bring your check for half the amount, $7.25, to the September meeting.
  3. Lodging for delegates is at the Lake Geneva Christian Center. Early bird lodging Sunday night is also available. Please send me the names and lodging requests of delegates asap. It will cost delegates $16.00 per night if they choose the single room option.
  4. Our Pre-Classis Conference will be led by Rev. Mark Stephenson, of CRCNA Disability Concerns.
  5. Please note that Councils should submit their requests for renewal of license to exhort at the September meeting of Classis. Include that request in the Credentials.
  6. Also, note that an election for a new Stated Clerk will take place at this meeting of Classis. Nominations should be sent to me by July 31, 2014, so that I can forward them to CIC for consideration at it’s August meeting.

Pre-Classis Notice #1

TO: Councils, Ministers, Committees and Ministries of Classis Lake Superior
FROM: Harold de Jong, Stated Clerk
RE: Next Meeting of Classis
DATE: May 21, 2014

Greetings.

Please note that the next meeting of Classis Lake Superior is scheduled for September 15-16, 2014, at Lake Geneva Christian Center, Alexandria MN. Here are a few reminders as we prepare for Classis:

  1. A reminder that all items for the Agenda, including Committee and Ministry Reports, should be sent to me six weeks prior to the meeting of Classis, that is, by August 4.
  2. The Classis Expense amount for 2014 was set at $14.50 per member. Please bring your check for half the amount, $7.25, to the September meeting.
  3. Lodging for delegates is at the Lake Geneva Christian Center. Early bird lodging Sunday night is also available. Please send me the names and lodging requests of delegates asap. It will cost delegates $16.00 per night if they choose the single room option.
  4. Our Pre-Classis Conference will be led by Rev. Mark Stephenson, of CRCNA Disability Concerns.
  5. Please note that Councils should submit their requests for renewal of license to exhort at the September meeting of Classis. Include that request in the Credentials.
  6. Also, note that an election for a new Stated Clerk will take place at this meeting of Classis. Nominations should be sent to me by July 31, 2014, so that I can forward them to CIC for consideration at it’s August meeting.