Report of Classis East

May 14, 1997

Hope Protestant Reformed Church

Classis East met in regular session on Wednesday, May 14, 1997 at the Hope Protestant Reformed Church. Each church was represented by two delegates. Rev. C. Terpstra was the chair for this session.

Classis dealt again in this session with the ongoing problems that Covenant PRC, Wyckoff, NJ has in trying to remain a congregation. At the January 1997 meeting, classis decided to advise Covenant to disband and to report their decision at the May 1997 meeting of classis. Covenant's decision, however, was to remain a congregation. At a congregational meeting held on March 27, 1997 the consistory of Covenant PRC brought a motion to the congregation to disband. This motion failed. The congregation then adopted a motion to continue as a congregation on the following grounds (summarized): 1) the issue of having a plurality of elders has been resolved; 2) thirty visitors at a recent lecture shows interest by the community, and they now need a pastor committed to mission work; 3) they need a pastor's presence on the pulpit to insure continuity and not rely so much on tapes and reading sermons; 4) they have a full-orbed congregational life; 5) they have need of a pastor to help them grow — growth will come since they have resolved their internal difficulties; growth will also help relieve their financial burdens. On the basis of this evidence, and at the request of Covenant, classis adopted the advice of its committee of pre-advice to rescind the decision of the January 1997 classis urging Covenant PRC to disband. Classis decided this on the following grounds (summarized): 1) the problem of plurality of elders has been resolved; 2) Covenant has the ability to address their financial needs by selling their property; 3) there is evidence, even though some members are moving, that there is interest in the area; 4) the present consistory has the resolve to deal with their internal problems; 5) their continued existence will allow the PRC to have a witness in this area; 6) there is a commitment in the congregation, as evidenced by their recent decision, to continue. Classis further advised Covenant to sell their property on these grounds: 1) their property forces them to live beyond their means; 2) this would relieve an ongoing financial strain on the denomination; 3) this would remove a source of discord in the congregation. Classis also decided to request Synod of 1997 to restore subsidy, with a pastor, as requested by Covenant at the January 1997 meeting of classis.

Rev. Richard Flikkema requested that classis approve continued financial support for him for another year. Covenant PRC supported this request and classis decided to grant his request. The synod of 1997 will have to give final approval. The money for his support is proposed to be taken from the Needy Churches Fund.

In other business, several matters involving discipline were treated in closed session. Classis also approved classical appointments for Hope PRC and Covenant PRC. The schedule adopted has been sent to the churches. The expenses of classis amounted to $1,596.00. Classis will meet next in Kalamazoo on September 10, 1997.

Respectfully submitted,

Jon J. Huisken, 

Stated Clerk