The spring meeting of the South Central Classis was held at St. John’s Reformed Church in Lincoln, Nebraska on March 24-25. Delegates arrived in Lincoln for a dinner prior to the worship service on Monday evening. The delegates were graciously hosted by St. John’s throughout our stay. The food was delicious and plentiful.
The Monday evening worship service began at 6:45 with Rev. David Fagrey conducting and Rev. Scott Henry preaching a powerful sermon that was well-received and entitled “Paul’s Concluding Exhortation.” The sermon was based on I Cor. 16:13-14. This delegate was thankful for a strong Diehard battery as it was announced after the service that there was a car with its headlights on. Special thanks to Rev. Henry for not preaching a four hour sermon or it could have turned out worse for me… On Tuesday morning Rev. C.W. Powell gave a strong devotional from Proverbs 26:13-16, entitled “A Lion in the Street”. This devotional was also well-received by the delegates.
The classis meeting was called to order at 8:43 p.m. by our President, Rev. Jon Blair. The role showed 15 ministers and 12 elders present and a quorum was declared.
There were no changes at Classis this year in the area of officers. Rev. Jon Blair continues to serve us as President, Rev. Matt Powell as Vice-President, Rev. George Horner as Stated Clerk, and Elder Scott Velgersdyk as treasurer. Elder Dan Van Peursem was appointed as Reformed Herald Reporter.
This year at Classis we had two fraternal delegates join us. They were Rev. Harold Miller of Classis Central URCNA, and Rev. Bob McFarland from the Midwest RPCNA Presbytery. Reports from both fraternal delegates were received favorably and showed a spirit of unity among the brethren from the other denominations that we have fraternal relations with. Visitors to Classis included Rev. Neale Riffert, Elder Ewald Ochsner, and Elder Jim Connelly. Due to scheduling and health issues of the elder delegates in the Mitchell congregation, we also welcomed from that congregation, Elder John Frey as a new delegate as his credentials were approved for our Classis meeting. There were no new churches and no new ministers to be welcomed into our Classis this year.
As the president and pastors read their reports to Classis, it was evident that our Sovereign Lord does reign indeed. The Word is being preached faithfully, and Christian discipline is being administered. Often times the discipline has the desired result of bringing the sheep back into the fold, but sometimes it results in erasure as required by our constitution. However, the general feeling this reporter received from all the reports was that God is indeed faithful and although our numbers may not necessarily show growth numerically, there is still spiritual growth that is taking place. We do continue to pray that the Lord will raise up new faithful ministers to our denomination as he continues to encourage the current ones. Along with the pastor reports, the Classis did give recognition to Rev. Robert Grossmann for his long and continued faithful service to the RCUS. He retired this past year with over 50 years of ministry to our denomination.
Mission Reports were given by Rev. Riffert on his work in Sherman, TX, Rev. Kevin Carroll on his work in Limon, CO, Rev. Matt Powell on his work in Casper, WY, and Rev. Scott Henry on the work in the Omaha area. The report on the works in Texas, Colorado, and Wyoming seemed to be quite positive and upbeat showing growth or steady numbers in the worship services. The report on the Omaha work with Rev. Henry did not have the same positive tone. Rev. Henry has struggled with most of the core members moving out or planning on moving out of the area in the next month. There is only one core family remaining in that work which has prompted him to accept a call to Providence Reformed Church, Vermillion, SD, beginning in May 1. Classis did approve that call, and continued funding for all the mission works with the condition that the Omaha work receives a favorable report form the Classis Home Missions Committee and that a suitable replacement could be found to move into that work.
The special committee assigned to Classis last year to investigate the “Right of Conscience” gave their report this year. There was good discussion on the topic presented and the report given thus far, but it was decided that they would like another year to perfect the report and come back again next year.
Delegates were asked to report back to their congregations on two items specifically. Delegates were reminded that the financial obligations to Classis were to be paid by the end of the calendar year. The other item is that we were encouraged to solicit food and usable items (plates, cups, napkins etc.) for Heidelberg Youth Camp. The camp is running in the black and costs have been kept down greatly through your generous donations. This year the theme at the camp will be “Purity” and pastors were reminded to submit handouts electronically in a timely manner so that they can be reproduced for the camp packets.
Again, I would like to extend a hearty “Thank You” to all the brothers and sisters at St. John’s Reformed Church for their hospitality and generosity shown to the delegates.
Elder Dan Van Peursem, Vermillion, SD