Snow, ice, and freezing cold temperatures, with winds blowing snow and driving the wind chill below zero; this has been how one might describe the weather conditions delegates were contending with for the past several years (at least since this ‘reporter’ has been attending the annual Classis meetings in March). However, this year that description of the weather would not even come close to what it was like. The roads were dry and the snow was all but gone from the surrounding plains. The weather conditions were pleasant and warm. The Lord had given us spring-like conditions in which to conduct the business of the church; and it was a beautiful picture of the mood of the delegates to the 27th Annual Northern Classis Meeting on March 12 at Hope Reformed Church in Pierre, SD.
The meeting opened with prayer and an encouraging devotional given by Rev. David Dawn entitled, “Dealing with Discouragement,” with Hebrews 12:1–17 as his text. After the devotional, the meeting of Classis was called to order. There were a few items that I think would be of interest. First, new officers were elected. Because Rev. McGee was called to the Mitchell church, which is within the South Central Classis, the Northern Plains Classis lost its clerk, and Rev. James Grossmann was ‘eager’ to fill that vacancy and the rest of the delegates of Classis had no problem electing him to that position (he actually was elected as clerk of Classis at the Fall meeting, so he was re-elected at this meeting). In addition, Elder Ralph Kusler decided to retire as treasurer this year, and again, someone was eager to fill the position. And again, the delegates of Classis had no problem electing Elder Matt Fickbohm to the position of Treasurer. Rev. Bill Haddock was elected to the position of Vice- President and Rev. David Dawn was re-elected President of Classis for the sixth year. We thank the Lord for these men who are serving faithfully as officers of Classis.
The next item of interest was the Special Order item, which was the ordination exam of Licentiate J. P. Mosley. Mr. Mosley had submitted two theological papers for Classis to consider; one entitled, “Eternal Reward,” the other entitled, “God’s Decree of Reprobation and His Attribute of Love.” Mr. Mosley was examined on the floor of Classis in the areas of RCUS Constitution and RCUS History and the Three Forms of Unity. It was agreed by the delegates of Classis that Mr. Mosley sustained his exams and was congratulated by the members of Classis with the right hand of fellowship. A tentative date of April 15 has been set for his ordination as a Minister of the Word, and installation as pastor of Hope Reformed Church, Pierre, SD.
The third item of interest concerns the mission works of Classis. There are two works: one in Watertown, SD, and the other in Dickinson, ND. Covenant Reformed Church in Watertown, SD, is without a pastor since Rev. Mike McGee was called to Mitchell, SD, in November of last year. Please keep this struggling congregation in your prayers as they seek a new minister to pastor the flock and minister God’s Word there.
A lot of work has been accomplished by the missions committee in its effort to establish the Dickinson mission, which has now taken the name, “First Reformed Chapel.” The consistory of Salem Reformed Church of Ashley, ND has taken on the responsibility of the oversight of First Reformed Chapel, and in consultation with the classis permanent home mission committee a call was given to Rev. Dale Clark to be an associate pastor with the duties of being the missionary in Dickinson. In addition to calling Rev. Clark to be the missionary to the Dickinson area, Salem Reformed Church purchased a parsonage. It was determined that because of the extremely high cost of rent in Dickinson, it would be more prudent to purchase a home outside of Dickinson, about 20 miles east in the town of Taylor. There are three families that make up the core group with a fourth family that began to attend a month or two ago on a regular basis. This fourth family is excited about the work and is anxious for their daughter to begin catechism classes. With the other families, there will be 5 or 6 children that will begin catechism classes. There is eagerness and excitement in all of the families, which together continually promote this mission work to their family, friends, and business associates. Please pray for continued growth in this work, both in the faith and in numbers, that their understanding of the Reformed would grow even deeper, their commitment to God’s work may grow stronger, and that God would be pleased to draw more of His people into their midst, blessing them with His grace, mercy, and strength.
The calling of Rev. McGee to Grace Reformed Church in Mitchell, SD, and Rev. Clark to be missionary in Dickinson, ND, has left two of our churches with vacant pulpits: Kassel Reformed Church, Anamoose, ND, and Covenant Reformed Church in Watertown, SD. Both of these churches are struggling in one form or another. Please keep them in your prayers as they seek to fill their pulpits with men who will faithfully preach God’s Word, and minister to God’s people in these churches.
Also keep all of our churches in your prayers as we struggle with significant decline in membership in our congregations. Our desire is to grow in membership, not decrease; and so, we ask that you join us in prayer as we seek the Lord’s direction and wisdom in this matter.