The meeting opened with a devotion preached by Rev. Ruben Zartman. He exhorted the body from James 1:16-22, focusing on the statement, “For the anger of man does not produce the righteous of God.” The roll call showed 17 delegates present. That number dropped as low as 15 at various times because of illness or other appointments. There were actually about 26 men eligible.
The brethren honored Rev. Tracy Gruggett’s wish to step back from president of the executive. Rev. Doug Schelgel of Lodi was elected as president after having ably served as stated clerk for several years. Elder Jerry DeYoung of Lodi was elect to the vice-president position, and Elder Tim Curtis of Modesto is the new stated clerk. Elder Nathan Schelgel of Lodi was re-elected as Classis treasurer, a position that he has very competently and enthusiastically served for a few years now. We thank the Lord of the church for giving these men the willingness to serve in these capacities.
A large portion of the first day involved the reading and receiving of pastoral reports. These were all read by their respective ministers or elders in sequences of three, followed by a time of prayer for each congregation and their officers. There is much in these reports to commend them. One sees church officers diligently carrying out their duties. Each of the churches is blessed with close fellowship. A few of the churches saw a depletion of membership, others saw some increases. Most remained the same as last year. Overall, the membership numbers decreased. One congregation, First Reformed Church of Yuba City, disbanded. However, Classis approved a year’s worth of funds to potentially salvage the congregation. Among other things, three ministers reported that they are considering retirement in the next few years.
On the home mission’s front, the Western Classis continues to support the work Valle De Gracia, pastored by Rev. Valentine Alpuche. This work is proving to be very viable. Along with Rev. Ruben Zartman, Rev. Alpuche teaches with Seminario de las Americas through City Seminary, and is translating many reformed works into Spanish. Classis voted to continue its financial support of Valle De Gracia in the amount of $15,984.00, which is the same as the previous year.
Classis approve Elder Tim Curtis’ ordination, and he will be installed as pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Modest, CA. The Modesto congregation is also working to establish a mission work in Weiser, Idaho. This effort will be assisted by Classis.
The congregation in Willows is currently seeking a new pastor and hopes to call a man in the near future.
Classis considered for ratification two changes to the RCUS constitution. One amendment allows churches to join the RCUS on a provisional status for two years after which a final determination will be made. A second amendment allows for no less than three Classes in the denomination. Both amendments were ratified. In addition, the brethren also ratified a change to the local constitution of Covenant Reformed Church of Sacramento so that the NKJV as well as the KJV are authorized to be used in the church.
The number on the roll of ministers remains the same. Classis removed Rev. Sam Powell from the roll but received Rev. Chester Au from the Harbor of Grace Reformed Church in Milbrae. Classis intends to bring Harbor of Grace RC into the RCUS. The executive committee of Classis will help them develop a constitution. WC will have a special Classis meeting in Bakersfield, on May 8 before the convening of Synod to examine Rev. John Sawtelle. Should Rev. Sawtelle sustain his examination, the WC will have two pastors to present to Synod to be accepted from other denominations.
Financially, Classis set the guidelines for Classical giving at $100.00, which is $10.00 less that last year.
We enjoyed warm fellowship during the meeting. On Tuesday evening we held a worship service in which Rev. Alpuche preached. The meeting was shorter than normal; we finished our work and dismissed Wednesday evening. We thank the congregations in Shafter for their excellent hospitality.
Ebenezer Reformed Church