The 37th Meeting of the Western Classis convened at 1pm on Tuesday, March 1st, 2022, at Covenant Reformed Church of Sacramento, California. . The hospitality of our host was immediately present in warm welcomes, and a light lunch for the delegates. This hospitality continued throughout in good fellowship, good meals, and much attention to our needs and wellbeing.
The roll showed ten ministers and eight elders present, a quorum. Rev. Tracy Gruggett was again elected President, Elder Jerry DeYoung was elected Vice President, Rev. Doug Schlegel was elected Stated Clerk, and Deacon Nathan Schlegel was elected Treasurer.
In addition to the delegates, we had three guests speak to us over the course of the meeting. Jose Fabila gave us an update on the work being done through Seminario Reformada de las Americas in Ecuador, in conjunction with City Seminary of Sacramento. The Seminary is run by Rev. Pablo Landazuri, with 20 students in attendance this year. In addition to Rev. Landazuri, classes are also taught remotely by Rev. Ruben Zartman and Rev. Valentin Alpuche. Please keep this work in your prayers as they seek to spread the word of the Lord in Latin America.
Jim Iwema with Reformed Missions Services also stayed three days with us, and spoke with us about the organization’s programs, which seek to provide aid to NAPARC congregations, and specifically home mission works, with their community outreach and ministry development programs. They also offer disaster response services, as well as foreign mission support programs.
Elder Tom Lagomarsino from Sacramento gave a report on work he and others were recently able to engage in, in an attempt to aid the churches in Myanmar. Christians there are heavily oppressed, and any support is illegal. This makes the work not only very challenging but dangerous. Please join us in praying for the Christians in Myanmar, as well as those attempting to help them.
Parochial reports this year showed several congregations thankful for receiving new members and young families, but an equal number who have not grown, or even lost members, and are greatly desirous of outreach opportunities and growth. We also received multiple reports of a need for officers in the congregations. We give thanks for the many blessings the Lord sends upon His church, but we also pray that He would continue to bring new members to Himself, and that He would equip those congregations to serve and shepherd their members rightly.
We also received reports of failing health, most notably on the part of Rev. Paul Treick of Modesto. While he continues to participate in Christian fellowship and the activities of the church as much as possible, this is becoming increasingly difficult. Though he desired to, he was not able to join us at the Classis meeting this year. Please keep Rev. Treick in your prayers.
Two examinations for the ministry were held this year. The first was Elder Tim Curtis, from Modesto, California. He was examined on Church History, RCUS History, Orthodoxy, and the RCUS Constitution. This exam was sustained. He will have one more examination, on the Heidelberg Catechism, after which he anticipates a call from Modesto.
The second examination was for Rev. Jeff Munive, seeking to transfer his credentials to the RCUS from the URC. Rev. Munive was examined on the Loci of Theology, Apologetics, and RCUS Standards. His examination was sustained. On completion of the examination, Classis also reviewed and approved his call from Grace Reformed Church in Lancaster, contingent on approval from Synod.
As two men seek to fill empty pulpits, we also had two retirements this year. Rev. Eric Bristley of Willows is retiring in order to move to Ohio to assist his mother with significant health concerns. Rev. Jonathan Merica of Stockton has also elected to retire, in order to address medical concerns that he has been putting off over the years. We thank the Lord for the many years of service these these men have given to His church, and pray that He would uphold and bless them each in their trials to come. Please also pray for these congregations, as they now seek to know what the Lord would have them to do.
In one final notable move, Elder Larry Lynch will be moving his family to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in order to attend Heidelberg Theological Seminary. His in-laws, Rev. Neale Riffert and his household, will be moving along with them. Please pray for the Lynch and Riffert households as these California desert natives move to colder climates, and as Elder Lynch’s seminary education progresses.
Throughout the days, the regular business of the Classis was able to be attended to rightly, and in good order. We heard several good devotions, and were able to join together many times in song, and in prayers both of thanks and supplication, knowing that we have a Heavenly Father who delights to answer the prayers of His people. Classis adjourned on Thursday afternoon, to convene again on March 7, 2023, in Shafter.