Classis Name Survey
Synod 2018 received an overture proposing that the name "Classis" be changed to "Regional Assembly." Below is the original overture as well as Synod's response. In order to solicit input to best respond to Synod's request for analysis, please fill out a survey by clicking here.
Overture to Synod 2018
Classis Eastern Canada overtures synod to change the title classis to regional assembly.
- The word classis is an old Latin European word that communicates to very few people in our North American society outside of Reformed churches. In fact, increasingly it does not communicate to people within Reformed churches. As such, in order to be hospitable when speaking with a group of people (e.g., a congregation), the word requires explanation every time it is used. Note: Our denomination’s website uses the words regional assemblies to explain the word classes: www.crcna.org/ministries (accessed April 5, 2017).
- The word classis is confusing, since it may sound like a homophone for the plural (educational) classes.
- The plural of classis, the word classes, is also confusing, especially in print, where it is a homograph for educational classes.
- The phrase regional assembly is self-explanatory and is descriptive.
- The phrase regional assembly conveys both a geographical reality (generally, part of the reality of what a classis is) and an ecclesiastical reality (more importantly, what a classis is).
- While adapting to the new term would require administrative changes in our denomination (print and web resources, etc.), it would be a worthwhile change because changing to the new title would communicate better in our broader society and so remove a barrier in our mission to proclaim Jesus to all.
The Response from Synod 2018
That synod instruct the Council of Delegates to refer Overture 10 to the Classis Renewal Advisory Team or another appropriate body for analysis, including potential costs involved in a change.
- The financial and legal ramifications involved in making this change are unclear.
- More conversation needs to happen about what terminology would communicate clearly and effectively while remaining sensitive to our history.
- The phrase regional assembly may not be the most appropriate title given current developments such as the proposed definition of a classis and the movement of congregations to classes that are not in their geographical region.
Proposed Definition of Classis, to be discussed at Synod 2019
A classis is a group of Christian Reformed churches that come together to seek, discern, and submit to God’s will; offer one another mutual support and accountability; find ways to live out a collective calling within their region; and allow for a healthy and sustained connection to the wider denomination. A classis shall consist of a group of neighboring churches. The organization of a new classis and the redistricting of classes require the approval of synod.
Classis Renewal Consultant
The Classis Renewal Consultant serves as a resource to the CRCNA Classes to strengthen their health and ministry. While this particular position officially began in Summer 2016, it builds on a long history of classis renewal. Some of the current focuses are: coordinating the support and training for functionaries, coaching Classes who are looking to organize around mission & ministry in fresh ways, and implementing recommendations from the Better Together report. While these are the initial focuses, the position is designed to be flexible to best support the ministry of Classes. Contact Al Postma to discuss anything and everything to do with Classis.
The Classis Network
The Network is a site where people around the denomination come to share stories, resources, and have conversations about ministry. Classis has its own section. It's a one-stop place for everything classis - resources, articles, discussions, and much more. Check it out, sign-up, and join in the conversation!