Classis as a Corporation?

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Recently the question was asked if our Classis was incorporated. Since our Classis goes back to 1898 (according to the CRC Yearbook), would CRCNA have that information on file? Our Classis was renamed in 1971 (according to the CRC Yearbook). Who keeps the history? Is Classis a separate organization from the churches it represents? Do we have to be incorporated?

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We have long encouraged local congregations to incorporate and offer model Articles of Incorporation for both US and Canadian churches within the Church Order Supplement to Article 32.  Classes have been encouraged more recently, especially in Canada to incorporate and today almost all are.

Dr. Henry DeMoor, in his book Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary notes on page 195 that the reason for incorporation has traditionally been focused on protecting the property and assets of the organization.  However, since few classes own real property, incorporation was less common.  He points out that in more recent years, classes have incorporated themselves to make it possible to insure against liability arising out of lawsuits directed at classical agencies or leadership.  The recent question you reference was an inquiry from my office to determine the feasibility for the possible creation of group coverage for Officer and Director insurance for all the classes that are incorporated.  A classis that is not incorporated does not have a legal entity to insure.

As far as who would have the records of whether or not your classis is incorporated?  I would suggest checking with the classis treasurer or the denominational archives as being the sources to begin your search.

 

Admin

Thanks for the helpful resources, John! If interested in reading more, the Christian Reformed Church Order Commentary can be purchased here. Also, the website for the denominational Archives can be found here

Participant

As John has already said, I'd suggest asking your classical clerk or treasurer.  I am not sure how this works in the US, but in Canada corporations are required to file information annually.  For that reason the person who takes care of your records should know whether your classis has been incorporated.   

 

Thanks for the responses. Note - I am the Classis Treasurer. Being involved in a couple of non-profit corporations in Michigan I see the increase in regulations for such organizations and look at the organization of Classis and wonder if it's the way to go.  About 15 years ago when we had a new incoming Stated Clerk, the "organization" of Classis was looked at in relationship to the churches, and its role as an "independent" organization. What is the legal role of Classis with the CRC and the churches it serves? If the CRC is looking to have the Classis incorporated, could it provide a process to assist them? It could save a lot of headaches and legal fees. 

Our classis is incorporated because we have classis coordinators in various roles, such as diaconal, prayer, communicaitons, growth. In this case it's clearer to incorporate, I think. 

 

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