Who or what is a stated clerk and what do they do? The answer to that question goes hand in hand with what a classis is. It used to be clearly understood that classis was a “major assembly” which existed only when it met. Thus, Church Order Article 32b stipulates that “In major assemblies the above named offices [note: meaning that of president and clerk—HG] shall cease when the assembly adjourns.”
For stated clerks, we have either conveniently ignored that article, probably from the day this article was written and adopted, or called the clerk a secretary and given ongoing responsibilities. Taking accurate minutes at a meeting has become an increasingly smaller part of a growing role for a clerk. That role grows as classis itself more obviously shows that it is more than a meeting but is also a regional expression of the body of Christ, embracing and connecting congregations, being connected to other parts of the larger body as denomination, and as body of Christ also engaging in area and regional ministries.
A clerk often acts then as a conduit for communication; a resource for information and proper procedure; a guardian of historical memory, records and decisions; a representative and link to the broader body; and an instigator of (or irritant for) actions needing to be done or prepared for in facilitating the ongoing functions of Classis. In short, a clerk has a multidimensional ongoing responsibilities.
I’ve experienced this again these past 6 months.
I’ve been a conduit for denominational reports and resources, especially re "The Bridge" App, a Resonate Global Mission survey, and a unique CPE continuing education opportunity in Sioux Falls. I’ve also engaged in and facilitated a good deal of communication between CIC and David Koll, director of candidacy in GR, for our role in the EPMC process (Ecclesiastical Program for Ministerial Candidacy).
I’ve been a resource. I’ve been asked for information about the calling process, availabilities of pastors, legal documents needed for officiating marriages, where to send offerings, proper procedure for requests and reports to classis, feedback on possible requests or overtures, exercise of conscience, credential process, etc.
I’ve been a guardian and record keeper. I’ve written minutes and correspondence for Classis and CIC and keep electronic backup copies and send copies to GR. I especially try to keep track of earlier decisions made along with their implementation and follow up so that they are not lost or forgotten.
I’ve been a representative and link to the broader body. I regularly receive information and updates from the synodical services office re synod or denominational matters, from the Yearbook, etc. This linkage is especially practiced among the Canadian stated clerks as we all share our agendas, minutes, and other official classis documents of common interest and meet twice per year in a vidyo conference with Darren Roorda, Canadian Ministries Director, and Al Postma, Classis Renewal Coordinator, to discuss issues we all deal with as well as the bigger objectives of the denominational 20/20 vision on the Canadian scene. With Al’s help, this linkage among classis clerks is just beginning on the US side now as well.
I’ve been an instigator. I’ve done the task of assembling agendas for the CIC and Classis meetings. I’ve had to connect with approved committee members to inform them of mandates etc., seek out persons who might be interested in serving on committees, find synodical deputies, and arrange logistics for meetings. I have been in touch with the clerks of Classis BC North West to obtain information from them about how they fill out credentials and register delegates for Classis on line in hopes that we might do that someday as well. I’ve also reached out to treasurers re potentially serving as alternate treasurer for Classis. Moving a bit more toward irritation, I also try to encourage everyone to submit their written reports on time for the agenda, even adding incentives where possible.
Henry Gunnink, Stated Clerk, Classis Lake Superior 2018-03-05&06 Agenda