A news article caught my eye earlier this week and the parallels to some discussions in Presbyterian branches induced me to write about it here. But before I dive into this a very short polity note.
This discussion involves a couple of Reformed churches who are very close cousins to the Presbyterian family. Their levels of governing bodies are parallel to those found in Presbyterian branches but with slightly different names: At the congregational level the church is governed by the consistory which is like the session. At the local level the classis is similar to a presbytery. There are regional synods like those in some Presbyterian branches. And at the highest level is a General Synod.
Regarding the classis a couple of details. The first is important for this discussion – the plural of classis is classes, as in the title of this piece. The term classis comes from the Latin where classis means a military group invoking the image of churches as boats journeying together in one fleet. A polity point that is not as important here but is interesting is that unlike a presbytery which continues to exist between meetings a classis only exists during the meeting. And finally, if you have a Google alert set for “classis” what you mostly get are misspellings of “classic/classics” or a typo of “class is” – In case you care.