Annual Report, 1990-1991

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens; So states the Word of God as may be found in Ecclesiastes 3:1. In verse 2, and continuing to the end of the book, there are ample illustrations how we mortals are restricted to, are subject to, the regimentation of the time factor in our lives.

The various aspects one may or can experience in a lifetime are thus rehearsed in our ears. Also the vanity of all earthly things and the excellency of heavenly wisdom is herewith set forth.

But read for yourselves the conclusion of the whole matter as found in chapter 12:13, 14.

How many annual reports of one sort or another have not begun by saying, “Another year (time) has passed,” or “Another year (time).has started.” In fact, I think I’ll begin this report in just that way. Another year has passed.

Volume 67 of the Standard Bearer ended September 15, 1991. The October 1 issue begins Volume 68. This issue could be in your homes as of this very evening.

Efforts have been put forth, during the year which has passed, for an improved mailing schedule; but take this into consideration: 2nd class mail does not usually get preferred treatment.

Before we give a brief review of the Board’s other activities and accomplishments, let me express on behalf of the Board a genuine appreciation to the Editor, Editorial Committee, Department Editors, guest writers, and all others who contributed and helped during this past volume-year. Very much included is our ever-busy, ever-capable Business Manager, Mr. Don Doezema, and his wife Judi, who contribute so much, from start to finish, issue after issue of the SB.

The writers continue to set forth and defend the truth of the Scriptures and the rich heritage of the Reformed faith. The Editorial Committee, and especially our Editor, Prof. Engelsma, have seriously attempted to generate a renewed and continuing interest in their subject material. Especially was this evident in the editorials on the Covenant. Letters to the Editor were also found to be stimulating and profitable reading, not only from this series, but from other articles as well.

During the course of this volume-year, consideration was given to ways of further reducing the cost involved in publishing our magazine. Already a year ago we had begun giving the typesetters all of the material for the SB on a computer disk. This year we went a step further and began preparing our own camera ready copy. Before we started using our own equipment, we were paying around $1,500.00 for typesetting and printing of each issue. Now, each issue is prepared at our seminary building, a service for which the RFPA pays the seminary. And, with the selection of a different company to do our printing, we now pay about $1,150.00 per issue, realizing for the SB a savings of approximately $350.00 each time over the previous process.

The RFPA has long been a nonprofit corporation registered with the State of Michigan. This past year we gained, in addition, official IRS recognition of tax exempt status.

Ever interested as a Board to increase our circulation, we gave special attention to gaining new subscribers, not only from a business viewpoint, but more especially in order to share with others the truth of the Scriptures, to promote sound doctrine and upright walk. Our subscription list continues to grow at a modest rate. October 1,198s we had 1,860 subscribers. By September 1, 1991, we have seen an increase to 2,168. Copies go to Singapore, Jamaica, British Isles, mainland Australia, Canada, Tasmania, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, and, if I forgot a country, they go there too, plus all over the U.S.A.

Taking a more aggressive approach in gaining new subscribers, we are beginning to advertise in religious magazines. Last year, we advertised the SB in the Journey Magazine and Christian Observer with positive results.

This year, at our request, Editor Engelsma furnished the Board with a concise and brief statement of who we are and what we stand for. This text was then used as the basis for an ad placed in Christian Renewal, Evangelical Times, and Christianity Today. Since the latest of the ads has appeared only very recently, and response is still coming in, it is premature at this point to declare results of this effort; but we have already been given opportunity to testify as to the distinctives of the Reformed faith.

Twice during this past year, we put out a color cover issue. Through the generosity of a concerned subscriber, we were able to publish these attractive issues at a minimum cost for us. The color cover issue of May 1, 1991 also was special in that it featured 9 articles concerning the Doctrine of Creation. Expressly the various writers were of one mind – Gods Word and work, no if’s, and’s, or but’s.

The excellent financial support we receive through church collections and individual gifts is encouraging and gratifying. We are grateful to our God for your prayers and gifts.

The Board is considering the updating of the SB Index, which currently includes the first 57 volumes.

By the way, first-time subscribers can still, for only $6.00, receive 21 issues of the SB – that is, the first year for one-half the regular cost. We firmly believe that the message of the SB is worthy of the widest possible readership; and this one-half price offer is our way of encouraging people to become subscribers to it. We are glad to report also that we have the cooperation of some church extension committees in promoting the SB through their mailing-list contacts.

Allow me to end my report with a personal observation. From time to time having duties that brought me to the seminary building, I observed and spoke to a pleasant and charming young lady who was busy for some weeks cutting, trimming, and pasting on sheets of paper English written articles from the SB volumes 1-20. Because many of the articles of these volume-years (1924-1944) are in the Dutch language, which the vast majority of our readers are unable to read, the Board decided to extract the English articles and make them available some day in volume books. The young lady who did so much work for this project was Stephanie Rawson, daughter of Rev. Philip Rawson, Pastor of Measbro Dyke Evangelical Church of Barnsley, England. She lived with Prof. Hanko and family for close to a year, and during that time spent countless hours at the seminary. We thank her here, publicly, for her efforts.

Nine years ago, I concluded an Annual SB report with an observation made by Rev. C. Hanko, who was at that time resigning as a regular writer and staff member. In the December 1, 1981 issue he wrote as follows: “The pulpit and the printed page must never grow weary of sounding the trumpet, arousing the church to battle, and warning her of the foes within and without the gate.”

Uppermost is the prayer of the psalmist: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Ps. 103:1, 2).

Respectfully submitted,

Peter Koole, Secretary