Mr. Kamps is the retiring secretary for the RFPA board.
Dear RFPA Members and Friends,
Having recently completed another year of publishing, we once more thankfully acknowledge the keeping and provision of our faithful God and Savior.
The RFPA is bustling with activity and work. The many-faceted aspects of the work are carried out by board members, editors, writers, translators, volunteers, copy designers, committee members, and managers, all aiming with one purpose to witness to the heritage that is ours in the Reformed faith.
Our Standard Bearer now goes to 48 states, all except North Dakota and Utah, and to 27 foreign countries. Subscriptions increased the past year by 135, so that currently 2,813 copies of each issue are mailed. Our long-standing gift subscription at half-price program proves to be worthwhile in gaining new subscribers to our magazine. This program has handled and filled 2000 gift subscriptions over the last ten years. It appears that we enjoy an approximate 20 percent return in gaining long-term subscribers with this program. We take this opportunity to remind our friends and supporters about this special gift subscription offer and request that you make use of it in your own life and witness to others.
As promised last year, all 75 Standard Bearer volumes were made available on a three-CD set. This proved to be an ambitious—and expensive—project. The Dutch language complicated the scanning process, as did the brittle paper of the earlier volumes. We ended up paying in excess of $16,000 to get the job done. When finished, the three-CD set was priced at $125.00, with a special introductory offer of $75.00. To our delight we found the interest in these CDs had been underestimated. We received some 250 orders, so that we ended slightly on the profit side. As near as we can tell, the CDs are serving well, especially the search feature for locating articles on specific topics or issues spanning the 75 SB volumes.
We have given the Standard Bearer a new look. There’s the new cover design with its background logo, and inside there is the use of color, shadows, and gradient bars and boxes. There’s some change also in type style. All together, we are favorably impressed with the SB’s new look.
Regular gifts to the Standard Bearer remained constant and very substantial at $46,500 again this past year. Our gifts have exactly doubled from a decade ago, as has our overall income now, at over $115,000 annually. This is very encouraging to us. We heartily thank our subscribers and friends for the generous gifts and support again this past year.
Book publishing and planning is going full tilt. This past year two new books were published and there are several more planned for the coming year. Work progresses on many and various other book projects.
For Thy Truth’s Sake, published in May for the commemoration of the PRC’s 75th anniversary celebration, has sold 1,429 copies to date; and Portraits of Faithful Saints, published last September, has sold 1,186 copies.
Several books are currently sold out and will be republished this year. Behold He Cometh will soon be available again in hard cover. Enhancements to this volume include a table of contents, scripture index, and an extensive subject index. Whosoever Will, originally published in 1945, remains a classic and will now be reprinted for the sixth time. Voice of Our Fathers is also sold out. It will get a new cover design and be reprinted. A new revised RFPA edition of Reformed Education by Professor Engelsma will soon be off the press. This work, out of print for 20 years, was originally published in 1977 by the Federation of PRC Schools and later in 1981 by the Federation of Young People’s Societies. The revising of Reformed Dogmatics, begun two years ago, has proved to be a significantly larger task than first thought. It is, however, progressing well, and we foresee possibly having this book available again in late 2001.
We anticipate publishing two new books again this coming year. The first volume (From Creation to the Flood) of our planned nine or ten-volume set entitled Unfolding Covenant History, promised last year, is expected in time for Christmas. Also, God’s Grace is Particular, written by Dr. Abraham Kuyper and translated by Mr. Marvin Kamps, is currently in the process of copy editing and design. We look forward to the publication of this title this coming summer. Relatively few of the hundreds of works by the extraordinary Dr. Kuyper are available to the English reader. We think it a unique privilege that the RFPA is able to make available for the church of Christ today this exciting defense of particular grace.
There is more good news in the area of translation. Marriage, the Mystery of Christ and His Church, by Professor Engelsma, has recently been translated into the Korean language by Rev. Sung Ho Lee, who holds a Th.M. degree from Calvin Seminary and is minister in the Presbyterian Church of Korea. Najeunultari (Na-gin-wool-tar-e) of Seoul, Korea will soon publish this translation. Najeunultari is a multi-faceted publishing house, mission office, wedding and life ministry, and music academy. Representatives of Najeunultari are very enthusiastic about this distinctive message on marriage and the publication of this book in Korean.
Overall, book sales are up 62% over last year. This corresponds to a healthy 9,133 volumes sold. Support for book publishing by our friends and readers is very encouraging. Our call last year at this time for financial gifts did not go unheeded. Gifts to book publishing tripled over the previous year. Because of solid book sales and the support received by gifts we have exceeded our financial goal. We ended with $65,000 on the plus side, which will be used for publishing additional works this coming year. A year ago it appeared we would have to borrow monies to meet our publishing objectives. Today this appears to be no longer necessary. We sincerely thank our supporters for making this possible.
We are enhancing our ability to promote the RFPA organization and its publications by more effectively utilizing Internet technology. Recognizing that the Internet is especially suited as a tool to achieve our purpose, we invested in a professional, complete overhaul and design of our web site. The first phase of this is scheduled to be launched this week, with Phase II planned for December. Features include New Site Design, for a new look and feel. A database-driven Catalog will have well laid out book pages, and will support other product types such as magazines, pamphlets, CDs, and tapes. Shopping Cart will allow customers to add books to a shopping cart and purchase the books on-line using a credit card. Membership management will allow customers to enter a username and password to access their account, and sign up for book club membership. Database-driven E-mail mailing enables us to announce new publications and send e-mail newsletters to customers. Web Site statistics and usage report feature will give us the ability to determine how many visitors visit the site and where they are from.
Our Book Club Membership program, through which new books are launched, continues to grow. One hundred twenty new members were added this past year, so that the Book Club now numbers 870.
We express our sincere appreciation to Professor Engelsma as our Standard Bearer editor. We thank him for an outstanding job and for the sound leadership and distinctively Reformed direction he gives to our Standard Bearer. We are thankful that he continues willing to serve in this role as Standard Bearer Editor-in-Chief. We take this opportunity to encourage our regular department editors and contributors as well. We heartily thank them for their sacrifice and hard work in writing and contributing to our magazine again this past year.
We say thank you both to Don Doezema and Evelyn Langerak as our Standard Bearer and Book Publications managers. Thanks for your regular and diligent labor in behalf of our organization and publications. We thank our regular staff members Judi Doezema and Natalie Jefferson for the fine, conscientious work they do in performing a multitude of tasks both on behalf of Standard Bearer and book publishing. Thanks to our volunteer assistants, Mrs. John Veldman and Dave and Karen Dykstra, for their assistance in mailing each issue of the Standard Bearer, and also Suet Yin, wife of Singaporean seminarian Paul Goh, who helps in book publishing, packaging, scanning, and typing. In addition, there are many others who give volunteer assistance as needed and when called upon by our staff. The value and usefulness of your help is inestimable. We need more volunteer help. Please contact us if you would like to give us a hand or if you have skills in areas you think we can use.
As we look forward to the coming year we pray for the grace to persevere with zeal in the work, and also that God will continue to bless the RFPA so that His truth may triumph and prosper to the glory of His name.