Dear RFPA Members and Friends,
The Reformed Free Publishing Association has as its express aim and purpose to publish the truth of God as specifically maintained and developed within the Protestant Reformed Churches. Our association, organized almost three quarters of a century ago, still exists today by the grace of God for the same purpose. Our name emphasizes that purpose and aim. Reformed indicates what we desire as to the contents of our publications. Free means that we are under no institutional supervision or control. That we are a Publishing Association reveals that our purpose and intention is to make propaganda as a body of Reformed Christians, particularly as witnesses to the truth of God.
The RFPA labors, therefore, as an association of believers who witness to the Reformed faith in distinction from the official preaching and missionary task of the instituted church. The witness of the RFPA is free and not institutional. That the RFPA is a free witness means that it can never come under the power or be used in the influence of a corrupted institution. Consequently, the RFPA is the believer’s witness over against all corruption and unfaithfulness. It is free. The individual believer, therefore, through his interest and involvement in the RFPA, has a most beautiful opportunity to exercise the office of believer.
In this connection, it is important that we gain new members to join our association. One priority of the board is actively to promote the RFPA for this purpose. To help accomplish this goal we have planned a semi-annual newsletter called the RFPA Update, 4,000 copies of the first issue having been recently completed and mailed. The purpose of our newsletter will be to inform our readership regarding the RFPA itself, our activities and plans, and to promote membership in the association.
The Standard Bearer magazine continues a healthy subscription base and prospers under the capable editorship of Prof. Engelsma. Currently we mail 2,481 copies of each issue, of which 56 percent are Protestant Reformed subscribers. Gifts for the Standard Bearer this past year totaled $52,000, reaching an all-time high. We take this opportunity to give our heartfelt thanks to our many subscribers and friends for their generous gifts and support again this past year. Correspondence from our readership indicates that our magazine continues to be a great blessing to many, and obviously there is much appreciation for its distinctive character. More and more it is evident too that our Standard Bearer is unique among the religious press as a faithful testimony to the creedal Reformed faith. We are greatly encouraged by the interest in and hunger for the pure word of truth.
Book planning and publishing have a large role in our activities and require much effort for the board and staff members. Accomplishments this past year include one new book entitled Ready To Give An Answer, the reprinting of two books, Believers and Their Seed, and Marriage, the Mystery of Christ and the Church. Also completed was the publishing of a new, expanded, hardcover index to the Standard Bearer volumes 1-73. Our goals for the coming year include several more book projects. The republishing of our flagship volume, Reformed Dogmatics, is already underway. In preparation for this project, input was solicited from our professors and ministers, and to our delight we received many valuable suggestions for improvements that will be made to this volume. New books scheduled to be published are: the Romans series of 96 sermons of H. Hoeksema, the translating and publishing of That Grace Is Particular by Abraham Kuyper, the first volume of Old Testament History by H.C. Hoeksema, the Commemorative 75th Anniversary History of the PRC by Prof. Hanko, and several reprint projects, including Genesis by Rev. Harbach, Come Ye Children by Gertrude Hoeksema, and Reformed Education by Prof. Engelsma.
We have made significant improvements in our facilities and equipment this past year for the purpose of increasing efficiency in our operations, and with a goal to making publishing of books faster and easier. We remodeled and enlarged our office and our packaging-mailing-storage areas, with four modern workstations purchased and installed for our staff personnel. A Macintosh G3 Computer system was purchased and has been installed, enabling us to perform typesetting, page layout, and book design of publishing projects in-house. We also purchased new copying equipment, upgraded our PC workstation computers, and installed our own phone system, fax machine, and e-mail address. In addition, we have designed our own Web Site, where our books and Standard Bearer magazine are attractively displayed for transmission worldwide. Ordering of books has now been made much simpler and faster for customers because of our installation of Electronic Ordering via IC Verify Software, which allows us to process credit cares via the internet. This has greatly enhanced our ability to market and sell our publications, especially in foreign countries.
Books offered in the RFPA catalog number 50 titles. A new, updated catalog is currently being planned and is scheduled to be out next spring for your review. Our books are literally going to the ends of the earth. Orders come from all across Canada, in the British Isles, Africa, Peru, Japan, Denmark, Korea, Brazil, Australia, and many other places throughout Europe and Asia. Book sales have been robust again this past year. No fewer than 8,000 volumes have been sold and shipped. Our Book Club Membership Program, through which new titles are launched and our initial publishing investment recovered, has increased 25% again this past year and now includes 700 club members. This is an increase of over 300 new members in just two years!
We express our sincere thanks to Prof. Engelsma for his devotion as Editor-in-Chief and for the excellent work done on behalf of our Standard Bearer. We realize the tremendous effort it takes to write worthwhile articles for our magazine. We therefore express our thanks and appreciation also to the regular department editors and contributors for the many fine articles and contributions again this past year that make our magazine worthy of its name.
We also thank our Standard Bearer Business Manager Don Doezema and our Book Publications Manager Evelyn Langerak for their hard work and persevering spirit again this past year. Truly they are a tremendous asset in making the many decisions day-to-day in order to carry out the details involved in bringing our Standard Bearer and books to print. We also thank our capable assistants and staff members: Judi Doezema, for her work in keeping financial records and typesetting each Standard Bearer, and Natalie Jefferson, who provides book editing/proofreading, general assistance, and the copy for our newsletter. We give special thanks to Mr. Tim Hanko, who has given many hours designing our Web Page, and who continues to perform the work of maintaining and upgrading this site regularly.
We look forward to beginning our 75th year, marking a milestone that is occasion for thanksgiving. As we think of it, we are amazed that God has privileged us to continue abiding in the faith of our fathers these many years. We give God praise and thanksgiving for His grace and faithfulness. Our prayer is that He will give us the will and grace to persevere in being an effective witness to our Reformed heritage in this age of indifference and apostasy.
A reader recently wrote to tell us of his thrill with our Standard Bearer and reminding us of what our posture must be: “Man-centered religion is false and deadly. Salvation is of the Lord! To Him be the glory!” Let that be our conviction and the theme of all our work as we continue to go forward together in the work of the RFPA.
In Christ’s service,
Henry Kamps, Secretary