Mr. Kamps is the retiring secretary of the RFPA.
Dear RFPA Members and Friends,
Greetings on behalf of the RFPA board. Once again, having a long-standing tradition spanning more than 70 years, we meet tonight as the Reformed Free Publishing Association in order to review the decisions and accomplishments of the past year, and to carry on the affairs of this association.
At our last annual meeting, the decision was made to merge the PCPPRL book publishing arm with the RFPA organization so that we would be one board publishing both the Standard Bearer and book publications. This report will give an overview of our activities in regard to the merger, and a perspective of our work in both publishing areas.
The merger challenged the board to begin charting a new course for the REPA. Our work has concentrated in building a new structure designed to serve effectively for the future Standard Bearer and book publishing endeavor. Involved was a complete change in the way our organization functions through its board, committees, business manager, and assistants. We happily report that significant progress has been made this past year, and our restructuring should serve well for the future publishing endeavors of the REPA.
Our board functions through three standing committees. The Membership/Information/Education Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Publication and Book Committee.
The M.I.E. Committee is now responsible for the promotion, marketing, and distribution of all the RFPA publications. This committee oversees orders, mailing, and the storage of our publications.
The Finance Committee is now responsible for the financial aspects of both the Standard Bearer and book publishing operations. This involves subscription rates, book pricing, discounts, inventory, cash flow, employee compensation, new equipment purchasing, printing rates, and accounting.
The Publication and Book Committee is now responsible for new and reprint book publishing. This involves meeting with writers, exploring new book possibilities, evaluating manuscripts, developing design, recommending layout, binding, and other details regarding the publishing of books.
Our Business Manager, Don Doezema, now oversees the day-to-day operations of both the Standard Bearer and books. This has presented new challenges, and increased the area of responsibility and workload for Don. This is due to the merger creating changes in our day-to-day operations, office functions, and staff as well. We appreciate the vision and input Don has given to the board in helping consolidate many of the office functions so that we can achieve greater efficiency and harmony for both the Standard Bearer and book operations.
The board has decided to hire an additional assistant for our Business Manager, giving us a total of two assistants, Judi Doezema and Evelyn Langerak. Judi is responsible for the Standard Bearer typesetting, layout, subscriptions, and accounting. Evelyn is responsible for tasks associated with book publishing such as filling orders, mailing, invoicing, book promotion, inventory, and the many details involved with bringing a book to print. We want to thank our capable business manager, Don, and our assistants, Judi and Evelyn, for their fine work and efforts this past year. We thank them, too, for their helpful suggestions, input, and cooperation.
The board also thanks our editor- in-chief, Prof. Engelsma, for his capable leadership, and for distinct, sound, edifying editorials. We also thank our other writers and contributors who have faithfully labored in supplying material for various rubrics in behalf of God’s truth, making our magazine worthy of its name.
The board purchased more computer equipment to be used for updating the SB index, a data base for Standard Bearer and book customers, book inventory control, and improved efficiency in mailing, invoicing, and shipping of our SB and book publications.
At the suggestion of our editor- in-chief, the board applied for a registered trademark with the proper government agencies for the “Standard Bearer” name. This has now been granted both by the State of Michigan and the Federal government, protecting the name of our magazine from infringement by others who would, entertain using the SB name for their own periodical.
We have begun advertising our book publications in the SB. This is a benefit resulting from our merger, and with the new volume year you will see regular advertisements for RFPA book publications in your Standard Bearer.
Currently, the board is also working on a project with our publications designer, Jeff Steenholdt, to enhance the looks and readability of the Standard Bearer. Recommendations are being prepared that will include new layout, design, and cover for our magazine.
The SB continues to receive good financial support through church collections and gifts from our faithful readers and supporters. Gifts again this year helped pay just under 50% of the costs involved in producing the Standard Bearer. We take this opportunity to say thanks to our subscribers and friends for their generous and hearty support of our magazine.
We are actively pursuing the promotion of our books. In this connection we designed an entirely new, full-color catalog that features each book, presenting them all attractively to our customers and readers. This catalog was sent to many schools, libraries, seminaries, bookstores, and customers around the globe.
The board is working on several exciting book publishing ventures as well. In various stages of progress are three reprints and several new books. First in the reprinting category is Reformed Education, by Prof. Engelsma. This book is being extensively revised by the author and will receive a completely redesigned cover. Also being reprinted is Believers and Their Seed, by H. Hoeksema. This book will include an interesting new preface written by Prof. Engelsma, and also a newly designed cover. Also being republished is Marriage, the Mystery of Christ and His Church, by Prof. Engelsma. This republication will include the book’s original material on the doctrine of marriage, and, in addition, a very scholarly new section examining the history of marriage in the New Testament church and the Reformation period.
We also have several new book projects in various stages of progress. Our first will be a series of sermons on the book of Romans preached by the late Herman Hoeksema, which were originally taken down word for word as they were preached. This wonderful series of sermons is the possession of Mr. James Swart, and we thank him for making this treasure available for our publishing. Another new book scheduled is by Prof. Engelsma on the doctrine of eschatology. This book originated as a series of lectures given over the past two years by the author in the Grand Rapids area. We also have several new books from the pen of Prof. Hanko in progress. The first is a work on the doctrine of prayer, entitled When You Pray, which originated from a post-confession class taught by the author over the past several years. In addition, Prof. Hanko is completing a work called Lest We Forget. This book will include a doctrinal history of the PRC, and a catechism teaching the doctrinal controversies of 1924 and 1953. Finally, also by Prof. Hanko, there is a work entitled Heroes of Faith. This book is a collection of biographical portraits of various significant figures in the history of the church of the new dispensation.
We continually receive correspondence from various places and individuals telling us of their fond appreciation and gratitude for our publications. We cannot quote from these letters now due to the length of this report, but the evidence that our publications continue to be of great spiritual benefit to many is overwhelming. This would indicate our calling to persevere energetically in the important work of publishing more works that proclaim the pure gospel of grace. Happily, the RFPA is re-structured, and is determined to publish new works on a regular, consistent basis. Our concern therefore is that our ministers, teachers, and professors give careful consideration to their calling to prepare and write new, good, Reformed material for our publishing.
The RFPA board will continually need energetic, talented men to serve as board members to carry out the work. Board members must be nominated from the RFPA membership. The work engaged in by the RFPA is worthwhile, and worthy of the best talents. If you are living in the Grand Rapids area, and are not a member of the RFPA, we ask you, Will you join us? We encourage you to come to our next annual meeting in September and become a RFPA member.
In conclusion, we thankfully acknowledge God’s goodness in prospering and blessing the work of the RFPA. May God grant us continued faithfulness in promoting the gospel of grace in the fearful, present apostasy. God grant us steadfastness, as board, publishing society, and writers to the further establishment of His Kingdom, and the glory of His blessed name.