In the recent article of Rev. L. Vermeer entitled “News from our Western Churches,” in the paragraph inquiring “as to the welfare of our church in Sioux Center” (cf. Standard Bearer of Sept. 1), there are statements that are apt to leave unfavorable impressions of my pastorate in Sioux Center.
My reply to these statements should not be construed as an attack or counter-attack on the author of the article in question. I accept his assurance that he in no way intended to reflect on the labors of the undersigned in his former field. I appreciate, too, the readiness of the Rev. Vermeer to correct any wrong impressions that may have been left with our readers. However, the paragraph as such does leave impressions that should be briefly corrected.
It is true, that Sioux Center had no young people’s society in the past. It is equally true, however, that a little cooperation on the part of both parents and young people with the pastor would have resulted in such a society years ago. Until recently there was no Sunday School in Sioux Center. The reason was, that there was no one capable of teaching Sunday School, whereas the Miss Jensen mentioned in the article of the Rev. Vermeer did not affiliate herself with the congregation until shortly before the undersigned departed for his present field. It is not true, that Sioux Center is now being organized into societies. Before its vacancy of one year there was an active Men’s Society and a very lively Ladies Aid. Neither is it true, that the English language was “long lacking” in Sioux Center, if this long lack of which the brother speaks must be interpreted as meaning that the young people could not understand the Holland language. The statement, “now the young people will also begin to receive the benefit of instruction from God’s Word,” is misleading. I cannot tolerate the impression that my consistory of that time, including myself as shepherd, allowed the youth of the congregation to starve spiritually.
It may be that the author of the question did not anticipate the impression that would be left. Nor is it the question what the brother intended when he wrote. That the article as such does leave damaging impressions every reader may see and judge for himself. The Rev. Vermeer is not sufficiently familiar with the congregation about which he set himself to write.
More could be written about each of the points involved. I trust it will not be necessary. It is unfortunate that these things were written as they were. It shows once again how careful one must be when writing for the public, especially when persons and colleagues become involved.