Since the last report regarding the Covenant Reformed Fellowship appeared in the Standard Bearer, we have moved our worship services from Larne to Ballymena. The reason for our move was the greater interest shown in that area, both in our special midweek meetings and in responses to our newspaper adverts for free booklets.
Our decision to move to Ballymena has been vindicated by the increasing number of visitors who are attending our worship services. We now have two new families and four individuals who are regularly attending our evening worship service. There is a great appreciation amongst our visitors for the preaching which they hear and an understandable resentment of the fact that their own ministers who claim to be Calvinistic and Reformed have so abjectly failed to declare the whole counsel of God to them.
Apart from our worship services on a Sunday, we continue with our midweek Bible study on the Belgic Confession. We also have five catechism classes for our children and young people. As part of our outreach work we frequently hold special public midweek meetings at which one of the visiting Protestant Reformed ministers preaches a sermon on a subject of special interest. We advertise these meetings widely and send out letters of invitation to those on our mailing list. Our last special meeting was held during the month of November when Rev. Cammenga was with us. His subject was “Biblical Amillennialism.” We were pleased to have eighteen visitors in attendance at this meeting.
We have commenced over the past year to place brief articles in the newspapers. Subjects dealt with have been, “What Is the Battle For the Presbyterian Church?”, “May a Presbyterian Church Refuse to Baptize Infants?”, and “What It Means to be Reformed.” At the end of the article we offer a free booklet which deals with the subject in greater detail. The number of requests resulting from these three adverts is in excess of one hundred.
Apart from the collective outreach work of the Fellowship, each member is involved in the work of evangelism through the distribution of sermons on tapes, free booklets, and the sale of R.F.P.A. books to friends and relatives.
Alongside the numerical growth of our Fellowship and the encouraging results from our outreach work, we are conscious that under the faithful ministry of various Protestant Reformed ministers, we ourselves have grown spiritually both in our knowledge of and love for God and for one another.
We feel a deep sense of gratitude to our gracious, sovereign God that, while many of our brethren and sisters in Christ remain in churches where the glorious truth of God’s sovereignty is not proclaimed, it has pleased Him through the means of the Protestant Reformed Churches to give unto us preaching that is thoroughly biblical and therefore distinctively Reformed.
We would like to take this opportunity publicly to thank the Protestant Reformed Churches for all the help they have given us over the past four years. We are, as far as the church world is concerned, a small group of insignificant people, hardly worthy, many would think, of the sacrifices you have made on our behalf. We should especially like to thank the Mission Committee, Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church, Rev. VanBaren, and those ministers who have been willing to come over and help us.
While it is true that many good things can be said about the work here, we must together face up to the fact that all is not well. One thing we lack. Despite being designated a mission field in June, 1990 and the call to labor here being issued to eight different ministers, we do not yet have a missionary. This is a matter of great concern for us, as it must also be for the Protestant Reformed Churches if they are serious about doing mission work. Much has been done to secure a minister for this field. More can be done. We make this plea. To the members of the calling church: make the matter of whom you should call the subject of serious consideration and prayer.
To the ministers who are called: consider the greatness of our need. Our growth and establishment as a congregation depends on our securing a man to work among us.
To the members of churches whose ministers are called: consider the possibility that our need may be greater than yours. If that is the case, it is your duty to encourage your minister to accept the call to labor in our fellowship. Such self-sacrifice will not go unrewarded (Luke 18:29, 30).
To all members of the Protestant Reformed Churches and all who love the Bride of Christ, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38).
John Clarke, Sec’y.
Covenant Reformed Fellowship