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With heartfelt gratitude to God, we begin the ninety-seventh year of the Standard Bearer. It should be obvious that in order for the SB to find its way into your mailbox twenty-one times in the next year, many people put in significant effort. That starts with some forty men and women who have committed to write anywhere from three to twenty articles in the next year.1 Behind the scenes, managing editor Charles Terpstra sets the schedule for the writers (and reminds them when theirs are due), edits every contribution submitted, and along with the editors, proofreads every issue. Then there is our efficient, capable, and diligent typesetter, Mrs. Don (Judi) Doezema. You would be amazed at how many years she has devoted to this labor for the kingdom, and at how thorough she still is. And finally, the support staff at the Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) receives the copies from the printer, gets them into the mail, and posts them online besides. Let me take the opportunity to express sincere appreciation to all who have contributed to producing the SB in the last twelve months, and thank all the current writers for their willingness to write.

I am happy to report that few changes are planned for volume 97. One change is in “When Thou Sittest in Thine House.” Mrs. Sue Looyenga asked to be released from her writing duties, and Mrs. Ron (Sherry) Koole agreed to take up the pen in her place. We thank Sue for her contribution and welcome Sherry to the staff. And, after completing his lengthy and interesting exposition of Ecclesiastes, Rev. T. Miersma has requested a year off from writing. Rev. R. Hanko, no stranger to the SB, has agreed to write for “Search the Scriptures” beginning with an explanation of Jonah. We look forward to that. One additional staff writer we welcome is Rev. D. Noorman, who will be writing for “All Around Us.”

A “departure” from the staff that is particularly painful to me is that of Mr. Don Doezema, who asked to be released from writing in “Search the Scriptures.” This is painful for me because my dear friend’s decades of service to the SB come to an end. Into his writing Mr. D. poured his heart and soul. I am certain that no articles in the SB were more carefully or better written than his. He wrote and rewrote his articles countless times with the desire to express the truth of the Bible exactly the right way. His carefully crafted contributions will be missed. Again, we express our thanks for the years of selfless service for the cause of Christ and His church.

Trivia Answer: Mr. Perry Van Egdom writes the “Church News” column in all but the special Reformation issue—thus twenty issues. That is diligence. It is also time consuming. And, sad to say, after 6 years at this post, our News Editor is looking to be replaced. The editors are diligently seeking a replacement for this demanding rubric, but that special individual has yet to be found. Until that happens, Perry has agreed to continue writing. Stay tuned.

As most of our readers know, the RFPA handles the business side of the SB. They are so efficient that the editors can ignore most all of that stuff, and the SB out issue after issue with nary a hitch. But printing, promoting, and mailing the SB take money. The RFPA, carefully evaluating the financial side, has decided to change subscription rates. The regular subscription (domestic) rate will be increased to $30 (less than $1.50 per issue; consider what it costs to mail one letter!) and the foreign rate to $42. The digital rate, on the other hand, is decreasing to $20 per year.

But as low as that is, the SB is of no value if it is not read. The RFPA has started a promotion to get the magazine into more homes. A letter has been mailed to every PRC consistory with this offer: “We are once again going to offer PR Church consistories the opportunity to purchase a half-price subscription for any of their members who do not currently subscribe to the Standard Bearer.” Let’s hope that the consistories jump on this immediately. By the end of the family visitation schedule, if not sooner, every home could be profiting spiritually from the SB twenty-one times a year. That is exciting!

Finally, we covet your prayers on behalf of the Standard Bearer. This magazine was started in 1924 in order to promote the Reformed truth over against the lie in all its manifold forms. This remains the commitment of every writer and all involved in producing each issue. By God’s grace alone, we continue the work. To God alone be the glory.

 

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1 Trivia question: Who writes twenty articles a year? Answer below.