Lynden Washington, November 15.—Since we haven’t written for quite some time we will go back a bit in order to give a connected and coherent report of the activities that have taken place. Some of what we write, therefore, may be old news to many of us but it will serve to bring all the events clearly before our minds.
You will recall that our last Synod decided that our two missionaries should work together in the field of Lynden, Washington. At the same time the Mission Committee, in conjunction with the calling Consistory of Fuller Ave., received the mandate to continue labor in Canada and devise ways and means to do so. After the Mission Committee and Consistory had discussed these things they felt it to be expedient that the missionaries begin the work in Lynden together. Further, that after the opening of the Lynden field undersigned was to take up residence in Canada, and with the assistance of the Holland speaking ministers from Classis East, continue the work in Canada; in the Province of Ontario. Though this arrangement of the work was somewhat of a compromise and apparently contrary to the decision of Synod, it was adopted as a solution to use our present means to the best advantage both in Lynden and Canada. It was also expressed that this set-up was of a temporary nature, for if the Canadian field proved to be worthwhile other arrangements might be made to provide for a Holland speaking man in Canada.
Early in September, therefore, Rev. Knott and his family settled in Lynden. Undersigned met them there and the work in this vicinity was begun as reported by the Rev. Knott in a recent issue of Concordia. After spending approximately four weeks in Lynden undersigned returned East expecting to remove to Canada and begin the work there.
In the meantime, however, events had transpired which again caused a revision in the plans. Some of the brethren had objected to the plan to separate our Missionaries on the grounds that it was contrary to the expressions of our Synods, both when the decision was reached to call two men and also of our last Synod which decided that they should work together in Lynden, Washington. Consequently, a protest was delivered to the calling Consistory and appealed to Classis East which treated it at its last held meeting in October. Classis East sustained this protest and expressed that the decision that both missionaries labor together in Lynden should be carried out.
Hence, the Mission Committee and Consistory were obliged to revise their plans. It was decided that undersigned and family should return to Washington to continue with Rev. Knott in Lynden. About a week later, having packed up enough belongings on a small two-wheel trailer, we again left Grand Rapids headed for the West Coast. We had a beautiful and uneventful though tiring trip across the country. It took us six rather full days to span the distance. We left home on a Friday morning and after spending an enjoyable week-end with the Rev. Blankespoor’s in Doon, Iowa, continued on our way and reached Lynden the following Friday night. The Sunday we spent in Iowa gave us opportunity to preach the Word once in Hull and once in Doon. We also greatly enjoyed the farewell send-off the Blankespoor’s had arranged for that Sunday evening. All the ministers and wives in that vicinity met together and encouraged us in word song and prayer. We are indeed grateful to them for their kind expressions.
In order to accomplish the mandate to continue the work in Canada, it was decided to ask various ministers to spend a few weeks there from time to time. The Revs. J. De Jong and H. De Wolf were granted leaves by their respective Consistories to spend four weeks in Canada. By the time of this writing they have very likely fulfilled their labor. We have heard that they were rather well received in Canada and held several small services in various places in which interest had been previously found. The Mission Committee hopes and expects to be able to arrange to continue in this manner by sending two more men at an early date to follow up what has been begun. At this distance the news comes rather slowly and, undoubtedly, the Mission Committee will keep our people better informed regarding developments in Canada.
Returning to our field here in Lynden, there is not a great deal more to report. The Rev. Knott’s amply provided for our initial needs and found us a splendid place to live. Though it is about five miles from Lynden in a farming area, its many fine features more than make up for the inconvenience of living “in the country”. By this time we are rather well established and carrying on the work, which according to indications noted earlier, will be rather slow. We have already distributed a great deal of literature and made various contacts. The reaction has been rather meager. There seems to be very little desire to investigate our position or study the differences. For the past three Sunday evenings we have been holding preaching services in a small church building near Lynden. This meeting place is rather centrally located between the three communities here and serves our purpose very well. Together with our radio program we are happy to be able to give a distinctively Reformed witness in this community. Though, as yet, the prospects are not great, we rest in the will of the Lord knowing that our labor is never in vain in the Lord.
Illustrative Anecdote. . . .
When we first arrived here in September we took opportunity to call on various ministers of this vicinity to inform them of our presence and purpose. One of these brethren, whose public services we had attended and whom we called upon publicly, accused us of being spies1 and using unethical methods. He also expressed that he felt that stern measures should be taken against those who would attend our meetings or otherwise encourage us.
Well now, on the night that we held our first meeting we noticed a car parked, with its lights out, in the shadows of a farm lane directly opposite the entrance to our meeting place. Unfortunately (?) just as some people were arriving to attend our meeting the farmer across the road desired to drive into his lane and it became necessary for the car parked there to come out into the light. The driver was recognized as the brother who had so spoken against us!
My dictionary gives the following definition of spy: “One who watches others secretly: often with bad implications”.
Church Union. . . .
Both the desire and execution of mergers and unions of various Protestant denominations continue, as is evident from the following AP dispatches from a recent issue of the Grand Rapids Press:
“The congregational Christian churches and the Evangelical and Reformed church have agreed on procedure for merging, probably in 1949, into a United Church of Christ with about 2,000,000 members.
About 50 members of executive committees of the two denominations met here in an all-day conference Wednesday. Dr. Louis W. Goebel of Chicago, president of the Evangelical and Reformed church, said the sessions resulted “in a complete meeting of minds and afford a truly realistic procedure for completing this great union of Protestant churches”.
“A proposal designed to pave the way to eventual merger of various Lutheran church groups was before the ninth biennial convention of the American Lutheran conference Thursday.
“The preliminary committee of the conference urged that the group petition the National Lutheran council to initiate an all-Lutheran conference. Such a conference would have a membership of 5,500,000 Lutherans.
“Attending the Detroit conference are delegates from the Augustana Lutheran church, Evangelical Lutheran church, American Lutheran church, Lutheran Free church and United Evangelical church.
“The proposal would open the way for this group to be joined by the United Lutheran church in America and the Lutheran church—Missouri synod.”