4949 Ivanrest Avenue
Grandville, Michigan 49418
With gratitude to God, the seminary began the new year of instruction on August 26, 2002 with orientation, chapel, and the traditional disbursing of assignments. On Friday evening of the first week, students, faculty, and staff with their families gathered for a picnic and enjoyed good fun and fellowship. The annual seminary convocation, held in Grandville PRC on September 4, set the appropriate tone for the work of the seminary. In his convocation speech, Professor Engelsma demonstrated the fundamentally important task of maintaining, defending, and developing the unconditional covenant of grace, particularly over against current attacks on that truth.
In some ways, life in the seminary has returned to a more normal state. The partial sabbaticals are finished and the three full-time professors are back to teaching the regular schedule. In addition, Professor Hanko is helping out by teaching the pre-seminary Greek grammar course.
Seven men are enrolled as full-time students. As has been previously reported, the two students in their final year, Paul Goh and Bill Langerak, have no classes in seminary this fall because they are both in their scheduled internships in Bethel PRC and Southeast PRC, respectively. An unintended benefit of the internship for Paul and his wife, Suet Yin, is that they are getting acclimated to the big city again — even living in a high-rise apartment — in preparation for their return to Singapore. Bill and Karen and their family are heavily involved in the life of Southeast. Both men express much appreciation for their internships already, and are clearly enjoying their work.
The second-year students have been previously introduced as well. They are John Marcus, Dennis Lee, and Bruce Koole. There can be little doubt but that Bruce has more than seminary on his mind, since he and Rachel Pastoor are engaged to be married at the end of this semester. Both Bruce and Rachel are members of Faith PRC.
Dennis and Foong Ling and their two boys are members of the First Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore, under the care of the Georgetown PRC. They remained in the States for the summer. Dennis spent much of his summer boning up on his Chinese in order to teach the language to his eldest son. Instruction in Chinese is required by the education laws of Singapore.
John and Amy and their four children are members of the Byron Center PRC. John had an interesting project this past summer programming a “robot” that could give assistance in medical research. John’s computer expertise has benefited many a fellow seminarian, not to mention a professor or two.
The two young men who begin their seminary training this year, Andy Lanning and Clay Spronk, can use an introduction. Andy comes to the seminary with a B.A. degree from Grand Valley State University. While in college, he met and married Stephanie Key. The Lannings are expecting their first child, D.V., this fall. They are members of the Hudsonville PRC.
Clay Spronk hails from NW Iowa. Growing up, he was a member of the First Christian Reformed Church of Sheldon. Clay joined the Hull PRC during the years he attended Dordt College. He subsequently married Allison Bylsma, and God has blessed them with two children. Although he graduated from Dordt College, Clay needed to return to college for two years to fulfill the pre-seminary requirements. The Spronks are members of the Faith PRC.
As was true in past years, a number of men are taking classes and transferring the credit to the Puritan Reformed Seminary. When all the students (full-time, part-time, and pre-seminary) and the auditors are added up, the number of those sitting in on the instruction every week exceeds twenty.
We thank God for the fact that He gives us the aspirants to the ministry in the Protestant Reformed Churches. Seven full-time seminary students is not insignificant for a denomination the size of the PRC. At the same time, it should be noted that two of these students are headed back to their churches in Singapore upon graduation, which means that the urgent need for ministers in the Protestant Reformed Churches will continue for some time.
We covet the prayers of God’s people on behalf of the seminary. These days with shocking apostasy, astounding ecumenical movements, and new strains of heresy are (as Professor Engelsma pointed out at convocation) both dangerous and exhilarating for the Protestant Reformed Churches, and for the Seminary. May God keep us faithful to His truth, and faithful to the task.
In the service of Christ,
Professor R. Dykstra, Rector