Rev. Arie den Hartog of our Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Prospect Park, New Jersey has received a call from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Christchurch, New Zealand to come over and help them. Should Rev. den Hartog accept this call, he would remain a minister in the Protestant Reformed Churches, but be ‘on loan’ to the church in New Zealand. Decisions on these matters were made by the Synod of our churches in 1976. 

The congregation of our Southeast Church in Grand Rapids planned a special program on January 28 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of their pastor, Rev. Marinus Schipper, in the ministry of God’s Word. The Church Council sponsored the event which included a brief program followed by a social hour with refreshments in the church basement. However, due to the rather severe winter: weather experienced in Western Michigan (and elsewhere), the program was postponed until February 4. 

The severe weather the last week of January necessitated the cancellation or postponement of numerous activities. Because a ‘snow emergency’ was declared in Ottawa County, Holland and Hudsonville Churches canceled their worship services on January 30. 

A little information from our Jamaican emissaries, Elder and Mrs. J.M. Faber and Rev. and Mrs. John Heys was included in the First Church bulletin on January 30. Mr. Faber reports that they arrived safely in Jamaica. After some difficulties, they located an apartment in which they are now staying. The temperature is in the 80’s (quite a contrast to Michigan, where the temperature did not get above freezing for seven weeks); they have some difficulty with mosquitoes and other insects.. They report that they are struggling also with some of the problems within the Jamaican churches. 

Classical appointments for a vacant church can be the cause of quite a bit of travel on the part of our ministers. Rev. Lubbers of our church in Pella, Iowa, spent three Sundays in Forbes, North Dakota. Rev. Lubbers also traveled to Isabel, South Dakota on January 18 and lectured for our congregation there on the topic, “The Decalogue in Reformation.” Rev. Engelsma of South Holland, Illinois, preached for Rev. Lubbers’ congregation in Pella on January 16 to help them during the absence of their pastor. Rev. Engelsma also lectured in Pella during his visit there. Professor H. Hanko journeyed from Grand Rapids to South Holland to occupy Rev. Engelsma’s pulpit during his absence. 

Some time ago you may recall that we expressed mystification as to what a ‘tasting bee’ consisted of. One of the kind ladies whose group sponsored one of these ‘tasting bees’ in one of our churches kindly sent along several recipes for some of the delicious foods that were ‘tasted’ in their ‘bee’. So, that mystery is solved. However; a new mystery has taken its place. The ladies in South Holland are sponsoring a ‘bakeless bake sale.’ Now what do you suppose that is? 

The following important news appeared in the First Church bulletin: “The Mission Committee (a standing committee of the Synod of our Churches) decided this past Tuesday (February 8) to grant the request for organization of a congregation at Houston, Texas. Though the group is small, there is evidence that a faithful congregation can be established. There were many questions the Mission Committee considered before arriving at its decision. It believes that the decision taken is in harmony with God’s will, and for the benefit of God’s people there and our churches generally. Hope, Grand Rapids, consistory was appointed to carry out the organization—which they expect to do this coming Tuesday (February 15), the Lord willing. Pray God’s blessing on this new congregation—and be sure to visit with them if you are ever in that part of the country.”

Rev. Robert Harbach, missionary pastor in Houston, writes that the group there enjoyed the Lord’s faithfulness and goodness in this third year there. He continues, “So it’s been, too, with the little hand of saints in our seed-form church. Small we are, and, no doubt strange to many. But the Lord revives and refreshes us, enabling us to continue in His pure worship and hearing of His Word. . . His Word never returns to Him void, but shall accomplish what He pleases where He sends it. (Isaiah 55:11)”