One of the most important decisions a congregation makes is extending a call to one of God’s servants whom they would ask to serve as their pastor. One of the more important decisions a minister of the Word is called upon to make is whether to accept or reject such a call. Since Rev. M. Kamps of Redlands, California, declined the call extended to him by our Edmonton congregation, Edmonton formed a new trio of Rev. R. Miersma, Rev. R. Moore, and Rev. J. Kortering. From that trio, Rev. Moore has received their call.
Since Rev. Harbach accepted the call to become home missionary in the Houston, Texas, area, the congregation of our Kalamazoo, Michigan, church has been without a pastor. Recently, Kalamazoo has decided to sell their parsonage and look for another. They have not formed a new trio at this writing.
Hope Church in Walker, Michigan, is Rev. Harbach’s calling church. Hope’s bulletin, therefore, has informed the congregation about the work in Houston. The following report was printed in their January 25 bulletin: “The twofold effect of the preaching of the Word is always felt where the Word is preached. This is especially true on the mission field and even more so where our missionaries purely proclaim the Word. The Word preached by Rev. Harbach in Houston is, now more than ever before a savor of life unto life, to four faithful families and a few others. That the preaching is also a savor of death unto death is the reason why the group has become smaller. Pray for our missionary and his wife that he may be faithful in the preaching and for those who remain as one, professing a sincere love of our Lord.”
An additional report on the work in Houston was found in the March 7 Hope bulletin as follows: “The work in Houston has dwindled in size but picked up in labors. At present three families attend the services regularly while another family and two individuals are irregular in attendance. During the last two Sundays of February and the first Sunday of March, Rev. John Heys (from Holland, Michigan) was sent (at the request of the Mission Committee and with the approval of the Holland consistory) to Houston to help Rev. Harbach made as many outside contacts as possible. Let us not forget to bring this field and its labors before God’s gracious throne.” Rev. Ronald Van Overloop, pastor of Hope Church, plans to travel to Houston for the last two Sundays in March and the first Sunday in April to assist Rev. Harbach in the work there.
Activity in the area of church extension continues in many of our churches. Randolph is beginning a program of some selective mailing out of our material. The first item selected for distribution is the new pamphlet on Modern Bible Versions. Rev. Bekkering is seeking the assistance of his congregation in putting together a suitable mailing list.
An additional item was found in the Randolph bulletin concerning The Reformed Witness Hour, our denominational radio broadcast. “Beginning March 14, 1976, the Reformed Witness Hour will be broadcast at 12:30 PM on Sundays instead of 8:45. The idea behind the change is that it may enable more people outside of our church to hear the program. Most of the churches in the area begin at 9:30 AM, and, with the program running until 9:15, this constitutes a conflict. We hope therefore that this new time will be more convenient for those outside our church, and that it will be a good time for us as well. Please notify everyone that you know who listens to our program of the time change so that they may continue to listen.” The program is carried on WLKE, 1170. Judging by the ‘hustle and bustle’ in our house 45 minutes before the service, this change in time of the broadcast would seem to be a good change. It is no small task to listen to a rather serious radio message while helping the children find their coats and straighten their ties.
Last summer we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our churches. This coming summer, our Hudsonville congregation plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their church with a program the evening of July 29 and a picnic the afternoon and evening of July 30. The members of the congregation are requested to plan their vacations accordingly. The anniversary committee is looking for pictures of interest, especially those going back to the building of the church and parsonage. It sounds as if a major event is in the making in the ‘celery city.’
The following appeared in the Redlands, California, bulletin: “The Hope School Board with grateful hearts to little ones in Christ informs the congregation that the Hope School Society has received the following gifts: a) From the school children of our Hope P. R. Christian school in Walker, Michigan $43.44. b) From the children of our Adams St. School in Grand Rapids $128.67.” These were Christmas gifts from the children in the ‘East’ to the children in the ‘West.’