News From Our Churches

Congregation Activities

We here at the “News” have often felt that as congregations we do not express enough thanks to those who lead us in congregational singing each Lord’s Day. Some of these individuals have been playing church organs or pianos for many years. Do we ever take a moment to thank them for that? Well, one congregation did just that on Sunday morning, February 23, when the Southeast PRC in Grand Rapids, MI held a surprise celebration for Mrs. Mary Velthouse after their service. After the Council and Pastor shook hands, the congregation remained standing in their spots instead of walking out to Mary’s postlude. Of course, Mary, assuming that she had missed some announcement, stopped playing, at which time an announcement was read, which began with a quotation of Psalm 33:3: “Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise,” and said, in part, that “February 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of service that Mary Velthouse has given in playing the organ for our denomination.” All her sons and her daughter were present. There was a gift given to her, which was a plaque made entirely of parts from the 1926 Schantz organ that used to grace the old First Church balcony in Grand Rapids, MI, the first organ Mary played for worship services in 1964. After the gift was given, Mary joyously resumed her postlude to walk everyone out to enjoy celebratory cake and coffee. We would also add that Mary is one of many in our churches who do this “work” out of a love for our God and His people and in service of Christ’s kingdom. “[We] thank God upon every remembrance of you” (Phil. 1:3).

The men of the Byron Center, MI PRC hosted their second biennial Men’s Conference on February 27-28 at the Hudsonville, MI PRC. This year’s conference took as its theme, “The Godly Man,” using the Word of God found in I Timothy 6:11-12 as its foundation. Thursday evening Rev. A. Spriensma, pastor at Byron Center, spoke on verse 11, under the theme, “The Godly Man’s Contest.” This was followed Friday evening with Rev. W. Bruinsma, missionary pastor to the Protestant Reformed Fellowship in Pittsburgh, PA, speaking on verse 12, under the theme, “Called to Fight.” Following each speech, the eighty or so men in attendance broke up into smaller discussion groups. The first night some men considered “Raising Covenant Youth,” while others had an indepth discussion on “Communica tion/Devotions in Marriage.” This was followed Friday evening with a look at “Servant-Leadership in Marriage” and “Dealing with Family Finances.” Refreshments were served both evenings. Our thanks to Byron Center for another profitable and enjoyable time spent with like-minded men, applying the truth of God’s Word to everyday life.

Thanks also goes out to our congregation at First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI for serving as gracious hosts for this year’s Reformed Witness Hour Rally. This program to help promote interest in, understanding of, and support for, our denomination’s weekly radio and Internet broadcast was held Sunday evening, March 2. Rev. W. Bruinsma, one of our denomination’s radio pastors, spoke, and the musical group “With One Voice” contributed special music. Refreshments and fellowship followed the program.

In a recent bulletin from the Lynden, WA PRC, their Consistory informed their congregation that they had requested from the Consistory of Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA, that their pastors, Rev. R. Kleyn and Rev. R. Hanko of Lynden, have a pulpit exchange once a month (as much as this is possible). This request gives the opportunity for Pastor Hanko, along with his wife, Nance, to see their son, Neal, and be able to take him to church. This request was granted by Covenant of Grace and began already in February.

In other news from Covenant of Grace in Spokane, WA, we read recently that their Building Search Committee had agreed on a purchase price with the seller of a church and parsonage not too far from where Covenant currently meets. A full proposal from the Council for the purchase of the property was distributed in late February. The Council was also working on arranging a tour of the building prior to any congregational meeting to decide the question. We should also add that, as we are writing this in early March, the congregational meeting has taken place and Covenant voted to purchase the building. This church, the Minnehana Covenant Church, is located at 4005 E. Marietta, in Spokane, and from the pictures we have seen on Facebook it looks as if it will serve the needs of Covenant nicely. What an exciting step to take for any church, and we share in the joy with their congregation. No news yet on when the move takes place.

We could not help but notice that a recent bulletin from the Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI invited their men to a special Congregational Meeting on February 19, after their Prayer Day service, to vote on a proposal to pay off their parsonage mortgage. That, in contrast to Spokane, who just acquired a mortgage for a church and parsonage. That proposal did pass, by the way.

Young People’s Activities

The Young People’s Group of the Wingham, Ontario PRC recently rented nearby Belgrave Arena and invited their congregation to come out and have a good time of skating and fellowship together. The first hour of skating on February 22 was reserved for general family skating, while the last hour was intended for hockey.

The Young People of the Grace PRC in Standale, MI invited members of other PR congregations in the area to “A Night of Music” on Saturday evening, March 1, at Grace Church. Once again, the evening provided a great opportunity for some excellent musical talent. The program featured musical numbers from: Christa Phelps, Jim Daling and Dan Van Dyke, Lauren Dykstra, Liz Ensink and Abby DeVries, Gabrielle Phelps and Emma Bodbyl, Alan and Tamara Kalsbeek, as well as other special numbers from members of Grace Church, including their choir. A freewill offering was taken to help defray the costs of this year’s convention.

The Young People’s Society of the Immanuel PRC in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada invited their congregation to a Black-Tie Dinner on Friday evening, February 28, at the Bethel CRC.

The Young People of the Hull, IA PRC spent an evening, February 21, singing to various members of their congregation. After singing, the young people returned to Trinity Christian High School for pizza and some Glow in the Dark games.