News From our Churches

Minister News

Rev. Rodney Kleyn, pastor in Covenant of Grace PRC, Spokane, WA, had the opportunity recently to visit his brother, Rev. Daniel Kleyn, missionary in the Philippines. Other family members made the trip there at the same time—a nice meeting for them. Rev. R. Kleyn preached one service in the PRC of Bulacan as well as in Maranatha PRC while he was in the metro Manila area.

On December 13, Rev. James Laning, pastor in the Hull, IA PRC was led to decline the call to be the second missionary in the Philippines. While we are eager for another missionary, we are glad that God has re-affirmed to Rev. Laning the call from his present charge in Hull.

Denominational Activities

Prof. R. Dykstra and Prof. R. Cammenga were sent by the PRC Contact Committee to the Philippines in order to meet with the three churches that have federated as the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines (PRCP). This visit was intended to equip the Contact Committee with the ability to give advice to Synod 2016 in response to the request of this denomination to become sister churches with the PRCA. The two men preached in all the federated churches and in Provident Christian Church of Marikina. They also attended and spoke at the 7M meeting while they were there. They left the States on December 10 and returned on December 21.

Congregational Activities

At the busy Christmas time of year the Ladies’ Bible Study of Byron Center, MI PRC wanted to make a special effort to worship Christ, our Lord, the newborn King! They invited all ladies of the congregation to join them Wednesday, December 16, at 9:30 for coffee, followed by the singing of Christmas carols at 10, and then small-group discussion on “Mary of Nazareth.” Part of the discussion focused on these points: God had a perfect plan for Mary as He does for each of His children. And how can our lives fulfill the eternal purpose for which God created us? There were study sheets in the fellowship room for those who decided to join the activity.

First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI held a request program on December 6. Various children and adults participated in this musical program of praise to God. An offering was received for the 2016 Young Peoples’ Convention, with a light lunch served before the program.

The congregation of First PRC of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada invited the congregation of Immanuel PRC of Lacombe, Alberta to an evening of celebration and thanksgiving to God on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the First Edmonton PR church on December 3, 2015. Speaking were Rev. T. Miersma (Immanuel PRC), Rev. M. DeVries (former pastor), and Rev. J. Marcus (First’s pastor). Refreshments were served afterwards. We give thanks with the saints in Edmonton for God’s faithfulness to them as a manifestation of the body of Christ all these years!

School Activities

The combined junior high bands and choirs of Northwest Iowa PRC and Hull PRCS held their annual program Monday, December 7, at the Hull PRC. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas songs filled the air with fitting praises of thanksgiving for the birth of Emmanuel. Refreshments and a time of fellowship followed the program of praise.

The Covenant Christian High School Christmas concert was held December 20 at the Jenison Center for the Arts. The program included a special band number along with a combined band and choir rendering of the “Hallelujah Chorus.” Singing and playing the songs of Christmas are always a special treat—a treat for the listeners as well!

Young People’s “Communist Run”

It was noted in the December 1, 2015 issue that great fun was had at the Doon, IA YPS event called the “Communist Run.” The mention of that activity stimulated conjectures galore, even assertions that the SB editors printed a “typo,” as some believed the term “Community Run” was intended. So now we elaborate.

Northwest Iowa groups do participate in what they call “Communist Runs.” Where did this name originate, you ask? Quite possibly from the Russian history of the capitalists and the communists, which included an underground railroad of sorts for capitalist targets. The capitalists traveled from place to place while the communist government tried to track them down between the safe houses that hid them from the government. “Communist Run” has been accepted as a fitting name for a hyped-game of cops and robbers. In the game the young people are usually the capitalists, the adults the communists trying to catch them physically. Members of the congregation offer their homes as safe houses for the activity. Only the capitalists or “runners” know which houses are safe houses; various groups visit the safe houses in differing order. The goal for the young people is to visit all the safe houses without getting caught. The goal for the communists or “chasers” is to catch the runners as often as possible. This happens in the dark, mostly on foot, with flashlights and camouflage clothing, on a nice fall night. An end time is set for all to meet for food, fellowship, and stories of the night. Small Midwest towns like Doon (about 10 blocks by 6 blocks in size) make excellent playgrounds for this experience. Many say the challenge is addicting.

Sister-Church News

Start making plans to visit beautiful Castlewellan Castle in Northern Ireland next July 16-23, as the British Reformed Conference titled “Behold I Come Quickly: The Reformed Biblical Truth of the End” will be held there then.

“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.