News from our churches

Trivia question

Can you name the students in our Protestant Reformed Theological Seminary? Answer later in this column.

Sister-church activities

The installation of Rev. Vernon Ibe as missionary-pastor to the fellowship in Albuera, Leyte is scheduled for November 17, 2019 at 3 p.m., at PRC in Bulacan, the Lord willing.

Evangelism activities

The Evangelism Committee of the Edgerton, MN PRC hosted a speech Friday, September 20, with Rev. Matthew De Boer giving the speech on witnessing.

First PRC of Holland, MI planned a presentation they named “Living and Dying Happily” on September 25.

The Evangelism Committee of Peace PRC in Dyer, IN invited all to their fall lecture held Friday, September 13. Pastor Barnhill gave a lecture titled “Interpreting Genesis 1-3: Two Houses, Two Foundations,” held in their new Dyer location.

Bethel PRC in Roselle, IL is holding its annual Refor­mation Day Lecture on Friday, October 11 at 7:30 p.m. Prof. Russell Dykstra will be speaking on the subject: “Peace for Troubled Times.” The topic is relevant and we expect and hope for a good crowd of listeners!

Denominational activities

Classis East met on Wednesday, September 11th at Southwest Protestant Reformed Church, while Classis West met Wednesday, September 25 at Calvary PRC in Hull, IA. We are thankful that God uses these assemblies and the delegates for the good of our churches. Both bodies faced lengthy agendas, perhaps making for extended meetings.

Rev. Gise Van Baren was taken by God to glory on August 31. Rev. Van Baren, age 87, had served congregations in Doon, IA; Randolph, WI; First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI; Hudsonville, MI; and Loveland, CO before becoming emeritus in 1999. We are thankful to God for this faithful servant who was used to edify God’s people for almost 40 years! Rev. Van Baren officiated at this writer’s baptism as minister in Doon.

The synodical Contact Committee of our churches has formed a delegation to visit the BERG (Confessing Evangelical Reformed Church) in Germany. Rev. Cory Griess, along with Rev. Clay Spronk (Faith PRC) and elder Pete VanDerSchaaf (Faith PRC) plan to leave Sep­tember 30 and return October 14. May God care for them in their travels and in the work.

The consistory of Pittsburgh, PA PRC approved the request of our denomination’s Contact Committee to allow Pastor Wilbur Bruinsma to attend NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council) again this year as an observer from our churches. This meeting will be held in Anaheim, CA on November 12­-14. Pastor Ken Koole, who will be the other attendee, has consented to preach for the congregation in Pittsburgh on the following Sunday, November 17th.

Seminarian activities

On September 1 Candidate Jacob Maatman accepted the call extended to him by Southeast PRC in Grand Rapids, MI. He was examined at the meeting of Classis East on September 11 and ordained on September 27.

Also on September 1 Candidate Matt Kortus accept­ed the call extended to him by Hope PRC of Redlands, CA. He was examined at the meeting of Classis West on September 25 and is scheduled to be ordained on October 4.

We are glad that God has provided places in these congregations for these young men to labor in the Word and sacraments! And we are happy for the saints in these congregations that their prayers for a pastor have been answered.

We pray for our brothers and sisters in Lacombe, AB, Canada as their congregation remains vacant and con­tinues to call for a minister.

Young people’s activities

Advance notice: The 2020 PR Young People’s Convention, hosted by Georgetown PRC, is planned for August 10-14 at Lake Williamson in Carlinville, IL.

Congregational activities

There’s an interesting activity taking place in First PRC of Grand Rapids, MI. It’s called LOFT (Ladies of First Together)! This group was formed by the Helping Hands committee in 2017. Every six months ladies (post-high and up) are put together in groups of 3 or more, with the goal of helping participants get to know one another more. There are no set rules or objectives. Each group decides what is best for them. LOFT allows participants to get out of their comfort zones and build relationships with other women. This sounds like an interesting way to promote unity and delight in the communion of the saints!

Missionary activities

Rev. Daniel Holstege and Rev. Daniel Kleyn have preached in the Bearers of Light Community Church in the Guiguinto area of the Philippines in the recent past. On August 25 Rev. Holstege led the congregation in their first Reformed worship service. Here’s his account of that occasion:

Last Sunday went well at Guiguinto. After teaching Lord’s Day 7 on true faith, I led them in a worship service. I did not yet pronounce the benediction, but prayed for God’s blessing, as a seminarian would do. Then I followed the ordinary order of worship at Provident PRC: Psalter, Ten Commandments, Psalter, Prayer, Psalter, Scripture (Psalm 96), Sermon (vv. 1-2), Prayer, Psalter, Doxology 196. We donated 15 new Psalters, as per the usual practice with a new group. We also gave them copies of the new Tagalog translation of the Heidelberg Catechism. Bro Jun Armas accompanied me (a deacon from Provident) and ran the equipment for musical accompaniment. It was a new experience for them, so they struggled a bit with the singing. I chose what I thought were easy ones: 1, 53, 325, and 257. But they were all brand new to them! That’s why I preached a sermon on “Sing a New Song to Jehovah.” I preached in some Tagalog, some English.

Another door might be opening in the Philippines!

Trivia answer

There are currently six students in our seminary in Wyoming, MI. Four are first-year students and include: Doner Bartolon, First PRC (married with 2 children); Jeremy Helms, Georgetown PRC (married); Matt Koerner, Southeast PRC (single); Isaac Peters, Launceston EPCA, Tasmania; (married with 4 children). There is one second-year student, Marcus Wee from the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (married with their second child due in September). And there is one fourth-year student, Josiah Tan, who is enrolled in a special five-year program. Mr. Tan is also from CERC in Singapore and is married with two children. May God bless these young men in their formal training! More trivia next time.