There are a number of Protestant Reformed ministers who have passed on to their eternal home, leaving dear widowed wives behind to await the time of their homecoming while they continue to serve the Lord and His people. Do you know how many of these wives remain? Answer later in this column.

Congregational activities

Let’s just say that at the time of this writing congregational activities are few, and mostly due to the advancement of the novel COVID-19 (coronavirus) in our country. Many or most of our churches have canceled or postponed all activities, including Bible studies, catechism, and worship services. Most of us have never seen the like. What follows is an interesting quote from Martin Luther concerning a deadly plague in his time. We include this background note: “In 1527 a case of the bubonic plague was found in Wittenberg, the small town where Luther lived and where the Reformer had nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church. During that time, he wrote these wise words that can help inform the way we approach things happening in our world at this time.”

…I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash nor foolhardy and does not tempt God (“Whether One May Flee from a Deadly Plague” in Luther’s Works, vol. 43, pp. 13-32).

Mission activities

The government of the Philippines has continued restricting travel inside the country. This limits the work our missionaries are able to do in areas outside their immediate vicinity. The Luzon lockdown continued through April 30. The Holsteges and Smits are schooling their children at home. We remain confident that in spite of this “the word of God is not bound” (II Tim. 2:9). May that word yet go forth in these uncertain times to the saving and strengthening of His people, and to the glory of His name.

Minister activities

Rev. Martin McGeown (Limerick, Ireland) announced his acceptance of the call extended to him by the congregation of Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. And certainly it was in God’s providence that Rev. McGeown received this call at this time. May God bless Rev. McGeown as he prepares to move and serve the congregation there.

First Edmonton PRC formed a new trio of Revs. J. Engelsma, J. Laning, and M. Vanderwal. From this trio their call was extended to Rev. J. Laning, pastor in Hull, IA PRC, who declined this call on April 19.

Grandville, MI PRC has a new trio for minister-on-loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks, E. Guichelaar, and R. Kleyn.

Unity PRC of Grand Rapids, MI formed a new trio of Revs. E. Guichelaar, J. Mahtani, and C. Spronk. On April 15 they issued a call to Rev. J. Mahtani.

Hope PRC of Walker, MI called Rev. J. Mahtani on April 14 from a trio that also included Revs. C. Griess and C. Spronk.

Kalamazoo, MI also called Rev. J. Mahtani from her trio that also had on it Revs. C. Haak and M. McGeown.

Young adult activities

COLORADO RETREAT: Save the date August 3-6, 2020 for a young adults retreat in Colorado! Did you know that Colorado is called the “Centennial State” because it became a state in 1876, one hundred years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence?

Trivia answer

As far as we are aware, there are five widowed wives of deceased Protestant Reformed ministers who continue to serve God’s purpose and await their call to glory. They are: Mrs. Phyllis Bekkering, Mrs. Pauline Breen, Mrs. Velerie Kuiper, Mrs. Wilmina Lanting, and Mrs. Clara Van Baren. We are thankful to these godly women who shared their husbands for the good of God’s people as ministers in the churches.