Perhaps you recall that Rev. Heys spent three weeks of November in New Jersey. He writes that he enjoyed the time spent there, both in preaching on the Sabbath and in conducting mid-week Bible classes. The group is small, of course, but, both for the Sunday worship services and the other meetings, there are often “as many visiting families as there are families of the congregation.”
On his return to his own congregation in Holland, Michigan, Rev. Heys gave a short report, in his Sunday church bulletin, concerning his activities in Prospect Park. He wrote as follows:
“As to our work in Prospect Park, New Jersey, we found a small congregation that rejoices in hearing sound preaching once again from the Word of God. Visitors are present at each meeting on the Sabbath and also in the mid-week Bible class which is studying the Canons of Dordrecht and receiving much-needed instruction in doctrines whose teachings they had been denied for many years. Children of these visiting families also attend the catechism classes. Their growth will be slow, and their way is hard for the flesh. Remember them in your prayers that they may receive grace to be living witnesses of the truth in the midst of much opposition.”
Because of the distance which separates most of us from our young congregation in the east, we would be likely, perhaps, to forget about them. But we want them to know that, as we are kept informed by those of our ministers who travel there, our prayers are indeed with them.
At the time of this writing, Rev. Engelsma was considering two calls — one to serve as pastor of our South Holland congregation, and the other as Home Missionary of our churches, with Houston, Texas, being the specified field of labor.
An August, 1973, letter from Rev. Engelsma to Mr. Vander Wal, included some interesting news concerning the school in Loveland. Our Business Manager kindly relayed the information to me, and I would like, be it somewhat belatedly, to pass it along to you.
“Last night,” Rev. Engelsma writes, “we had convocation exercises marking the beginning of our school’s instruction for another year. We have 36 pupils in 8 grades, and 2 capable, consecrated schoolmarms. Several children are from other churches than our own. At present, we still use our church basement but we are working on plans for a school building to be built on the 2½ acres the school owns adjoining the church property. We hope to have a school building by the spring of ’74, the Lord willing. This summer the men of the church, many of whom are in the building trades, put up a parsonage on a lot donated by another member. This too adjoins the church, whereas the present parsonage is about 4 miles removed.”
To the above we can add the contents of a letter of more recent composition, also from Loveland, and also concerning the proposed new school building. It reads as follows:
“The Loveland Protestant Reformed School Society has voted to build a new school building, since the present church basement is crowded and inadequate. They have decided on an economical plan at the approximate cost of $38,000.00. The size of the building would be 58′ x 50′. The type of building is steel, with three sides of the building brick 4 feet high. It could very easily be added on to in the future.
“The Society has decided to build as soon as one half of the total cost has been acquired. This is being accomplished through fund raising drives in the church. They have approximately $6,000.00 in the Building Fund, which leaves approximately $13,000.00 to be raised before they can start construction. Then they still need a loan of $19,000.00 to complete the total cost. Maybe someone in our Protestant Reformed Churches could come to Loveland’s aid.
“God has blessed this school over the past years. The enrollment has increased from six students with one teacher, to thirty-six students in eight grades with two teachers. The Lord willing, maybe Loveland can send their covenant children to a new school building come next September.”
The supply of news at this time of year is usually such that I find it necessary to dip into my reserve. Part of the above, as I indicated, has been in the box since early September. But what’s this?! “Fourth of July Picnic” — from an Isabel bulletin dated June 24! Old news, surely, but interesting nevertheless.
“The two sister congregations of Isabel and Forbes,” the bulletin stated, “will gather for fun and fellowship at Hiddenwood State Park, Selby.” Dinner was to be served potluck style, and was to be followed by a short program, which included a speech by Seminarian Arie den Hartog, who spent part of his summer laboring in Forbes.
In the January 1st news column I erroneously reported the date of the dedication of the Seminary building as being February 1. If you were to go to First Church at that time, you would not only have a two-week wait, you’d also find yourself in the middle of a wedding ceremony. Try February 15 instead — at 8:00 P.M. in First Church. I guess I’d better stick to things that have already been — like Fourth of July.