Rev. Mark Hoeksema was installed as the new pastor of our church in Hull, Iowa on December 17. Rev. Hoeksema’s father, Prof. Homer Hoeksema, preached the installation sermon, and Rev. Marvin Kamps from Doon, Iowa, read the installation form. The following Sunday Rev. Hoeksema preached his inaugural sermon. Prof. Hoeksema led in worship at the afternoon service. On Monday evening, the 20th, the congregation planned a “welcome” for their new ‘pastor and his family. The program began at 7:30 in the church. A social hour and refreshments followed at the school. 

Late November and early December is the time of year when our churches schedule their annual congregation meetings. The agenda for these meetings includes the election of elders and deacons, adoption of a budget for the new year, and other items of importance. Among these “other items” we can include the following: Southwest Church in Wyoming, Michigan approved a proposal to change the time of their evening worship service from 7 to 6 PM; Randolph, Wisconsin rejected a proposal to change the time of their 2nd worship service from afternoon to evening during the summer months only. 

Randolph has recently joined the growing number of our churches that have established a nursery for the care of small children during worship services. A Nursery Committee was appointed by the Consistory. Only those children under two years old may be taken to the nursery. Nursery attendants will be listed in the bulletin each week. Assignments will be made alphabetically and proceed through the church membership—each woman and girl in the 6th grade or older being asked to help. A real co-operative project! 

Rev. B. Woudenberg was the speaker at the Michigan area Young People’s Society Christmas Mass Meeting on Sunday afternoon, December 19. As Rev. Woudenberg is the ‘new’ minister in the Michigan area, (having been recently installed as the pastor of our church in Kalamazoo) he can probably expect several more invitations in the next several months to speak for various of our church “gatherings” such as lectures and Society League meetings. 

Our Hudsonville congregation conducted the first Sunday worship services in their new church building on December 19. 

The Hull bulletin carried news of another one of those mysterious “Tasting Bees.” Loveland also scheduled a tasting bee this fall. I have yet to learn what was “tasted” and whether the “tastees” left the “bee” smacking their lips with a smile on their faces. 

The Christmas season is the time when we remember the elderly and shut-ins in our congregations. The young people of Faith Church went caroling and distributed fruit baskets to the elderly and widows of their congregation on December 23. The Young People’s Society of Redlands and the Sr. Mr. and Mrs. Society of First Church also went caroling this year. The school choirs from Adams and Hope Schools in Grand Rapids presented short programs in a number of Grand Rapids area nursing and retirement homes recently. A small group of elementary students from Adams School under the leadership of Adams teacher Miss Ruth Dykstra continues to sing Dutch Psalms (in Dutch, of course) for a goodly number of shut-ins in the Grand Rapids area. 

Rev. Kortering printed this rather fitting reflection in the December 26 Redlands bulletin: “This week brings to a close another year of our Lord, 1976. There have been changes. Some have tasted the dregs of sorrow through death, others have been cheered with the gift of life. Sickness and health has been our portion. The Lord brought changes in our congregation, in church and school. As we face this new year, may it be a beginning in the consciousness that though time brings changes, Jehovah is the Lord of time and He changes never. Through the changing time, He realizes His eternal promises to save His people in the way of the return of our Lord Jesus. May the Lord bless our homes, our school, our congregation, our churches and all His precious children till the return of our Lord and time will be no more and the former things will have passed away and we will inhabit the perfect tabernacle of God to praise Him forever.”