It is of course normal practice for our churches to schedule Thanksgiving Day services on the morning of Thanksgiving Day. This year our church in Hull, Iowa scheduled their Thanksgiving service on Thanksgiving eve. The reason for this seemingly strange schedule is that Hull was without a pastor at this time. Rev. Kamps from the neighboring congregation in Doon agreed to conduct services in Hull on the night before Thanksgiving. Hull’s pastor elect, Rev. Mark Hoeksema, plans to arrive in Hull on December 14. The installation service is scheduled for December 17. The congregation scheduled a welcome program for December 20. To get everything in good order, the annual church cleaning was planned for December 7 in Hull. This must be quite an event as even dinner is provided for the “cleaners.”
Our church in South Holland, Illinois has had an active evangelism committee for some time. The committee has been engaged in radio broadcasting in the DeMotte, Indiana area for a time. The first feature of the radio series was a number of broadcasts on the general topic of “Fundamentals of the Reformed Faith.” This was followed by a number of messages originally prepared by their pastor, Rev. David Engelsma, for the “Reformed Witness Hour.” The last series of messages concerned the topic, “The Doctrine of the Last Things.” In a recent newsletter to the congregation the committee says that they “did not expect that we would be overwhelmed by response to these broadcasts, we did expect that there would be at least an inkling of some interest in such vital and timely topics. This especially in light of the fact that we were convinced that the programs were broadcast in an area where we expected the listening audience to be composed of those we like to refer to as the ‘Reformed Community.’ However, the response was practically non-existent. Consequently, we have decided to switch our coverage from the DeMotte area to an area roughly covering the western suburbs of Chicago. We are at the present time attempting to locate a station which can give us the radio, time we desire.” A series of sermons originally preached by Rev. Engelsma was broadcast by the Family Radio Network of stations on the East and West coasts. To this series of broadcasts the committee received an excellent response. The sermons were on marriage and family life as based on the book of Ephesians. The committee plans to prepare another series of tapes for this work.
The “Reformed Witness Committee” of our Hope Church in Walker, Michigan also issued a newsletter concerning their work of late. The committee had been publishing a series of meditations in area shopping newspapers. This program was canceled by the committee last September. “It was not that the meditation didn’t meet our expectations, or do a good job of witnessing, but rather that we could not continue financing its enormous appetite. The reason for this is that our tape program has grown to such an extent that continued financing of each program was decidedly impossible. Rather than cutting down on both of them, we decided to drop one, and expand our efforts in the field which showed the most promise. That field, is a field which has expanded across the globe and which is now bringing the truths of God’s word to those who appreciate it and thirst after it.” The tape packages which the committee sends out consist of transcriptions of the Hope Church Sunday services, the Reformed Witness Hour, and lectures of our ministers and professors. These are sent to New Zealand, South Africa, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and Indonesia as well as from Maine’ to Montana in the U.S. As regards practical matters, the committee states that “these efforts, although they may bring peace and contentment to the recipients, also bring bills to us. Our tape program currently costs approximately $70 per week.” Both of these committees are putting a lot of effort into their work, but they also seem to be enjoying some “fruit” on their labors.
Several of our churches have enjoyed Singspirations of late. The South Holland Ladies’ Auxiliary sponsored a Singspiration featuring special numbers by the Choral Society and the Men’s Quartet. The Randolph Ladies’ Society sponsored a Thanksgiving Singspiration (held on the Friday evening after the holiday) which featured congregational singing, and a special speaker, Mr. Truett Hugg. Mr. Hugg is now enrolled in our Seminary. The Loveland Ladies’ Circle also sponsored a Singspiration in November. Our correspondent there reports that this was a “German” style event, with no director, and all songs sung sitting down. Perhaps they could invite Mr. Ed Ophoff sonic time to lead them in a “Grand Rapids-Dutch-American” style spirited singspiration!