News From Our Churches

The Fall Meeting of the Officebearer’s Conference in Classis East was held in Hope Church (Walker) on September 29. Rev. C. Hanko spoke on the topic “Should We Consider Starting Our Own Institutions of Mercy?” The speaker identified institutions of mercy as sheltered workshops for the handicapped, clinics or homes for the mentally disturbed, rest homes for the long term sick, and homes for the aged. It was the speaker’s contention that the need was most pressing for the first two—both of which he felt were practical possibilities. The need is for counseling of the disturbed based on God’s Word and not corrupted by the theories of modem, man centered, psychology. Rev. Hanko maintained that the proposed clinic should not, supplant the work of the minister in the local congregation, but that the clinic could provide assistance in counseling.

Rev. Bekkering just returned from a three week classical appointment in Edmonton. He had prepared a little history of the group in Edmonton for this column, but Prof. Hanko ‘scooped’ that report in the November 1 issue. Rev. Bekkering did send some photographs of the congregation in Edmonton and their place of meeting. In addition, Rev. Bekkering submitted the following interesting report on the Edmonton area: 

Many people in the States have some misconceptions about Canada. Some may think that all of Canada is heavily wooded and snow covered with dog sleds as the main means of transportation; but the area around Edmonton is well developed and modern. 

Edmonton, a city of about 500,000 people, compares very closely with any large city in the States. It has many large shopping centers, a renovated inner city area, and it is growing rapidly in all directions. In fact, there is an acute housing shortage in and around the city which has driven the cost of land and houses to a very high level. For example, an average size building lot in or near the city sells for about $25,000. 

The land around Edmonton is used mainly for agricultural purposes. Mainly grain crops are grown; some for “cash crops” and some as feed for dairy and beef herds. The fields are large and flat for the most part, with the average farmer tilling somewhere between 400 and 500 acres. 

Oil wells are frequently seen in the country side pumping the black gold that makes Alberta one of the richest of the Canadian provinces. The life in both urban and rural areas compares very closely with the similar areas in the States, but the cost of living is somewhat higher. 

Our new sister congregation lives in a situation very similar to that of God’s people elsewhere and faces similar problems and difficulties. Let us remember her in prayer as she fights the good fight of faith and walks in the way that our God has called her to walk.

If you check your atlas, you may notice that Edmonton is not far from the Canadian Rockies—an ideal goal for your family vacation trip next summer. I am sure the congregation in Edmonton would be pleased to welcome you into its fellowship and worship services while away from your own church.

Edmonton has extended its first call to Rev. B. Woudenberg. Kalamazoo has published a trio consisting of Rev. Kortering, Rev. Bekkering, and Rev. VanBaren.

At this time of year many of our congregations are scheduling their annual congregational meetings. First Church, Grand Rapids, has departed from generations of tradition by scheduling the meeting on the Monday before Thanksgiving rather than the Friday after the holiday. A welcome change—in some households at least!