If we were to choose from this page one single news item to be that of the greatest significance for the churches of our denomination, it would probably be this, that Rev. R. Decker, pastor of our South Holland, Illinois congregation, has accepted the call to serve as third professor in our seminary. The possibility of a pre-seminary program in our school during the 1973-1974 school year, rested with that decision. The fact that the Lord has provided for the need, must certainly be an evidence also of His blessing upon the labors there.
At the time of this writing, Rev. Heys is considering the call to serve as Home Missionary, Candidate Hoeksema the call to serve as pastor in our Forbes congregation, and Candidate Joostens in our Jenison congregation.
Candidate Hoeksema, as you know, is currently laboring, at the request of the Mission Committee, with Rev. Lubbers in Jamaica. He and his wife left Grand Rapids on July 18, were met in New Orleans by Rev. and Mrs. Lubbers (who had spent an apparently fruitful week in Houston), and accompanied them on the last leg of the journey to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Candidate and Mrs. Hoeksema plan to remain on the island for a period of up to six months.
Before the Hoeksemas had been two weeks on the island, they were involved in an automobile accident. Mrs. Hoeksema, according to the August 5 bulletin of First Church, “incurred some cuts on the forehead and leg which required stitching, but she was able to come home afterwards.” The incident occurred on a Sunday afternoon, when they were returning home early because of the cancellation of evening services due to heavy rains.
That physical stress has been the lot of our missionaries in Jamaica has been plain from past experiences of Rev. and Mrs. Lubbers, and also, we understand, of Rev. Heys. During the time that the pastor of our Holland Church was working in the Mission field, he suffered a hernia while changing a tire on his low-slung compact station wagon. That was on February 10. In July he submitted to corrective surgery in the Holland City Hospital. It is well that we heed the exhortation, found in First Church’s bulletin, that we “remember our missionaries in Jamaica before the Throne of Grace.”
When will Rev. Harbach get back? Where is Rev. Schipper! Has Rev. Hanko left yet? If you’ve had as much difficulty as I, during the past few months, trying to keep track of the whereabouts of our ministers, you’ll probably appreciate a short review of those activities, gleaned from July and August church bulletins. Rev. Kuiper, who had gone to Philadelphia at the adjournment of Synod, returned to Pella during the week of July 8. The work in Pennsylvania was then taken up, a couple of weeks later, by Rev. Harbach, whose visit was expected to extend from the last week of July through the months of August and September. He planned to be there alone during the first month, and be joined by his wife during the second.
Rev. Veldman returned from New Jersey the last week of June. Rev. Van Baren made a short visit to Midland Park, New Jersey, in order to preach there on Sunday, July 1. Professor Hanko and his family left for that state on the 6th of July. The professor preached in Fairlawn (in the Patterson area) on the remaining four Sundays of July. He was followed by Rev. and Mrs. Schipper, who planned to carry on the work during the month of August.
On July 25 the Mission Committee considered a request from five families of the Patterson area to be organized as a Protestant Reformed Church. The request was granted, and the time for organization was set for the last part of August or the first part of September when Rev. C. Hanko arrives in New Jersey to succeed Rev. Schipper. The two will together officiate at the organization services.
According to an August 5 bulletin, the Mission Committee also received a request for assistance from five families in Houston, Texas. They asked that one of our ministers meet with them and hopefully begin working with them. The Rev. D. Engelsma was asked by the Mission Committee to investigate and preach there for three Sundays.
From a Hudsonville bulletin, this: “May the Lord bless these labors to the gathering of His church unto the Day of the Lord.”
The absence of various of our ministers has worked something of a strain on the pulpit supply during these vacation months. From Hudsonville’s bulletin of July 29 we read that “Because of the shortage of ministers at present, our service will begin at 11 o’clock this morning. Next week, the Lord willing, we will be on our regular schedule. Rev. Hanko will preach in Holland at 9:00.” From Grand Rapids’ Hope Church bulletin: “Due to a lack of supply, our second service next Sunday will be at 2:00 P.M.” And, from a Southeast bulletin: “Because of the shortage of pulpit supply for July, the pastor will be preaching three times today. After the evening service he will be preaching at Faith Church at 7:30 instead of the usual 7:00 o’clock service. Rev. R. Van Overloop will also be preaching three times. He will take an unusual afternoon service at Faith.”
There is, yet, one other pulpit supply which is worthy of note. Seminarian Arie den Hartog spent the summer months in Forbes, North Dakota.