News From Our Churches

Some time ago I was sent a copy of the minutes of a meeting of the Fiftieth Anniversary Committee, with the suggestion that some advance publicity be given by way of the Church News column. A fine idea, I think, especially now that our Standard Bearer has launched the commemoration of its own fiftieth anniversary. The fiftieth year of our churches’ existence follows on the heels of that of the Standard Bearer, so the celebration of the latter ought to excite interest in that of the former. At any rate, though it’s still some distance in the future, here are a few things to which we can look forward, March 2, 1975, has been set as “commemorative Sunday,” since that Sunday is the closest to the date, 50 years earlier, of the beginning of the separate existence of our churches. And, further along in that year, October has been designated as the month during which “we have a radio observance of our anniversary.” Our anniversary theme, “Covenant Faithfulness,” will likely be set forth in those radio programs, which are intended also to “set the stage for Reformation Day Rallies in different areas of our country.” 

There will, of course, also be an Anniversary booklet. The booklet, for which much material has already been prepared, will contain a wealth of information of historical interest. Included will be the histories of our various congregations and of our Christian Day Schools. It will contain, also, histories and information concerning our radio work, publication committees, Mission Committee, Theological School, and a Federation of Protestant Reformed Young People. And it will contain a “doctrinal synopsis, our churches and what they stand for,” prepared by the faculty of our seminary. 

And prior to all that, remember, the Standard Bearerwill be observing its own fiftieth year “in some way in all twenty-one issues” of the current volume-year. Certain it is that the next two years, years of two Golden Anniversaries, will indeed be special ones-as well they might, marking as they do such clear evidence of the “Covenant Faithfulness” of our God.

“A new congregation came into being last Tuesday evening in Prospect Park, N. J.” So read Hudsonville’s September 16 bulletin, which noted also that this was our first in the eastern states. A first-hand report of that momentous event comes by way of letter from Rev. H. Veldman, quoted in Southwest’s September 23 bulletin. “Tuesday we arrived in New Jersey in mid-afternoon and prepared to attend the organization of the church at 7:30. It was impressive to witness a small group taking a stand on the truths we hold dear. Rev. Veldman led the service, after which Rev. C. Hanko took charge.” 

Then Rev. Veldman, who was to remain in the area through the 30th of September, continued with a short account of other activities there. “Monday evening,” he wrote, “an Essentials class began. Sunday after the morning service the younger children have catechism. Wednesday evening the Bible Study group meets.” Rev. G. VanBaren, incidentally, is scheduled to follow Rev. Veldman, spending October 7 and 14 in New Jersey. Rev. C. Hanko was certainly giving expression to our hope, too, when he wrote, for Hudsonville’s bulletin, “May our Lord look down upon this small flock in His goodness and favor, that they may be a shining light in that area.” 

Several other noteworthy items are these: Rev. D. Engelsma reports that there were about 80 people present at the worship services last Sunday (Sept. 23) in Houston. The Mission Committee decided that Rev. Harbach should return, September 23, to labor in Philadelphia. Then, in a different vein, last pastor-elect M. Joostens was to be examined at Classis East on October 3, and, on October 5, be ordained and installed in his office in our Jenison church. And, finally, Rev. J. Kortering has declined the call extended to him from South Holland, Illinois.

Our schools have been in session for some time now, but perhaps it’s not too late to make note of a couple of convocation exercises. In South Holland, on Thursday evening, August 30, Rev. R. Decker spoke on, “Peace, The Sword and Christian Education.” In Loveland, on Tuesday evening, August 28, Rev. Engelsma spoke on “A Covenant School.” On August 27, Rev. Moore spoke at the convocation exercises held in Doon Church.

There was a program held in our Randolph Church on September 14. Nothing terribly unusual about that, I suppose. That is, not until one noticed on the printed “Program” that it featured “the Southwest Men’s Quartet of the Southwest Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan.” Besides various numbers from the quartet (Messrs. G. Feenstra, I. Kuiper, P. Lotterman, and J. Schipper), there was also a piano-organ duet by Mrs. Feenstra and Mrs. Lotterman. According to Rev. W. Bekkering, “an overflow crowd was on hand to enjoy the program.”