News From Our Churches

Our Southeast Church in Grand Rapids has extended a call to Rev. David Engelsma, pastor of our church in South Holland, Illinois. The call was extended after a congregational meeting on March 19. The trio also included Rev. Arie den Hartog and Rev. Bernard Woudenberg. Professor Herman Hanko declined the call extended to him previously by the Southeast congregation. 

The Council and the congregation of our South Holland Church have been working toward the goal of calling a missionary to work in a field for several years. Recently, the South Holland Council informed the congregation of their investigation of this project and have also made a proposal that the congregation call a missionary and begin labors. At present, the council felt that there are three possible fields of labor available. They are Jamaica, Birmingham, Alabama, and northwest Washington. Some work is being done in the northwest Washington area by our congregation in Lynden, Washington. The South Holland Council has recommended that labors be begun in the area of Birmingham, Alabama. The greater Birmingham area has a population of about one and a half million. Several of our ministers and professors have been to this area and report that the area seems to have a good potential for mission labors. There have been several requests for a missionary from our churches to come and work in this area. Seven families attended a recent meeting and expressed interest in the doctrine taught by our churches. These people have a Baptist background and are interested in the Bible and in preaching. 

The Council has recommended the Birmingham area for the following reasons: it is a field recommended by the Mission Committee, the people have asked for help from the Mission Committee of our churches, and this field is the closest of the three to the South Holland Church. This work ‘is to be accomplished under the new rules for missionary labor in which the work is to be the work of the local church, not the Mission Committee of Synod. The Mission Committee will contribute financially and assist the local church when help is needed. A final reason for this field is that the request for help has been for labor on a more continuing basis than to have different people coming in for a few weeks at a time. 

The Mission Committee also recommends that the congregation try to go to the area in which they are responsible for mission labor so that they can meet with the people, see the field, be encouraged and encourage the work. This kind of work must have financial backing and prayers, but it must also have the love, attention, and prayers which can only be given by individuals and families. 

The Council has proposed to, and received approval from the Mission Committee for, a list of five ministers who could be considered for a call to labor as missionary in Birmingham. They are Rev. den Hartog, Rev. Kortering, Rev. Slopsema, Rev. Van Overloop, and Rev. Woudenberg. 

A special congregational meeting was held in South Holland on April 9 to decide on the mission field and to call a missionary from the trio of Rev. Kortering, Rev. Slopsema, and Rev. Van Overloop. 

Our Hull, Iowa, consistory has informed the churches that they “grant Rev. Mark Hoeksema, upon his request and advice of Classis, release from the ministry under Article 12 of the Church Order.” From a trio of Rev. D. Engelsma, Rev. J. Slopsema, and Rev. R. Van Overloop, Hull has extended a call to Rev. Engelsma. 

The League of Eastern Men’s and Ladies’ Societies met at First Church in Grand Rapids on April 10. Rev. George Lubbers spoke on “Angels in the Holy Scriptures.” 

South Holland has scheduled a public lecture in their church on April 30. Professor Robert Decker plans to speak on “The Church’s Calling to Mission Work and the Believer’s Calling to Witness.” 

The Reformed Witness Hour still has copies of two cassette tapes available for $2.00 each. Each of these contains 60 minutes of music sung by the Radio Choir. One tape is all Psalms and the other contains Psalms and Anthems. One hundred ninety-seven copies of these tapes have been ordered to date. Write to: The Reformed Witness Hour, P.O. Box 1230, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49501. 

The Spring Lecture in the Michigan area is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2, at 8:00 P.M. in Hudsonville Church. Professor H. Hanko plans to speak on “The Virtuous Woman.”