News From Our Churches

The last meetings of the season for some of the organizations in our churches included some very interesting topics for after-recess programs. Take these, for example: “Children studying homework on Sunday,” at Hope’s (G.R.) Senior Mr. and Mrs. Society; “Creation Days or Periods,” at Hudsonville’s Mr. and Mrs.; and “Why did God permit polygamy in the Old Testament?” at Southwest’s Men’s Society. 

The Sunday School season is also drawing to a close—for some of our churches, anyway. For others, it’s just beginning. Hudsonville, Southeast, and Southwest, for example, have a Sunday School season that begins in May.

We learn from the bulletin of our church in Loveland that the congregation there has made a liturgical change. The decision of its consistory was that the entire congregation, rather than the minister only, should recite the Apostles’ Creed aloud in the Sunday evening services. For their well-stated grounds we’ll quote from their bulletin announcement concerning the change. “The reason for this decision is that God’s Word teaches us that confession is an important part of the worship of the Church. And confession is done with the mouth. ‘That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ (Rom. 9:10) Therefore, beginning next Sunday evening, April 12, the consistory asks the congregation to join the minister in confessing our faith aloud, as we have our faith briefly summed up in the Apostles’ Creed. The children should also be prepared to participate.” 

From that same bulletin we quote the following: “In the near future, the ‘Reformed Witness Hour’ radio program will be dropped from the local station. This will be done at the suggestion of the Mission Committee and with the approval of our Consistory. The reason is a lack of response from outside the congregation.” 

It seems unlikely that the lack of response is due to any lack of effort on the part of the congregation. Their Church Extension Committee is presently having printed 2,000 pamphlets on “What is a Protestant”—the text of a public lecture delivered in Loveland by their pastor, Rev. D. Engelsma. That number of pamphlets ought to go a long way in a town of 10,000 people. 

Incidentally, Rev. Engelsma has received the call from the congregation in Hull, Iowa; as has Rev. C. Hanko from our church in Randolph, Wisconsin; and Rev. M. Schipper from Doon, Iowa. 

Rev. Schipper did not return to his pulpit as soon as expected after his recent operation. He suffered “a slight set-back” which made it necessary for him to “wait with preaching another week.” He was back for the first time on Ascension Day; and according to reports, he was his “old self again.”

The young people of First Church in Grand Rapids are trying to collect issues of the Standard Bearerand Beacon Lights from those in the congregation who receive these publications but do not save them. The young people intend to place these in doctor’s offices, other waiting rooms, and any place where they might possibly be picked up and read. Not a bad idea!

The 1969-1970 school year will soon be a thing of the past for our Protestant. Reformed schools. Miss Beverly Hoekstra, teacher in our school in Loveland (the only Protestant Reformed teacher to conduct classes in the church basement), writes concerning the year’s end that “another milestone is nearly met. Our faithful God in his infinite mercy and love has provided for us every needed thing. Not only did He supply our needs, but it also was He Who made them to be the way they were.” We’re sure that this has been the experience of all our schools. 

Several weeks ago Mrs. H.C. Hoeksema, teacher at our Adams Street School gave a talk at that school’s P.T.A. on how the performance of students at Adams compares with the average performance of students on a nation-wide basis. The comparison was encouraging; but that was hardly the main thrust of the speech. She pointed out the responsibility of parents towards their children (gifts in themselves) who have been gifted in various ways and in varying degrees. 

We would like, in the future, to devote a little more space in this column to news from the schools. Right now, though, there’s little space left for news of any kind.