The convocation program, marking the beginning of a new year of instruction in our seminary, was held on September 6, in Southwest Church. Prof. Hanko, the speaker for the evening, began by noting some of the many evidences of God’s favor, as far as our seminary is concerned. Among such evidences was the fact that God has given a constituency which supports the seminary, as is plain, Prof. Hanko remarked, from the wonderful crowd present at the program. (“You can’t imagine how gratifying that is, to professors and students.”) Indeed, the professor continued, the tokens of His favor are so numerous that “we cannot help but believe that God’s blessing will rest on us during this year.”
Rev. VanBaren, the chairman for the evening, was no doubt speaking for that constituency when he stated, in his introductory remarks, that our prayers will be with the seminary. We understand, he said, to a certain degree the work involved for the professors; and he took advantage of the opportunity to express our appreciation to them for their intense labor during the past years.
After Professor Hanko’s speech, Rev. Van Baren presented each of the six new students. In doing so, he noted that Ron Hanko, son of the professor, marked the 3rd generation of ministers from that family in our churches. He announced, also, that, as of that date, the building fund (cash and pledges) for the seminary building was only $263 short of the 65% total required, by the decision of Synod, before construction could begin. Rev. Van Baren also informed the audience that Rev. Kortering had declined the call to serve as third professor in the seminary. In harmony with the decision of Synod, the call was then extended to Rev. R. Harbach.
Bulletins were a little slow in coming for this writing of the news column. We have one from Isabel, though, and it includes a couple of items which are, we think, of more than simply local interest. “This week at 8:00 A.M. over KOLY radio the pastor will speak on the program ‘Foundations of Faith.’ The theme for the broadcast is the five points of Calvinism.” In that same bulletin Rev. Miersma included a welcome for several out-of-state visitors—one couple from Loveland, Colorado, and another from-Lynden, Washington. We understand, also, that on that particular Sunday, the entire congregation-had supper together in the church.
From Hull’s bulletin we learn that the Reformed Witness Committee of the three churches in that area have published another pamphlet. This one is entitled “A Defense of Calvinism as the Gospel,” written by Rev. D. Engelsma. The announcement concluded, “Enjoy them for your personal reading and distribute them to anyone interested.”
Further along in that same bulletin, we read the following: “Today we have the privilege of worshipping in our newly remodeled auditorium. Many hours of work have been donated by members of the church for this improvement and in painting the church and parsonage . . . . It is good for us to be reminded that the building does not make the church, rather it is an earthly means to sustain the true spiritual life of the people of God. It must be the prayer and intent of each one of us that our worship of God may be enhanced through the atmosphere of reverence and devotion created by these improvements. Let us strive together to ascend unto the hill of the Lord in holy fear that we may have ears to hear and hearts to understand what God has to say unto us. Then we will not only be hearers, but also doers of the Word and God will receive all the glory.”
The monthly Sunday evening discussion groups have begun again in First Church. Some of last year’s interesting topics included, “Singing as Part of our Worship,” “The Unbreakable Bond of Marriage” (based on the Sunday School pamphlet of that title), “Neo-Pentecostalism,” and “Discipline in the Christian Home and School” (Based on the two Standard Bearer articles written by Mr. Tom DeVries). The September topic was, “Our Calling to Witness.” For each such topic, the committee prepared a set of questions or a detailed outline to aid in the preparation for, and the conduct of, the discussions. “We would desire to see more of our people participate,” the bulletin announcement read, “for spiritual fellowship and to enlarge our acquaintances among fellow members of the church.”
Late news concerning calls: Rev. R. Harbach has declined the call to our seminary. Candidate R. van Overloop has accepted the call to Hope Church, Grand Rapids, which implies, of course, that he has declined the call to our congregation in Forbes, North Dakota. Both Classis East and Classis West, therefore, will have examinations of candidates on their agenda—something which has not happened for several years.
From among the many well-chosen quotations from Loveland’s “Thoughts for Contemplation” comes this verse by Toplady:
“My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase.
Impressed on His heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heav’n.”