News From Our Churches

At the time this issue was ‘locked up’ for publication, no news had been received concerning e Rev. James Slopsema’s call from our Lynden, Washington church to serve as home missionary in the Northwest Washington area or concerning the call extended to Rev. Dale Kuiper to serve as pastor of our Hope Church in Walker, Michigan. 

The consistory of our church in Redlands, California submitted the trio of Professor Robert Decker, Rev. John Heys, and Rev. James Slopsema for consideration at their congregational meeting scheduled for December 10. Since the original announcement of this trio, it has been changed twice. Rev. George Lanting replaced Professor Decker on the trio as Professor Decker would not be able to take a call until June of 1980 when his tenure as Seminary Professor comes before the 1980 Synod. A week later it was learned that Rev. Heys plans to retire. Rev. Heys’ was replaced on the trio by Professor Herman Hanko. 

Our church in Hudsonville, Michigan has extended a call to Professor Homer Hoeksema to serve as ‘minister-on-loan’ in Christchurch, New Zealand. Professor Hoeksema is no stranger to the congregation in Christchurch, as he has had correspondence with them for some years. In addition, Professor Hoeksema and Rev. C. Hanko visited New Zealand on their far-eastern tour in 1975. It is interesting to note that Singapore was. also a stop on that 1975 trip. Rev. den Hartog is now awaiting a work permit in order that he may begin his new labors as missionary in Singapore. 

On November 11, First Church in Grand Rapids resumed church extension work in Bradenton, Florida. Rev. Bruinsma conducted Sunday worship services in the Manatee Hotel for four weeks. Attendance at the November 11 service was rather sparse, numbering ten souls. However, by the fourth week, December 2, forty-five people attended the Sunday morning service. Rev. Bruinsma was followed by Rev. G. Van Baren and Professor H. Hanko for two Sundays each. Rev. C. Hanko plans to spend January and February in Bradenton and Rev. Joostens the month of March. In addition to the Sunday worship services, a Wednesday evening Bible study class is held. Attendance at this class was fourteen the last two weeks of Rev. Bruinsma’s stay. The Church Extension Committee of First Church plans to sponsor two or three public lectures in Bradenton this winter. 

Concerning the work in Florida, the Church Extension Committee had this to say in a newsletter to the congregation at First Church: “Our sister churches and their pastors have, for the most part, been most cooperative with us in this our church extension venture in Florida. At the present time we have commitments for supply some eight or nine months down the road. For this we are very thankful—for we believe that the availability of ministers for the work is already an indication of the Lord’s blessing on this field of labor. Already last spring we were quite convinced that we had a place in Florida. Encouragement came in the form of letters—like the one from which we quote the following: ‘This year we were privileged to attend church services under your sponsorship. We enjoyed every one of them and were sorry they came to an end. . . . We surely hope you will continue this program and hopefully establish a church in this community should you deem this possible after further consideration.” 

The consistories in our churches in Hull, Iowa, and Redlands, California have decided-to add an’ additional elder to their bodies. This action was taken because of the size of the church and amount of work to be done by the elders in their respective congregations. The elders in Redlands also face additional work as their congregation is without a pastor at this time. 

The Mr. and Mrs. Society in our Hull church has dissolved and formed a new society called “Christian Fellowship.” Membership is made up of couples with a combined age of up to 70 years and single persons 35 and younger. The society is studying Professor Hanko’s book “Mysteries of the Kingdom.” 

The Men’s Society in our Loveland, Colorado church had two after-recess discussions on the topic, “What do the uprisings in Iran mean for the church today?”