By the time you read this column 1982 will already be one month old. Nevertheless, I don’t think it’s too late to reflect on the new year as did the people of our Loveland, Colorado, congregation when they read the message from their pastor, Rev. Kortering, on their December 27 bulletin. Following is a part of that exhortation:
Now we turn our attention to the greeting of a new year. With the passage of time we are aware of change in our lives. It will be good for each one to reflect upon the changes we have experienced in this past year. This will help us to be spiritually minded, we are pilgrims and strangers here below, we have no abiding place. We must, needs go forward by faith. What the future holds we do not know. Will we know sickness, heartache, death of loved ones, economic difficulty, war and unrest among the nations, struggles in the church? Or does the Lord have a way of health, prosperity, peace, and pleasant experiences? We need not know, for whatever the Lord has for us, He will supply the grace to endure unto the end. Let us begin the new year in trust, for He said, “Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end.”
Though our churches are one in doctrine, there is considerable diversity when it comes to Christmas programs rendered by the children of the congregations. From the bulletins it appears that most of our churches have Christmas programs; it’s just thewhen they have them that is diverse. This year throughout our churches there were programs presented on the Sunday before Christmas (December 20) after the morning worship service, the Sunday before Christmas after the evening worship service, on Monday evening (December 21), and after the worship service on Christmas morning.
We have a considerable amount of news concerning new building projects and building maintenance activities in which our churches have been and/or still are involved.
Back in August of 1981 there was reference to the installation of a gas furnace in the Randolph, Wisconsin parsonage.
In September Kalamazoo, Michigan bulletins solicited members, “To work on the yard of the church and plant grass seed.”
The latest we have from Wyckoff, New Jersey, concerning the building of their new church, is “. . .the carpenters have now finished their part of the work by putting up the partitions in the basement (July 12, 19Sl).” Also, “. . .the underground electrical and telephone lines are finally installed to the building (November 15, 19Sl).” The main thing that is slowing down the progress on this building project is the lack of funds, thus we notice in their November, December, and January bulletins special notes of appreciation for gifts they have recently received from brothers in Victoria, Australia, and South Holland, Illinois, and our Hope congregation of Walker, Michigan.
There is continued progress on the new church building of our congregation of Redlands, California. You may recall from earlier news columns that the members of Redlands are taking part in the actual construction of their new church edifice under the direction of Mr. George Joostens. An announcement in December from their Building Committee indicates that at that time they were near to setting the auditorium roof beams. In that same report the Building Committee wrote: “1982 is our 50th year of existence in Redlands. Wouldn’t you be thrilled to combine the anniversary and the building dedication into one grand occasion?”
At their annual congregational meetings South Holland, Illinois approved the installation of ceiling fans for their church auditorium; First’s (Grand Rapids) “. . .proposal to install a chairlift for handicapped persons was approved”; and Hull, Iowa voted to purchase a new public address system for their church.
Bulletins from two of our churches, Redlands and Hope, Michigan reveal a change in custodial personnel. In this connection Hope’s (Michigan) December 27 bulletin read: “Upon his request, Mr. Jacob Kuiper, Sr. is now retiring after twenty-six years as janitor. In the name of the congregation we express our thanks and appreciation for his faithful service for so many years.” Though I have never been a church custodian, I’ve had contact with enough of them to know the kinds of headaches they face. One would be hard-pressed, I think, to find a more difficult job: How does one go about keeping everyone happy? The floors are either in need of waxing or they are too slippery. The auditorium is either too hot or too cold (sometime both at the same time depending on the individual). Then there’s the constant war on graffiti on the tables in the catechism rooms, the constant damage to Bibles and Psalters, the need for tables to be set up, just so, for this and that occasion, and on, and on, . . .and on! Too bad it’s impossible for the members of all our churches to take turns with the church cleaning the way they do it in our Kalamazoo Church. Maybe then we would understand and even appreciate the work of our church custodians.