News From Our Churches

Rev. H. Hanko, of Hope Church has received a call from our church at Doon.

The Adams St. School All-Purpose Room was the scene of intense activity for several evenings in December. The clothing drive for the Christians in Jamaica, as reported last month, met with an overwhelming response! All of the churches in Classis East and the two western churches in Illinois participated in this “ministering unto the saints.” The Deacons of First Church, according to the Mission Committee’s directive, worked several evenings folding and packing the gifts, which were of very good quality. Used summer clothing had been specified and over a ton of wearing apparel, including 500 women’s dresses, was collected and shipped. Thirteen huge boxes, averaging 100 cubic feet apiece, were carefully packed and sent on their way, Dec. 12. This consignment traveled by train to New York and by boat to the port of entry in the Island. The total weight of the shipment was 2700 pounds and the freight charges to New York amounted to $150.00. The cost for shipping the rest of the way was not yet known, but the addition of the export and import fees will swell the entire expense to an estimated $600.00. In order to make this a denominational venture the churches which were too distant to furnish used clothing will probably be given opportunity to share in defraying the shipping charges with the others. May this work of mercy, in as far as it proceeded from the good root of faith, be good and acceptable in the sight of God and be sanctified by His grace.

Seminarian Robert Decker joined his colleague Dave Engelsma in “speaking a word of edification in the churches.” His first sermon was delivered in Holland’s Church Dec. 9, and Dec. 16 Hudsonville welcomed the youthful aspirant to the ministry to their pulpit. This newest gift from our Seminary eases the minister shortage just a little but the need for workers in the Lord’s harvest is still critical.

All the bulletins that came our way this month (and presumably those which failed to come) reflect the season of the year with announcements of curtailment in Sunday School memorization due to Christmas Program practice. That shows that at least for one hour we might celebrate the true commemoration of the birth of The King.

Southeast’s Men’s Society examined Canons 1:17 to see whether it teaches that “all children of believing parents that die in infancy are saved.” The question was answered by Mr. Gerald DeVries and was then discussed by the society.

The Adams St. School Mothers’ Club advertised in the area bulletins for discarded winter clothing for their January S and 9 Rummage Sale. The discarded summer clothes were all on the high seas!

From Redlands, Calif., we learn that the Young People’s Society meets after the morning service while Sunday School is in session. We believe that this arrangement is unique in our denomination. Their bulletins also reveal a healthy Men’s Society which is currently studying the Epistle of James.

Hope’s annual congregational meeting resulted in a decision to purchase land for a new church. Hope’s congregation is gradually outgrowing its present auditorium.

The Program Committee of The Reformed Witness Hour contributed the following: The Lord willing, Rev. H. Hoeksema hopes to continue his radio ministry during January with sermons based on texts taken from chapters 3 and 4 of the First Epistle of Peter. The pastor’s first radio message of the New Year is entitled “The Just For The Unjust” (I Peter 3:18). The following Lord’s Day verses 20 and 21 of this chapter are treated under the theme “Saved By Baptism.” On Jan. 20, “The Exaltation of Christ” (verse 22) will be discussed. Sunday, Jan. 27, Rev. Hoeksema explains verse 1 of chapter 4 in which Christ’s “Suffering in the Flesh” is the subject material. The prayer and hope of the Radio Committee of the Reformed Witness Hour is that the Lord may continue to bless the radio endeavors of the Protestant Reformed Churches during the coming New Year.

Now that Christmas 1962 is past did we really celebrate the birthday of our King? Or did we join the groping crowds experiencing electronic cheer as loudspeakers blared their unholy alliance of the sacred and secular? Did we encourage the greeting card companies who happily announced that “they had Christmas (1) cards from one cat to another and from dog to dog”? Did our children gambol under the glowing goodwill of that grotesque Gentleman in the gala gaudery, or did we teach them the true joy of Christmas as pealed forth over the fields of Bethlehem by the angelic choir that night? Did we preserve the true Christmas spirit with true-to-the-Scripture carols?

Do you agree that, crass commercialism has coarsely caricatured Christ out of Christmas even for conscientious Christians?

You have observed in your practical life with the Apostle James, “Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth”; but, have you also discovered with him that the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity? Then let us be characterized as “wise and endued with knowledge” and “let us show out of a good conversation our works with meekness of wisdom.”

“Happy is the people whose God is the Lord” is the jubilant shout of the Psalmist of Psalm 144. And in that spirit we wish you a happy New Year!

. . . . see you in church.