News From Our Churches

During the month past there has been no lack of news concerning calls extended to various of the pastors in our churches. Rev. James Slopsema of our church in Edgerton, Minnesota, declined the call extended to him by our Southwest Church in Grand Rapids. From a trio of Rev. David Engelsma, Rev. Slopsema, and Rev. Ronald VanOverloop our church in Isabel, South Dakota, extended a call to Rev. Slopsema which he subsequently declined. Rev. Slopsema also declined a call to Faith Church in Jenison, Michigan. From a trio of Rev. Arie den Hartog, Rev. David Engelsma, and Professor Herman Hanko, Faith Church extended a call to Rev. Engelsma. During a congregational meeting on July 7, Southeast Church in Grand Rapids extended a call to Rev. Slopsema. The Southeast trio also included Rev. Van Overloop and Rev. Engelsma. 

As reported in the last issue, the Synod of our churches examined three students from our Seminary and declared them candidates for the ministry, eligible to receive calls on or after July 12. At this writing there are four vacant churches in the denomination: Faith, Southeast and Southwest in Grand Rapids, and Isabel, South Dakota. 

Synod also approved the emeritation of Rev. C. Hanko, Rev. G. Lubbers, Rev. M. Schipper, and Rev. H. Veldman. These men have served our churches in the ministry of the gospel for many years. 

Rev. Veldman preached his farewell sermon in Southwest Church on June 18. His congregation held a special program and reception in his honor on June 22. 

A farewell sermon by Rev. Schipper was planned for the evening service on July 16 in Southeast Church. Rev. Schipper began his ministry in Grand Haven in 1936, but was not ordained until January, 1937; thus he served our churches 41% years. With the farewell sermon, Rev. Schipper will have preached 1,353 times in Southeast Church and a total of 5,525 sermons and lectures in his ministerial career. Rev. and Mrs. Schipper plan to retain their membership in Southeast Church after his retirement. Recently Rev. and Mrs. Schipper celebrated another noteworthy day—their 45th wedding anniversary. An open house was held in the church on June 14, given by their children. 

At a special congregational meeting in May, our South Holland Church adopted the proposals of the council to serve as the calling church for a missionary and to underwrite the cost. The church council sent notification of the decision to the 1978 Synod. 

Prof. Hanko and his family will live in Northwestern Washington state during the summer months while the professor labors in the Monroe area. Prof. Hanko preached in Hull, Iowa, on his way west. 

The congregation of our Covenant Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey, enjoyed a rather special Sunday on June 25. Five confessions of faith and two baptisms all took place during the morning service on that day. For a congregation of eight families, this is something very special. Rev. den Hartog writes that “We rejoice at the growth the Lord has shown us and the blessing upon His Work here.” 

Our Missionary, Rev. Robert Harbach, continues to hold Sunday services, catechism, and Bible study classes in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Some interest in his work is also evident in Sooke, Clearbrook, and Abbottsford, B. C. Rev. Harbach delivered a lecture in the Peace Lutheran Church of Abbotsford on June 22. His topic was “Keys Given the Church.” 

Rev. Van Overloop, who has been laboring in Christchurch, New Zealand, for about nine months, reports that he is busy preaching and teaching. Every other week he makes a trip up to Wellington to conduct Bible study classes there. Rev. Van Overloop was asked to teach a class in “Major Doctrines of the Bible” at the Middleton Grange (school) for the ten week term beginning May 22. About 40 students are enrolled in this elective class which meets once a week. 

Our Protestant Reformed day school teachers have been invited to attend a ‘mini-course’ sponsored by the Teacher Education Development Committee of the Federation. of Protestant Reformed School Societies. The subject of this course, taught by Rev. C. Hanko, isMotivation. Three lectures, each followed by a discussion period, will be presented on August 10, 11, and 12 in the Protestant Reformed Theological School. Lecture topics are: The Lack of Motivation Among Students, The Cause or Causes for this Lack, and the Solution to the Problem. An earlier ‘mini-course’ resulted in the publication of the bookletReformed Education. This fine publication by course leader Rev. David Engelsma was published and distributed to families in all of our churches by the Federation.