News From Our Churches

In the September 7 bulletin of our First Church in Grand Rapids we read: “Church News: Prof. Hoeksema has declined his call to Hope; Rev. Kamps declined Redlands; Holland has called Rev. Kamps.” Such an announcement would: attract little attention except for the fact that the clerk of First happens to be none other than K.G.V., our former news editor. Either Mr. Vink is so programmed to church news that he cannot help himself, or he loved the work so much that he desires to continue it on a miniature scale. 

A passing glance at many of the bulletins leaves no doubt as to the time of year: announcements concerning the beginning of catechism, classes and’ the openings of our schools abound. Among those school opening activities, was the convocation program of our seminary on September 3 at Southeast Church. Prof. Decker spoke on the topic, “Getting the Principal Thing.” 

While we are thinking about our schools I should make mention of a recent newsletter from the Federation of Prot. Ref. Schools that was distributed to many—if not all—of our churches. As many of you know, the Federation is an organization of seven Prot. Ref. Schools whose purpose is to discuss matters of mutual concern and produce biblically-based teaching materials for; use in the Protestant Reformed Schools. We are informed of the Federation’s desire to domore in the area of producing teaching materials. However, they are restrained by a rather limited budget. This might be a worthy cause for some of our societies to consider when they distribute their funds. 

Members of Southwest welcomed into their fellowship Mr. Lau Chin Kwee and his new bride, Foong Ngee, upon their arrival from Singapore. Mr. Lau (this last-name-first business might take some getting used to) plans, the Lord willing, to attend our seminary for two years in preparation for the ministry of the gospel in Singapore. You may have noticed in the recently distributed 1980 Acts of Synod that the Foreign Mission Committee was instructed to see to the support of Mr. & Mrs. Lau by means of church collections. That this is being done is verified by this announcement,’ taken from the September 7 bulletin of First Church: “…the consistory readily acceded to the request of the Foreign Mission Committee that we take a collection for this cause. We view it as an unusual opportunity for our people to have an important part in the proclamation of the gospel of sovereign grace among a heathen people, the hearts of a good number of whom have been opened by the Lord, also through our efforts. We therefore heartily recommend to our congregation this cause.” 

Apparently the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church building project is taking a great leap forward, or maybe we should say, upward. In the September 1Standard Bearer it was reported that siding was being applied; now we read that the steeple is in the process of being built. A glance at the drawing of the new church on their bulletin cover makes it obvious that the construction of their steeple will be no small project. 

Among the materials that were passed on to me from K.G.V. was this item of interest on Faith’s August 3, 1975 bulletin: “Prof. Hoeksema, his wife and Rev. C. Hanko returned from their Austrial-Asia tour a little past midnight Thursday.” One might think that our former news editor was a little behind with the news; however, taking into consideration his concern for space he was likely just saving it for a time such as this when he could report the more recent return of Prof. and Mrs. Hoeksema from those parts of the world, and include both trips in a single news paragraph. 

In consideration of the work of news editor, I looked through past volumes of the Standard Bearer in search of the roots of this column. After a brief search, I found in the October 1, 1958 issue, written by the hand of “see you in church” John M. Faber: “May this column serve as a means to reach out to the far-out outposts of Redlands, Lynden and Loveland, drawing them into a closer circle with the rest of our churches, binding us closer in the bonds of love; yea, let it be a means to embrace one another in the communion of saints.” Take note of two things in regard to that paragraph: First, consider how the “outposts” of our churches have been increased since that time to include Houston, New Jersey, and Edmonton, not to mention the active mission fields at home and abroad. And second, one cannot help but be impressed by the superb work that the former editors of this column, namely, or should I say initially, J.M.F., D.D., and K.G.V., have done in keeping with that original statement of purpose. May God grant that this work be continued by means of a new vessel.