So soon the second semester of the 2015-16 year is well underway, and news from “the hill” (i.e., seminary) is in order.
The Protestant Reformed Seminary began the school year with twelve seminarians and one man taking a pre-seminary course (Greek Grammar). Midway through the first semester one of the third-year students, Mr. Nathan Price, discontinued his studies in the seminary. This is always difficult for professors and students alike, because in a small seminary, the bonds of fellowship grow strong indeed. Nonetheless, we wish Nathan well as he seeks to determine God’s will and calling for this life.
At mid-year the pre-seminary population doubled with the addition of Mr. Josiah Tan. Josiah and his new bride, Hui Qi (married January 9), arrived in the dead of the Michigan winter from the fair land of Singapore—where a cool nighttime temperature is 75 F. Josiah has one semester of schooling (Greek reading in the seminary and several courses in college) to complete all the pre-seminary requirements. He plans to enter seminary proper in the Fall of this year, D.V.
Thus in the seminary are currently three students in their first year, two coming from the western churches. Matt Kortus hails from Loveland, CO. Matt and his wife Sarah are members of Faith PRC. Jacob Maatman grew up in Lynwood, IL. Since “South Holland PRC” has now become “Crete PRC,” Jacob is the first seminary student from Crete PRC. He and Rachel, his wife, are members in Southwest PRC. Darren Vink comes to us from the First PRC of Grand Rapids—hardly the first student from that congregation. Darren is married to Stephanie, and the Lord has given them four children. All three students have acclimated to seminary very well.
The much-anticipated internship looms large for the eight third-year students. They are scheduled for the following churches (pastor’s name in parentheses) for the internship from July 1 to December 31 of this year.
Aaron Lim: CERC, Singapore (A. Lanning)
Brian Feenstra: Loveland, CO (S. Key)
Dave Noorman: Hope, Redlands, CA (B. Huizinga)
Joe Holstege: Calvary, Hull, IA (C. Griess)
Jon Langerak: Edgerton, MN (D. Kuiper)
Justin Smidstra: Faith, Jenison, MI (C. Spronk)
Matt De Boer: Georgetown, Hudsonville, MI (C. Haak)
Stephan Regnerus: Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI (W. Langerak).
Prof. Gritters taught the interim course this year (Jan. 4-13). Recall that this yearly class is an intensive study of one subject—historical, practical, or doctrinal. This year the class treated Christian ethics. A number of visitors attended, including two Christian school teachers who will apply it for credit to a master’s degree in another institution.
The eleven students and Prof. Cammenga made a six-day visit to California in January following the interim. They attended a conference on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit sponsored by the Westminster Seminary in Escondido. We have attended similar conferences in Escondido in previous years when the topic and speeches are judged to be profitable, as they were this year. A major benefit of the trip (beside the warm sunshine) is the fellowship with the congregation in Redlands, whose friendly hospitality is unsurpassed. The two Sunday worship services in Hope PRC were led by seminary students.
We conclude this brief report with a request for prayers. We covet your prayers for God’s blessing on the labors of the professors and on the young men who aspire to the ministry. But there is more. Your requests are urgently needed for prospective students. This, perhaps, will need some explanation.
Because the churches currently have no vacant congregations, and have ten students in seminary desiring to be pastors in the PRC, it might seem that there is no pressing need to pray for more students. However, the reality is, we ought to be beseeching the Lord for more pastors. Consider that in the next nine years approximately fifteen men will leave the ranks of active ministers, including the three current professors. Relatively few young men (in high school or college) have informed the faculty of serious consideration for the ministry. If, in God’s blessing, all the current seminary students and all the young men known to us who are considering the ministry are in fact ordained, they will not cover the vacancies left by the aging ministry. And this does not figure in daughter congregations or God-given mission work. Do continue to pray the Lord of the harvest for laborers in this part of His vineyard.
Prof. Russell Dykstra, Rector