The construction of the new home for the Reformed Free Publishing Association (RFPA) is well under way! We broke ground in early July and the block walls are going up as this article is being written. The Lord willing, we will complete the project by the end of this year. This is an exciting time for the RFPA as we look forward to a home of our own for the first time in eighty years.
The RFPA was formed in 1923 to finance a monthly periodical enabling Revs. Hoeksema and Danhof to present their views against common grace when the doors to the CRC magazines were closed to them. This was the beginning of theStandard Bearer that we all read and enjoy today. In the early years of its existence, the RFPA published about a half-dozen theological books and pamphlets but, after that, focused primarily on the Standard Bearer. Much time elapsed until the next book was published. In 1966, Hoeksema’sReformed Dogmatics was edited and published by the RFPA.
For many years, the RFPA operated out of the basements and kitchens of various willing people in the Grand Rapids area. In 1998 an agreement was reached with the Theological School Committee to set up shop in the basement of the seminary. This, combined with a reorganization of the board and staff to operate more as a business, led to quick growth and increased capacity for book publishing. At last the RFPA could receive mail at their own address and had ample storage space from which to fill orders.
The Membership and Marketing subcommittee of the RFPA has busied itself in promoting the books and SButilizing professionally printed catalogs, memberships in international book conventions, listings in large Christian bookseller catalogs, and building up the Book Club. The RFPA also operates an expansive website that is playing an ever-increasing role in sales and international orders.
Eventually the RFPA began to outgrow the basement of the seminary. Our current inventory of over 75,000 books has overflowed from our storage racks into the aisles and walkways of the seminary basement. The seminary, needing additional space at the same time, asked the RFPA to find other quarters in which to operate. In 2005 the Board of the RFPA submitted a proposal to the Society for the construction of a new building. The building will be built to fit our publishing operations, enabling us to receive materials, prepare and mail publications, store inventory, and maintain office support functions in a more efficient manner.
The building will provide us excellent facilities for meetings. The location and design will also afford increased visibility and opportunity with retail customers. The new facility will therefore serve the needs of both the Standard Bearer and book publishing, support future growth, and carry the RFPA into the future.
The RFPA, in its work, has always depended on the generous donations of its support base. No less has that been true with respect to this building project. It was the generosity of our supporters that made it possible for us to make a substantial down payment at the very beginning. Almost $175,000. And an additional $50,000 was received in response to the informational letter we sent out in May. That is humbling. Through your gifts, God has indeed prospered us “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” We are well over half way to our goal of $370,000. We take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to all who have contributed to this cause and encourage those who have not done so to consider seriously our need. We hope to collect the remaining $145,000 before the completion of the project in order to minimize our operational expenses. Tax-deductible contributions for our Building Fund may be sent to the current RFPA office at 4949 Ivanrest Ave., Grandville, MI 49418.
After eighty years the RFPA continues to publish and mail twenty-one issues of theSB annually to subscribers throughout the USA and in numerous foreign countries. We currently publish, each year, three new book titles and reprint existing titles as inventory requires. The repeated testimony of our readers is that they are blessed by our publications. We are greatly encouraged by this evidence that the Lord is pleased to use our little efforts for His glory and for the spiritual profit of His people. A privilege it is indeed for the RFPA Board to be busy in this kingdom cause, and for all of us to support it with our gifts and prayers.
Yours in Christ,
Jon Rutgers, Treasurer
Board of the RFPA