Report of Eastern Ladies’ League
On the evening of April 20, 1961, the spring meeting of the Ladies’ League of Protestant Reformed Churches was held at Southeast Protestant Reformed Church. The meeting began with the singing of our theme song, Psalter No. 374, and Holland Psalm 25. Our League president, Mrs. Dirk Jonker, read Proverbs 31:10-31 and led us in prayer. A trio from First Church Priscilla Society sang. Our president then introduced the speaker for the evening, Rev. Herman Hanko, who spoke on “The Women of the Bible” in part thus:
“One of the surprising facts of the Scripture is that it often goes into great length to describe certain women and their lives, names and duties. It is a mistake to minimize the importance of women in the church and in the affairs of the Kingdom of Heaven and in the affairs of the Covenant of God.
“I would take you with me down a brief trip into the centuries of time on the dusty roads of Israel, to stop for a moment at the homes of some of the women of Scripture to listen to them speak and to observe some characteristics which are common to them all, and which would define the principles of Christian women throughout the world. We begin in the Plains of Mamre where Abraham lived with Sarah, who in her old age, well beyond the time of childbearing, was the mother of the Child of the Promise. We find, Rebecca who was intent on seeing that Jacob, her favorite son; get the birthright blessing. We hear of Tamar, the harlot, who was more vitally interested in producing the seed of the Covenant than even Judah. To Egypt and Jochebed, the mother of Moses, who would dare to defy Pharaoh. We visit the Judges, at a time when the people had adopted the customs and forms of worship of the people of the land in which they were sojourning. They were drawn apart by bickering and jealousy and tended to be dissolved. It seems but a matter of time before the people of Israel would lose their place in history. At Mt. Ephraim, Deborah carried the word of the Lord in her day; gave Barak the courage to fight the hosts of Sisera. To Bethlehem and the Country of Moab, where we find Ruth, who declares that the God of Naomi must be her God and the people of Naomi must be her people. God would preserve his people in the Promised Land. Finally, of the family at Zorah, where we find Samson’s father, a foolish man, who did not believe the word of the angel, but it was his wife who had faith to believe the messenger of God, that God would deliver them from the hands of the oppressor. To Rama, to the home of Elkanah and his two wives, Hannah and Peninnah. We listen to the jeers of Peninnah as she mocked Hannah. Hannah’s husband could not understand her tears and longing saying, ‘Am I not better to thee than ten sons?’ We go with Hannah to the temple and listen to her earnest and tear-filled cry to God as she cries out desperately for a son. We hear her song when the Lord gave her Samuel, which was an echo of Mary’s song, ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord.’ We hear of Bathsheba, who helped to bring forth the promised line of Jesus Christ. It was Bathsheba who insisted on Solomon’s right to sit upon the throne.
“Traveling to the Northern Kingdom, to the widow of Zarephath, who believed the word of the Lord, and) Elijah was taken into her dwelling during the famine. There were among the women of Israel, those who had moral, spiritual courage and integrity. At Hebron, we see Elizabeth, cousin of Mary, whose heart filled with joy at the prospect of having a son, while her husband, Zachariah, sat in, silence and unbelief. Then we go to Mary of Bethlehem and hear her song of rejoicing that she of low estate may become the mother of her Lord. So, in the New Testament Church, we find Lydia, Eunice, and Lois, women of great faith, who gathered each Sabbath to hear the Word of the Lord. These are but a few of the many illustrious women in the pages of Scripture who were filled with moral, spiritual courage and integrity.
“They all have one thing in common. Scripture makes mention of them in times of spiritual decline, when Israel as a nation was in apostasy, moral and spiritual degeneracy, which was primarily the responsibility of the men. Sometimes it was a matter of turning to idolatry, spiritual indifference; when the people had no time or interest in things spiritual and heavenly. During those times primarily, God makes mention of women whose names must be mentioned on the pages of Scripture, and whose interest is in the line of the Covenant of God. The homes of these simple women were the last lines of defense against worldly-mindedness and idolatry. For that reason their names have been recorded for the ages. That means that all of the emphasis for these women was on the home. In the earliest history of the patriarchs, the home was the only unit of society, at least in the line of the Covenant, it was a school, state, a place of employment, church. As the home goes, so goes society, because the home is the fundamental unit of society. When moral and spiritual values in the home disintegrate, society disintegrates. When the home is strong and vigorous, society is strong and vigorous and full of vitality and energy. The determining factor is always the home. The strength of the school is in the home. The home is the strength of the church, to a certain extent. Fathers are the head of the home, the prophet, the priest and the king in the home. The responsibility for the well-being for the home is, before God, the responsibility of the father. The strength of the home is still the mother’s because, in the first place, the mother is the one who is at home when the father is not. Her place, God puts there, and God gives her her calling there. It is the mother who is completely adapted to the calling of instructing the children, the mother is equipped for that psychically, spiritually, intuitively. What the child learns at home will determine to a considerable extent what kind of a member he will be of the Church of Jesus Christ, because he is guided in that home at his mother’s side. The home becomes the bulwark of the preservation of the truth of God’s Covenant, and the mother becomes God’s instrument to protect and maintain that truth in the hearts and minds of her children.
“What is the calling of women if we take our example from the saintly women of the Scripture? To bring forth the seed of the Covenant. God’s promise is that you are given the privilege of bringing forth the Church, which He will regenerate, and to which. He will give faith. You prepare the child in those crucial years of its life for what kind of a citizen it will be, parent, member of the Church. Wonderful privilege than which there is no higher calling in all of life. That is what struck us so forcibly about the mothers of Scripture. We live in times of moral and spiritual degeneracy. How important it is that our homes remain unstamped and unsullied by the times in which we live. We live beneath the shadow of the Cross. You do a work that abides through eternity, until eternity, when other works are destroyed. If sometimes you grow discouraged, weary, and downhearted go a little while to the home of Ruth, listen again to the beautiful song of Hannah, and be inspired and thrilled with your calling, the central fact of which is, that you and I and all “of us do our work with considerable imperfection. We wonder how it can be successful. Our homes are built in the shadow of the Cross of Calvary. Strong is the promise of our God. In that strength, you can once again make your homes the bastion of faith, the last line of defense, strong and faithful by the strength of the promises of God. May God grant that our homes are faithful homes, and may God grant that there are mothers who are faithful mothers.”
During the singing of Psalter No. 215, a collection was taken for our Hope and Adams Street Protestant Reformed Schools. The minutes of our Fall Meeting were read and approved and the roll of our member Societies called, by our Secretary, Mrs. J. Kuiper. Miss Audrey Reitsma gave the Treasurer’s report. Mrs. J. Oomkes of First Church Eunice Society then gave us a reading entitled “Life Through Death.” The trio sang another number and our meeting was closed with prayer by Mrs. P, Decker, President of First Church Priscilla Society. Refreshments and a social hour were enjoyed by all in the basement. Mrs. H.C. Hoeksema was the organist for the evening.
Miss Ruth H. Bylsma, Reporter
Report of the Western Ladies’ League
The Western Ladies’ League met in Edgerton, Minnesota on April 21, 1941, with the ladies of Edgerton as our hostesses.
The meeting was opened by singing Psalter numbers 298 our theme song, and 92. Opening prayer was offered by Rev. J. Kortering. Our Scripture lesson, Luke 21:5-38, was read by our president, Mrs. W. Kooiker.
A business meeting was held in which minutes were read by our secretary, Mrs. D. Bleyenberg, and a financial report was given by our treasurer, Mrs. J. Blankespoor. Also, our new vice-president, Mrs. B. Woudenberg, and treasurer, Mrs. C. Klein, were elected. Psalter numbers, 7 and 88 were then sung while the collection was taken for the Reformed Witness Hour.
Our speaker, Rev. Lubbers, was introduced. He spoke on the topic, “Watchfulness for the Son of Man’s Return,” based on Luke 21:36, “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
The speaker divided the topic into these three parts: its implication, its discretion, and its incentive.
Watchfulness unto prayer means that we understand and long to see the things which must come to pass which are foretold by Christ to His Church. This watchfulness is manifested in praying. We must watch and pray that we may by His grace stand before the Son of Man at His coming. The prayer of the Church is, “Come, Lord Jesus, Yea come quickly.”
As the Church sees the fulfillment of all these things towards the time of His coming she must use proper discretion or understanding of these things. The Church must understand: first, that all the birth pangs of the world really bring forth the birth of the coming of the Son of Man; secondly, that the Church must prayerfully carry on; and, thirdly, that there will be a time of great abomination, desolation for the Church when she will find it practically impossible to gather for public worship. Jesus gives the parable of the fig tree: when the leaves shoot forth, then we know that summer is nigh. In these times of great importance the Church looks about her and sees that summer or the time of the Son of Man’s return is near.
Our incentive is that we, worthy by grace, may stand before the Son of Man crowned with His glory. This is that which motivates the Church to watch and pray for the Son of Man’s return.
After the speech we were favored with a solo given by one of the Doon ladies entitled “Under the Care of My God.” After this Rev. Kortering conducted the question hour. He answered questions on: the relation of the Christian to fine arts, Deuteronomy 33:13, and the mother’s place in the family altar.
Our president thanked our speakers and all those who took part in the program.
A special number, a poem, was given by one of the Hull ladies.
We sang Psalter number 60 after which Rev. Lubbers closed with prayer.
Refreshments were served by the Edgerton ladies, our hostesses, during which we enjoyed a social hour.
Mrs. E. Van Den Top, Reporter