The following news about the organization of our newest congregation in Houston, Texas appeared in the February 20 Hope (Walker, Michigan) bulletin: “On Tuesday and Wednesday, our pastor (Rev. Ronald VanOverloop) and elders King and Engelsma assisted the group in Houston in their organization. Much of their time was spent with Rev. and Mrs. Harbach conducting family visitation and discussing future mission work. At the organizational meeting on Tuesday evening our pastor delivered the sermon and Rev. Harbach chaired the meeting. Those organized totaled four families and twenty souls. The excitement for the Church and the enthusiasm for the truth was very great and something to .witness. The beauty of this enthusiasm was that it was filled with gratitude to God and trust that He would care for them in the future.” Because of a rather busy week, Rev. VanOverloop and Rev. Veldman exchanged pulpits for the Sunday evening service on February 20.
Rev. Joostens noted in the Faith Church bulletin on February 20 that the coming week was a kind of a special week for the Faith congregation “in that Tuesday marks our 4th birthday as a congregation., What can we say or do except to resound our doxology, ‘Praise God from Whom all blessings flow.'” Hope Church also marked this as a bit of a special time as both the mortgage on the church and, the parsonage were liquidated. “We thank God for his faithfulness in supplying the means for us to make this possible.”
During the past week I received ’77 church directories from our churches in Randolph, Wisconsin, and Southwest, Wyoming, Michigan. Both of these directories are something quite above the ‘ordinary’ directories to which I have been accustomed to. In addition to the membership roles, the Southwest directory lists the birthdates of the children in the congregation (why not the older folks?) and considerable additional information which would be especially valuable to a new member of the congregation, such as society membership and the policy to be followed in the event of a tornado watch. Randolph’s directory also contains a concise history of the congregation, birthdays and anniversaries arranged by day of the year, the church financial report for 1976, the 1977 collection schedule, and church building use rules. In all, a fine piece of work.
Yesterday I received an air-mail letter addressed to “Mr. KENNEWS VINK” in the “YOU.ESS.AYE”. That, of course, could only come from elder J.M. Faber who has been deeply involved in what he calls “the Jamaican Labors 77” with Rev. John Heys and their wives. Mr. Faber says that a complete report on their work will be submitted by Rev. Heys and printed in the Standard Bearer. The following from elder Faber’s letter is of interest: “The work which has given us much joy in the discoveries of progress made in the teaching and in the growth of knowledge of the Reformed Faith suffered a saddening blow. Rev. Beckford was a victim of a ‘nervous breakdown’ before we arrived. His condition deteriorated very rapidly. Our first visit to his sick-room resulted in our giving him some comfort from the Scriptures and prayer, but in our second visit we could no longer reach his consciousness. From that time he had been unconscious, and was hospitalized. There he lingered in an unconscious state until February 15th when he was taken into glory. His ministry was short, but complete according to the will of the King of His Church, who called him into the ministry. This loss cuts the ‘work-force’ by 25% in Jamaica, and according to purely .human reasoning, does irreparable harm to the two churches he was serving, but according to our sanctified reasoning, this, too, will work together for good for Jamaica’s ‘called according to His purpose.'” The Fabers and the Heyses expected to leave Jamaica about February 23.
The Randolph consistory has decided to begin the practice of singing a song, Psalter #425 stanza 5, right .after baptism. While the parents are still standing at the baptism fount, the congregation will rise and sing. The Hull, Iowa consistory decided to change the last doxology of the afternoon worship service to “May the grace of Christ the Savior. . .” The Southwest Church council has decided to continue the Sunday evening services at 7:00 because not all of the Southwest members are able to attend services at 6:00 PM.
A Quiet Thought from the Southeast bulletin: “If godliness be evil, why is it so much professed? If it be good, why is it so little practiced?”
A last-minute bit of news, received just before this column went to print: Rev. Arie den Hartog has declined the call extended to him from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church of Christchurch, New Zealand.