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Trivia question

In which year was Randolph, WI PRC organized and who was their first installed pastor? Answers in the church profile section below. More trivia next time.

Sister-church activities

The CERC of Singapore enjoyed pulpit supply from the following: Rev. K. Koole, in February; Prof. Dykstra, March 1 and 8. But future supply was closed due to the coronavirus outbreak there and here in the U.S. (cf. note later in this report).

From the Doon, IA bulletin:

Missionary pastor Rev. Daniel Holstege requested that he might baptize his daughter, Violet Joy, in Provident PRC in the Philippines. This is the church that Rev. Holstege labors in regularly. Doon Consistory sent a letter to the Consistory of Provident asking their oversight of this important occasion. Provident readily agreed and Rev. Holstege baptized Violet on March 1. Also, Irene Smit requested of us that she might make confession of her faith in the Maranatha PRC where Rev. Smit labors regularly. Doon requested of Maranatha that they provide oversight of this important occasion and they readily agreed. Irene appeared before the Consistory and gave a good confession. Her public confession is scheduled for March 22 with her father leading the service. We are thankful to God for the unity and good working relationship between our Council and Consistory and the churches in the Philippines! And we are thankful to God for their witness of the gospel in that far-away land.

The British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) conference booking forms are now available (www.brfconference. weebly.com/booking.html). “Union with Christ” is the theme that will be developed by Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning in the six main addresses at Castlewellan Castle, Northern Ireland (11-18 July). John William Perkins is to give a special lecture on “Union with the Free Will of Christ in the English Puritans.” Already there are about 80 confirmed bookings, many more than there has been at this stage for any of the 15 previous BRF conferences. A good number of countries will be represented, and it promises to be an enriching time of Christian teaching and fellowship.

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) began to take the world by storm according to the God of the heavens, the Doon, IA PRC Philippine sub-committee received the following from our missionaries in the Philippines (March 13):

Dear Doon subcommittee, This is a note to keep you informed of just a few details of developments here regarding the COVID-19 outbreak or “pandemic.” There might be members in the Doon congregation wondering what is happening to us when this news spreads to the U.S. news media.

The President Duterte of the Philippines has ordered on Thursday night a 30-day quarantine of the Metro Manila area (National Capital Region) starting on Sunday, March 15, continuing until Sunday April 12. Of course, this lockdown covers the next 4 Sundays. It does restrict our travel into the Metro Manila area. For example, we cannot drive a car into parts of Metro Manila where we normally go: to Provident PRC, Maranatha PRC, or PRC Bulacan because the roads to Bulacan pass through Metro Manila. So our freedom to get around is severely limited for the next 4 weeks.

The Berean PRC has canceled its services for March 15, and presumably for the other Sundays as well, in response to the mass community quarantine. As a result, Rev. Kleyn and I are not traveling to SNO (South Negros Occidental) and have canceled that trip. How this will affect seminary classes which resume on March 24, we do not know at this time. We are working on a solution, possibly having classes by Skype with the seminary students. We will keep you updated.

As far as our safety and health, we are all doing fine. We will just be having a very long “staycation” in the next several weeks. The churches here are preparing to livestream services to the members via Internet. Pastors will lead services/preach in their homes and broadcast via Internet on Facebook or Skype. We will see how it goes on Sunday, March 15.

Congregational activities

Most, if not all of our congregations in the USA and Canada are feeling the impact of COVID-19. According to God’s providence and the running of the horses of Revelation, this invisible army has taken us by storm, a storm of infectiousness. As the President of the USA and various state governors have prescribed, we have been included in the lock-downs, closings, postponements, and social distancing. Church services and many church activities have been canceled and self-quarantines are in place as the church, along with the world, attempts to retain its health. We take comfort in knowing that “God is our refuge and strength” and that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” A mighty fortress is our God!

Young people’s activities

2020 PRYP Convention—Registration for the 2020 Young People’s Convention opened on Monday, March 16! Chaperone registration was open until the end of March. The convention is planned for August 10-14, 2020 at the Lake Williamson Camp in Carlinville, IL.

Western Young Peoples Retreat, hosted by Lynden and Spokane Young People, will be held July 14-17, at Camp Sanders in N. Idaho. This is a retreat for young people ages 13-18 (going into 9th-12th grade). More information and registration was made available in March. Contact Rev. R. Kleyn (kleyn@prca.org) if you have questions.

Minister activities

The Calvinist conference on the doctrine of God sponsored by several Presbyterian churches in Tennessee in April at which Prof. D. Engelsma was to speak has been postponed because of the health alarm. Likely, the conference will now be held this Fall.

Let us continue to pray for Rev. John Marcus and his family and the flock of First PRC in Edmonton, AB. With the approval of Classis West, Rev. Marcus was released from the ministry in First PRC under Article 11 of the Church Order and is eligible for a call from an­other PRC. He is also available to preach in the church­es and has been busy doing so. Consistories needing pulpit supply are encouraged to contact him. First PRC of Edmonton formed the new trio of Revs. J. Engelsma, J. Laning, and M. VanderWal. May God be with Rev. Marcus and with the Edmonton congregation.

The latest appeal regarding Rev. Mahtani’s employ­ment pass was denied once again by the Singaporean government. With a lawyer’s aid, the session of CERCS had sought more information and clarification regard­ing this denial. Later we heard the following: Rev. Jon Mahtani received news that in God’s providence the door is completely closed for him to be minister-on-loan to CERC Singapore. In light of that, the CERC instructed Grandville PRC to call another minister-on-loan. Grandville’s new trio for minister-on-loan includes Revs. G. Eriks, E. Guichelaar and R. Kleyn. Also, Grandville PRC announced that Rev. Mahtani is eligible for a call beginning April 1.

The Singapore government is placing under quaran­tine for two weeks anyone who visits Singapore. This will hamper for some time the PRCA’s attempts to supply the CERC pulpit. Remember our brothers and sis­ters in Singapore in a time when they are without an under-shepherd, and now are cut off from our help in many ways. May the Great Shepherd of the sheep care for His flock in these circumstances, as we trust He will.

Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon, IA) considered calls from Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) and Kalamazoo PRC. He declined both calls on March 29.

Providence PRC (Jenison, MI) has formed a trio of Rev. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), Rev. M. McGeown (Limerick Reformed Fellowship, Ireland), and Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC). On March 22 Rev. McGeown received this call.

Unity PRC formed the trio of Revs. E. Guichelaar (Randolph, WI), J. Mahtani, and C. Spronk (Faith PRC).

Rev. Heath Bleyenberg and his wife Deb had planned to move to Lacombe in mid-March, but their entrance to Canada was denied because of closure of the border due to COVID-19. We await God’s will in this too.

Seminarian Josiah and Hui Qi Tan and children re­turned to Singapore in mid-March. Josiah’s mother has suffered from cancer for the last few years. She is very ill and her family has been called to be with her.

May they find the all sufficient comfort of belonging to Christ to be their strength and stay.

Young adult activities

Save the dates: August 3-6, 2020 for a Young Adult’s Retreat in Colorado!

School Activities

Friday, April 24 is the date for the Faith Christian School Jog-a-Thon in Randolph, WI. Get those legs loosened up!