Several items concerning various of our ministers have come to our attention through bulletins, which, incidentally, arrive regularly. We notice, for example, that Rev. G. Van Baren has declined the calls he had received recently from our Randolph and Hope (Grand Rapids) congregations.
We learn, further, that Hudsonville held a welcome program for Rev. Hanko and his family on Friday, October 29.
Rev. Veldman, pastor of our Southwest congregation, was scheduled for surgery (described by the pastor as “not serious”) on November 5.
Then there’s this very interesting item concerning the pastor of our church in Holland: “Holland’s Congregation commemorated the anniversary of the Rev. J. A. Heys’ 30th year in the ministry.” That was on Friday, October 22. The Consistory made arrangements for a program, which was followed by a social hour for the congregation. The program consisted of a couple of numbers from each of the societies and a speech (based on I Thess. 5:12, 13) by Rev. M. Schipper who is, by the way, a son of that congregation. Rev. Heys was presented with a gift of appreciation for his labors during those thirty years. Concerning that time element, there’s this from Southeast’s bulletin: “How swiftly the years go by! Seems like yesterday that he was declared candidate for the ministry.”
From the September 31 bulletin of First Church (Grand Rapids) comes the following: “We welcome to our pulpit and fellowship a son of our congregation, Rev. R. Decker of our South Holland congregation. The pastor is exchanging pulpits with him today.”
That pulpit exchange was, no doubt, occasioned by the fact that Rev. Decker, of South Holland, was in Grand Rapids to present a Reformation Day Lecture on October 28, and Rev. VanBaren, of Grand Rapids, was in South Holland to present a Reformation Day speech on October 29.
The lecture of Rev. Decker was one of a series sponsored by the Lecture Committee in Classis East of the Protestant Reformed Churches. It was held in the Christian School gymnasium of Allendale, a small community just outside Grand Rapids. The size of the audience was gratifying. In fact, the size of, the audience was such that seating very quickly became something of a problem. Either there were more people than anticipated, or less folding-chairs, so that those who arrived after 7:45 found themselves being directed to bleachers, which must have rivaled the benches of our Jamaican churches for good, solid discomfort. And packed liked the proverbial sardine! But one very easily forgets all that, with a lecture like that of Rev. Decker. His subject was “The Foolishness of Preaching.” He pointed out that the power that will lead the church today in an on-going reformation is the preaching of the Word. It may be true that preaching today is considered by many to be outdated in our modern technological world. It may be that preaching does not fit in the scheme of those whose emphasis is on applying Christianity to the social ills of the world. The fact is that grace is communicated in no other way than through the preaching of the Word. When the pastor stands in front of us on the Sabbath, we are confronted with Christ, the King of the Church. Let the world scoff at preaching—it pleases God to save us by it.
Those were just a few of the points of that speech. The whole thing will, no doubt, appear in the Standard Bearer; but we couldn’t resist saying a few words about it. To the mind of this writer, the high point was reached with these words that still ring in my ears: “May I say it? May I say it? I’m going to say it!” And then he went on to express his conviction that, by the grace of God, the Protestant Reformed Churches manifestthe mark of the church—that foolishness of the pure preaching of the gospel of Christ.
According to the closing remarks of Rev. VanBaren, the chairman of the meeting, tapes of the lecture are available to interested persons by contacting either a member of the committee or Rev. VanBaren.
The title of Rev. VanBaren’s Reformation Day speech was “Shall There Be Reformation No More?” It was given, as we mentioned, in South Holland. The Church Extension Committee of Rev. VanBaren’s congregation, however, felt that it should be heard in the Grand Rapids area as well. Arrangements were made, therefore, to have the speech broadcast over WFURFM, at 3 P.M. on Sunday, October 31. Bulletin announcements in the Protestant Reformed Churches in the area encouraged members to “inform your friends and relatives of this special broadcast—and urge them to listen.” In addition, advance notice of the broadcast was given over the radio station and in the local newspaper, so that as large an audience as possible would be reached by Rev. Van Bar-en’s timely message.
A third Reformation Day Lecture was held on October 28 in Loveland. The speaker was Rev. D. Engelsma, of course, and the topic was “Apology for Calvinism.”