We have a requested announcement that is, for this column, rather unusual in that it’s advance news. “The Reformation and the Unchaining of the Scriptures”—if the lecture is as good as the title (and with Prof. Hanko speaking, it no doubt will be), you’ll certainly want to be at First Church of Grand Rapids on October 30 at 8 P.M.
Hope Church held a farewell program for Rev. Kortering on September 25. He preached his farewell sermon on September 27, and left for Hull the following Tuesday. From a trio consisting of Rev, Harbach, Rev. Heys, and Rev. VanBaren, Hope has called Rev. VanBaren. From the Southwest congregation, the call has gone to Rev. Engelsma. And Rev. Harbach has received the call from Randolph, Wisconsin.
We understand that there was a crowd of about fifty-five people at the Kent County Airport on the memorable morning of Sept. 9, to see Rev. Lubbers off. It’s plain that we as Protestant Reformed people are, as Rev. VanBaren mentioned in his farewell remarks in the program on Sept. 6, “enthused about one of our number leaving the territorial bounds of our country and laboring in another land.” “Then,” he added, “we should not forget them when the novelty wears off.” It has been some time now since Rev. Lubbers has left. Is the enthusiasm beginning to wane? It’s very important that we remember him in our prayers. But “Rev. Lubbers doesn’t hear our prayers . . . He is, however, encouraged and he feels the ties which bind us together, by our letters.” Rev. Lubbers also, in his remarks at that farewell program in First Church, emphasized that point. He admitted that he would not be able to answer all the letters, but he underscored their importance. He knows from experience that after he picks up a handful of letters from the post office, “the sun shines a little brighter, and one’s step is a little lighter.”
On that same plane to Jamaica was, we should not forget, Rev. Elliot, who was returning to his homeland after an extended stay in the states. Those who had an opportunity to hear him were impressed with his knowledge of, and understanding of Scripture, and with his “deep faith, firm adherence to God’s Word, and his concern for his own congregation.” And he, also, received his impressions concerning us. He noted, at the Farewell Program, that he “had seen that we accept him as a brother, not as; a stranger or alien because of his brown skin.” He, no doubt, had reference to the same thing as did Rev. Lubbers, who mentioned in his farewell sermon at First Church that “we have a sin problem, not a skin problem.”
Did you know that Rev. Harbach accompanied Rev. Lubbers to Jamaica? On the advice of the Jamaica Sub-Committee, the Mission Committee decided to “send another man to Jamaica, along with Rev. and Mrs. Lubbers, for a period of six weeks, to aid the missionary in the beginning of his duties there.” The consistory of our Kalamazoo Church decided to grant the Committee’s request to “lend” its pastor for these weeks. in Jamaica. And, in his own words, Rev. Harbach “deems it a great opportunity to be able to visit our sphere of labor in Jamaica.” His plans are to return on October 21.
For three weeks during the month of August, five Protestant Reformed teachers met together in a Federation-sponsored workshop to study the teaching of literature in our schools. Participating in this workshop, held at Covenant High School, were Mr. Fred Hanko from Hope, Mr. Lamm Lubbers from South Holland, Mr. Darrel Huisken from Hope, Mr. Jim Huizinga from Adams, with Miss Agatha Lubbers from Covenant acting as director. Perhaps the best way for us to learn about what was accomplished during those three weeks is to listen to what a couple of the participants, themselves, have to say. Mr. Huizinga, for example, notes that “the beauty of this summer’s workshop is that it gave five teachers with common interests, common goals, common problems, and common faith an opportunity to meet together, to discuss together, to work together, to build together in the interest of the Covenant and the coming of the Kingdom. With God’s grace the result of this workshop can only be an improvement in the quality of instruction in our schools.”
Mr. Hanko observes that “in terms of my own progress as a teacher, the workshop was of more benefit than any college course in teaching that I have ever taken . . . I now understand far more clearly how literature can be taught from a Protestant Reformed perspective, to use the standard of Scripture in evaluation of literary work and to use literature to define Christian life . . . I am sure that the workshop will have immediate benefits in our schools and I heartily recommend that more of our teachers be given opportunities to benefit their subject areas by future workshops.”
Miss Lubbers (who, according to all the participants, provided very fine leadership) reports that the teachers worked not only long but hard. They enjoyed themselves, however, and have decided to “meet periodically during the school year to exchange ideas and to stimulate one another in the teaching of literature.” We should add that the benefit derived from this workshop will not be limited to its members. A written product, consisting of nearly 100 mimeographed pages, will soon be ready for distribution to other teachers. The sponsoring of this workshop is, no doubt, one of the best moves that the Federation has ever made.