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Rev. Kortering has declined the call extended to him from our Southeast Protestant Reformed Church. 

First Church in Grand Rapids has undertaken a church extension project in Bradenton, Florida. In response to a number of requests that our churches do some work in this area, the First Church consistory has decided to hold preaching services in Bradenton beginning on December 31. Services will be held in the auditorium of the Manatee Hotel at 309 10th Street. A midweek Bible Study class will also be held. These services will be advertised in the local media. Each of our ministers who spend a few weeks in Bradenton will also be expected to do a good deal of work in personal contacts with those who express interest in our churches. This work was not conceived as a “winter church” for those of our people who spend some time in Florida during the winter months, but as a genuine effort in church extension with a view to establishing a congregation in that area. Prof. Robert Decker will be the first of our ministers to preach in Bradenton. Prof. Decker expects to labor there for three weeks, leaving the area on January 22. At this writing, the schedule of those who are to follow Prof. Decker is not definite. 

The pastor of First Church, Rev. Meindert Joostens, expects to leave for Jamaica on January 17 with Mr. Clare Prince. This will be a short trip of about 10 days. The mission work on the Island of Jamaica continues under the direction of our denominational Mission Committee. Rev. Joostens and Mr. Prince will teach and preach, but also will attempt to assist the struggling churches on the Island with some of the many problems they face.

There seems to be quite a bit of activity in the area of Missions and church extension activity in our churches presently. The bulletin of our church in Pella, Iowa, contained this additional summary: “If the Lord wills, Rev. Marvin Kamps and Mr. Dewey Engelsma will travel to Singapore after the first of the year. They plan to labor there for a period of up to two months. Rev. Mark Hoeksema and Rev; Wayne Bekkering recently spent two weeks in Birmingham, Alabama. A young man from that area is presently attending our seminary. Rev. Bernard Woudenberg continues to travel from his home and church in Kalamazoo to Charlotte, Michigan, to meet and to study with interested people there. The Mission Committee expected to hold Sunday preaching services in Charlotte beginning on January 7. Rev. Herman Veldman has spent a number of weeks preaching in Skowhegan, Maine. He expected to return there after the holidays. This work is in addition to the labors of our missionary, Rev. Robert Harbach, in British Columbia and to the work of Rev. John Heys in New Zealand. 

The Reformed Witness Committee of our church in Redlands, California, recently sent out one of their little papers entitled “God’s Desire To Save” to 938 homes in the Redlands area and 146 on their permanent mailing list. The Reformed Witness Committee of our church in Loveland, Colorado, sent out 540 copies of the pamphlet “Discipleship In The Face Of Apostasy.” Loveland Men’s Society sponsored a program on the mission work of our churches in Singapore on December 5. Rev. James Slopsema, pastor of our church in Edgerton, Minnesota, spoke and showed slides. Rev. Slopsema spent a month in Singapore early in 1978. 

There was quite a number of special activities in our churches for the Christmas season. The young people of our churches in the Grand Rapids area gathered on Sunday afternoon, December 24, in the new Faith church auditorium for their Christmas Mass Meeting. Rev. Van Baren was the speaker. The Hudsonville Choral Society presented their Christmas program the same evening. The Hudsonville young people brought carols, bread, and other goodies to some of the shut-ins and elderly of their congregation the week previous. The young people of Redlands also went caroling at the homes of the senior members of the congregation on December 19. After caroling, they held a Christmas party. The Redlands Choral Society also presented a Christmas program after the evening service on December 24. An offering was taken for new Psalters and Bibles for the new church Redlands plans to build. The South Holland Mr. & Mrs. Society went caroling at the South Holland Holland Home on December 7th. The Sr. Mr. & Mrs. Society of First Church in Grand Rapids held their pre-Christmas meeting in the Holland Home in order that the 15 members of the congregation living there might join them. in Bible discussion, carol singing and refreshments. 

—KGV