It’s pretty evident, from a quick look over all the bulletins, that we have several vacant churches in our denomination. All our churches are, sooner or later, affected by classical appointments. Rev. C. Hanko had quite a distance to travel for his two week appointment in Hull! Our seminary (students, that is) is certainly made aware of the minister shortage. They’re getting some valuable experience rather early in their training. As we mentioned before, first-year Seminarians Wayne Bekkering and Marvin Kamps have already occupied pulpits. From Southeast we read, “The congregation of Southeast Church counts it a privilege to be the first to hear them, and assures them of her prayers that the Lord will strengthen and encourage them as they bring to us the Word of edification.” And we find that two students are also conducting the catechism classes at Southwest during the absence of Rev. Lubbers. Two other students, Mr. Ron VanOverloop and Mr. Jim Slopsema went to Illinois on Sunday, December 14, to lead the worship services of our South Holland and Oaklawn congregations.
Speaking of vacant churches, Pella’s days without an undershepherd are over. Rev. Kuiper has, according to Randolph’s bulletin, “been led to accept the call from the congregation in Pella, Iowa.” Randolph will call from a trio consisting of Revs. Engelsma, Kortering, and VanBaren.
Remember that Hudsonville’s congregation decided against building an addition to their church? That, of course, necessitated a search for another solution to their problem. From their Dec. 14 bulletin—”anyone who is personally interested in a Protestant Reformed church in Jenison or Grandville is requested to sign a paper in the consistory room.”
Following a request by the Jamaica Sub-Committee, many different groups in our churches have chosen to make contributions to aid in the traveling expenses of Jamaican ministers. The Sunday School of our church in Holland, Michigan, has decided to give $150. And the Men’s Society of that same church “is taking collections every second Monday for these Jamaican ministers. . . .” They need us, it seems: But it’s also surely true that, as Rev. Lubbers put it in his farewell speech, “we need the spiritual exercise of loving them and sharing with them.”
Mr. Meulenberg’s slides and tape of Jamaica seem to be making the rounds—Michigan; Rock Rapids, Iowa; Forbes, North Dakota; Randolph, Wisconsin; and, no doubt, that’s not all. From Randolph’s bulletin—”Let us gather with our children on this occasion, to see ‘firsthand’ what our offerings are being used for, and to hear the brethren there speak of our wonderful covenant God.”
Several of our churches have “letter writing” schedules to make certain that our young men in uniform are not neglected. The Priscilla Society of First Church in Grand Rapids went a little further. On an insert in a November bulletin, they supplied the congregation with names, addresses, and birth dates of all the servicemen from that church. We quote from that insert: “We wish to remind each one of our congregation that these boys are far away, that they need, not only our prayers, but also a reminder from us that we are praying for them, that we do think of them, and that we wish them God’s blessing wherever they are. . . . They will be more than happy to know that you are thinking of them. Are you?”
We’ve been sort of neglecting the schools, lately. How about a few excerpts from the November “Reflector”, news bulletin of the South Holland Protestant Reformed Christian School. In an editorial on “The Christian Home and School”, Mr. Lamm Lubbers, the school administrator, writes, “I believe that if the importance of these two spheres of influence could be weighed, the home would be found to leave a far more lasting mark than the school. . . . Christian instruction starts at home. . . . It is there that he learns his basic values—what he should strive for and why. . . His attitude towards his neighbor and toward his God are implanted at home. The Christian school continues this instruction. . . . But values and attitudes are deep seated, and the school seldom changes these.”
A complement to that is this quote from Martin Luther, used as a filler in Randolph’s bulletin. “I advise no one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which men are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt.”
These fillers are often the best parts of bulletins. Let’s end with this from Augustine, found in a section of Southeast’s bulletin called “Quiet Thoughts”: “Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.”