In this 40th Anniversary issue let us reminisce a little with some old news items.
Oct. 1, 1925—The first news letter appeared in theStandard Bearer in the form of a personal letter by the Rev. H. Hoeksema to “My Friend In The West”. This was written in the Holland language as was most of the material in the early issues. This “first” was in the first anniversary number of our magazine. In the same issue was a news account of the organization of a church in Byron Center, Mich., which occurred Sept. 30, 1925.
Oct. 1, 1926—The second anniversary number printed another news letter from Byron Center, this time about the dedication of a new church home, albeit a basement church. The dedicatory program scheduled speeches by Rev. Ophoff and Rev. H. Hoeksema. With this issue the S.B. became a bi-monthly magazine—doubling the output!
Oct. 15, 1927—Then came the glad news that our Seminary had graduated two students who were also immediately placed in congregations. Rev. W. Verhil was installed by Rev G.M. Ophoff in Hull, Iowa Sept. 20, and the next day Rev. H. Hoeksema officiated at the installation of Rev. G. Vos in Sioux Center, Iowa. The two firstlings were “rushed” through their Theological studies because of the dire need for ministers, especially in the West far from student supply.
Oct. 15, 1928—This year saw the beginning of newsletters written by Rev. G. Vos under the title “Stemmen Uit Het Westen”, which as any S.B. reader in those days knew to be “Voices From the West.” That “voice” was a reflection on the comparative youth of our ministers: that our denomination could not even boast of a 50 year old! Rev. Vos’ “voice” then waxed prophetic and opined that the reason for this must be sought in the future—that the Lord had work for them that would run into years! Prophetic? Yea, verily. Witness the ages of the Revs. Hoeksema and Vos, both eager to occupy the pulpit again after a bout with illness.
Oct, 1930—The sixth volume of the S.B. carried the news of the Classis Reports and the preaching schedule of our sixteen ministers and students. Noteworthy is the fact that Rev. Hoeksema regularly preached three times in his church, a supply being provided for only one of the four services each Sunday.
June, 1934—The eleventh volume produced news which truly was a “first,” It carried a photo of the first graduation class of the first Prot. Ref. Christian School to be organized. The place—Redlands, Calif.
June, 1935—This issue contained the news that the S.B. Board had instituted a great change in the editorial staff. Revs. Verhil and Vos were named regular editors besides the original two. Further, that all our ministers were named associate editors, reducing the work-load of Revs. Hoeksema and Ophoff to ten pages of each issue. And, for the first time news editors were appointed—five of them—to present the news of the churches from five main districts. The products of these editors appeared only occasionally, and were mostly reports of the coming and the leaving of ministers with the attending farewell and welcoming programs.
Oct. 1, 1941—The 17th anniversary number made known the fact that Mr. S. DeVries, of Grand Rapids, had been named News Editor. His reports, written in the English language, appeared sporadically for two years, but the new venture gradually died of starvation, according to the editor’s final contribution of Feb. 15, 1943.
Oct. 1, 1944—Half-way to today’s mark. This issue was silent about its being the 20th anniversary number. But was it strictly coincidence that Rev. Hoeksema’s Meditation was one on the confession found in Psalm 119:65, 66, “Thou hast dealt well with thy servant. . . . ?”
July 1, 1954—News accounts again began to grace the pages of our magazine. Trios, Calls, and the results of those calls were reported. This issue also saw the beginning of a series of articles by the Editor-in-Chief detailing the court trial in Grand Rapids, and its outcome which affected the whole denomination to this present day.
Oct. 1, 1958—Finally, under this dateline, this announcement was placed in the S.B.: “The Staff, in its last meeting, decided to institute a new column under the rubric, News From Our Churches. This decision is in response to the popular demand from many of our readers who are desirous of a closer unity between our churches; a unity wherein we can share one another’s joys and sorrows; a unity based on one hope, one love, one Lord Jesus Christ. So in this issue you will find an introductory column devoted to church news as it affects each one of us. The Ministers of each congregation and the presidents of consistories of vacant churches are requested to mail their bulletins and other important news directly to the editor of this column.” And, for six years, every issue (but one) of ourStandard Bearer has carried “News From Our Churches.”
. . . .see you in church.