By the time you finish reading this column, I’m sure you will agree that the title above should read, “News From Our Schools.” The emphasis on school news is intended to be in keeping with the special theme of this issue of the Standard Bearer.
“Strategy for Survival” was the theme of the Twenty-Sixth Annual Protestant Reformed Teachers’ Convention that was hosted by our Doon and Hull, Iowa Schools on October 16 and 17. Worthy of note is the fact that this was the first P.R. Teachers’ Convention ever held west of Illinois.
About fifty teachers gathered in the all-purpose room of Hull Protestant Reformed Christian School at 8:15 on Thursday morning. Following a song service and opening devotions, a keynote address was delivered by Mr. Gerald Kuiper of our Covenant High School in Grand Rapids. He spoke on “Protestant Reformed Education: Traditions or Conviction?” As the title suggests, Mr. Kuiper questioned whether we have lost some of our early dedication and conviction for Protestant Reformed education. To demonstrate this he cited documents from our early history that clearly show a very real conviction for the founding of our schools. At the same time Mr. Kuiper questioned whether or not we have grown complacent over the years and are now resting on the laurels of tradition. To remedy this he suggested a re-examination of the covenant basis of our schools, and that we as teachers do all in our power to achieve a unity of purpose in our schools. (If you are interested in the complete text of this speech, it is printed in the fall issue ofPerspectives in Covenant Education. Readers not familiar with this publication might like to know that this journal is published semi-annually by the Protestant Reformed Teachers’ Institute and can be obtained for $3.00 per year by sending to:
Protestant Reformed Teachers’ Institute
c/o Covenant Christian High School
1401 Ferndale Avenue, S.W.
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504
Complimentary copies are available upon request.)
Throughout the two days of the convention teachers had opportunity to attend sectionals with the following titles: Teaching Grammar in Junior High and the High School, Teaching Geography as part of our “Strategy for Survival,” Horticulture in the Classroom, Writing and Reskarch in the Elementary Grades, Continuity of Bible Instruction,, Contemporary History, Integrating Physical Education with other Subjects in Lower Grades, Using Mementos as a Primary Source-in the Teaching of History, A New Approach to Geometry. The taped speech “Survival of the Christian Schools,” by a Texas attorney, Mr. David Gibbs, was also heard and discussed.
What I would call the highlight of the convention took place in Doon Protestant Reformed Church after the banquet on Thursday evening. For the first time in P.R. Teachers’ Convention history, a convention activity was open to the public. The result was a nearly full house in attendance to hear Rev. Kortering, pastor of our Loveland congregation, speak on the topic: “Strategy for Survival and the Standards Required.” Although this instructional and inspirational speech will be printed in the spring issue of Perspectives in Covenant Education, a brief survey of its content may be of interest to our Standard Bearer readers. After describing the battle scene, Rev. Kortering directed our attention to: our standard in the battle, why the standard is so important, the four-fold attack on our schools and the strategy for victory. In closing Rev. Kortering remarked that as teachers we are on the firing line in the battle. He encouraged us to take our position under the standard in obedience to the command of our Captain, Jesus Christ.
There you have it: what you never knew but always wanted to find out about teachers’ conventions. But there’s something else, and that something is a very real and important part of every convention. I think it is best expressed in the first verse of Psalter number 371, “Behold how pleasant and how good that we, one Lord confessing, together dwell in brotherhood, Our unity expressing.”
The following tidbits of school news were gleaned from our Redlands Church bulletins: The Mothers’ Circle had an aluminum can collection that ended in early September. A later bulletin announced that the Mothers’ Club of the same school sponsored “a plant and accessory sale” in October at the Community Center. It is interesting to note in this connection that while most schools have a single organization of mothers, apparently Redlands has two, a circle and aclub. Or might that be a false assumption?
Hopefully a little church news will not seem out of place. From a trio of Reverends Bekkering, Miersma, and Woudenberg, our Holland Church called Rev. Miersma; and our Redlands congregation called Rev. Kuiper from a trio of Rev. Bekkering, Rev. Bruinsma, and Rev. Kuiper.