Everyone likes a pat on the back once in awhile, and here’s a rather lusty one for our Standard Bearer from a reader in Moorestown, New Jersey: “In today’s world of constant complaints and lack of contentment, this letter is written for the purpose of giving many thanks for your magazine. It is without a doubt THE BEST Christian periodical in the entire world! It is a perfect companion to Holy Scripture since it is 90% Scripture exposition combined with Reformed Theology written in a beautifully clear and understandable manner. Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow, and brothers your paper is a tremendous Blessing!!”
Rev. Bekkering, pastor of our Houston, Texas congregation, has declined the call extended him from Isabel, South Dakota. To assist Isabel during this vacancy, Rev. Lubbers plans, the Lord willing, to preach and administer the sacraments in their midst during the months of September and October.
That our Southwest, Grand Rapids congregation has completed the construction of their new parsonage is clear from August bulletin announcements which invite the congregation to an open house on Monday and Tuesday, seek volunteers “to help move the pastor and his family” on Wednesday, and later report their pastor’s (Rev. DeVries) change of address as 4895 Ivanrest Ave., S.W., Grandville, MI 49418. Back in July a Kalamazoo, Michigan bulletin announced: “A ministers’ conference is being held this week Tuesday through Thursday at the West Wind KOA Camp near Saugatauck.” To learn more about this ministerial activity, we discussed the conference with Rev. R. VanOverloop, pastor of our Birmingham, Alabama mission station. Following is the substance of that interview: 1) What is a Ministers’ Conference? A ministers’ conference is a gathering of ministers and prospective ministers for the purpose of sharing ideas, experiencing one another’s fellowship in a less formal way than ecclesiastical assemblies, and developing in areas of ministerial work. 2) Who plans a Ministers’ Conference? This year Reverend Bekkering and Van Overloop made most of the arrangements. The planning was assisted by minister responses to questionnaires concerning logistical kinds of information, i.e. time, place, etc. as well as input with regard to the topics to be discussed and the methods of dealing with them. 3) Who participated in the conference? Ten ministers and one seminarian stayed at the camp for the duration of the conference while seven other ministers and another seminarian came out on a daily basis to attend one or more of the sessions. 4) What topics were discussed? The topics, Preaching, Missions, and Culture were introduced by Pastors Slopsema, Van Overloop, and Bekkering, respectively, and discussed. 5) What is your evaluation of the conference? “Very profitable!” It was enjoyed by ministers as well as their wives….” especially those from ‘isolated’ pastorates.” Further evidence that the conference was enjoyed and appreciated is apparent from the fact that there were volunteers to plan another conference. In passing, it was mentioned that singing “until we were hoarse” was not an uncommon occurrence at the ministers’ conference. Also, it was noted that only one skunk was sighted.
We close this column with a timely quotation from “From the Pastor’s Desk” page ofFirst News(bimonthly news booklet to the congregation of First Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan). Rev. Joostens wrote: “Again we stand on the threshold of another catechism and society season. No man is an island in the church of Christ. ‘There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is above all and in you all.” Eph. 4:4-6