Did you know that Rev. Kuiper has a vanity plate? Well, we wouldn’t really call it vanity, but, with a view to this year’s celebration, he did request and receive a car license plate which reads PRC—50.
An estimated 1900 of our people already know about that, for it was announced over the public address system at Douglas Walker Park on the afternoon of August 6. It hardly seems necessary, therefore, to report on the activities of that memorable week, because most of you experienced them personally. At the Wednesday afternoon program, in fact, it was found, when Mr. Ed Ophoff read the role of Protestant Reformed churches, that every single one of our congregations was represented there. But, it was too wonderful an occasion to let it pass unnoticed in the Standard Bearer news column. So, we’ll Say a few words about it.
Had the day been a rainy one, Wednesday’s activities were to be held in the Calvin College Field House. But it was a beautiful day—a little bit chilly in the evening perhaps, but, apart from that, we could not have hoped for more pleasant weather. The canteen, which was set up for lunch, apparently did a booming business. (Rev. Joostens, incidentally, was seen to buy an RC Cola, and pour it into a baby bottle. “Of course,” said my informant, “I don’t know if he got that for himself or not.”) Prior to Rev. C. Hanko’s “Recollections of the Past,” Ed Ophoff led in some spirited outdoor singing—accompanied by organ and piano perched on the back of an old International, and by cicadas overhead. One of the songs, we should note, was “Happy Birthday,” sung in honor of Rev. Lubber’s 66th, as he stood waving his straw hat to the friendly gathering.
The complete supper was catered; and, considering the number of plates that had to be filled, it came off with remarkable dispatch. The committee had everything planned to the smallest detail. And perhaps it helped, a little, that Rev. Slopsema, to make amends for having been near the beginning of the long line, assisted in refilling coffee cups, after he had emptied his own plate.
After supper, and after a game of tug-of-war, with a rope that broke repeatedly, it was time for the second of three convention speeches. Rev. Engelsma spoke on “The Historical Realization of the Covenant.” Finally, there was opportunity to again join our voices in singing. By that time, most of us were shivering a little in the cool evening breeze. Rev. VanOverloop, who chaired the activities that day, suggested that some of the cold might be dissipated by the singing under Mr. Ophoff’s direction. But it didn’t work. “In spite of what the chairman said,” remarked Rev. Veldman before he closed the evening with prayer, “my feet were getting colder and colder.”
Rev. Engelsma’s address, as I mentioned, was one of the three speeches of the Young People’s Convention. The young people had planned their convention around the theme of our denominational anniversary celebration. As Prof. Hoeksema mentioned in the first of the speeches, the federation is to be commended for that. It showed, he said, “a healthy denominational consciousness and loyalty.” And, further, “it gives the lie to the idea that there is any serious generation gap among our people. We are together at this occasion, old and young, and, may I say, middle-aged.”
All in all, the events of the week constituted what the writer of Southwest’s bulletin called a “thrilling experience.” Perhaps it was summed up best by Prof. Hanko, in the final address. Permit me to conclude with his remarks.
“It was for me a very moving experience. This was especially true of the Field Day yesterday; and I’m sure that this was the experience of you all. It was one of those days you almost wish would never end. And yet, in a sense of course, it will not end. Because, what impressed me more than anything else yesterday, was the spirit of unity that prevailed among us. And I’m sure that as, after this evening we return to our homes and to our congregations, this unity that we experienced so richly yesterday and throughout the convention, will continue with us. This convention, therefore, and the activities connected with it, as we commemorate together the 50th anniversary of our churches, are in their own way evidence of God’s covenant faithfulness to us. We must have felt that very keenly. God gave to us in this week tokens, memorable tokens, tokens that will linger with us, of His great faithfulness to us. And that very fact should also give us courage and confidence for the future. God has told us in His Word that He Who is faithful will continue faithful in the future. It matters not what the future may hold. It matters not what the future may bring. God remains our faithful covenant God. We sing something of that in the last verse of our Psalter’s rendition of Psalm 89. ‘Blest be the Lord for evermore, Whose promise stands from days of yore. His word is faithful now as then; Blest be His Name. Amen, Amen.'”