What was undoubtedly the climax of this year of celebration of our Fiftieth Anniversary as Protestant Reformed Churches took place in Grand Rapids on August 5, 6, and 7 in connection with our annual Young People’s Convention. We celebrated. Oh, how we celebrated!
Our Young People had cooperated with the denominational Anniversary Committee in making the theme of their convention “God’s Covenant Faithfulness.” On this theme the three convention addresses concentrated. And our people from near and far gathered in large numbers to listen to the addresses and to join numerous times in lifting hearts and voices in joyful praise to our faithful Covenant Jehovah. From east coast and west coast, from Houston, Texas and from Edmonton, Alberta, and from all points in between, our people came together. And what was undoubtedly the climactic event of these three, days was the old-fashioned Field Day held at Douglas Walker Park, south of Grand Rapids. Some 1900 people—well over half of the membership of our denomination—came together on that never-to-be-forgotten day. The only note of regret which I heard was the regret of those who came from far away: they were sorry that their fellow members could not all have shared in the joy of the occasion.
Some of us had feared that there might be a letdown after the Field Day. But on Thursday evening, after the Federation Banquet, there was again a capacity audience in the auditorium of the Calvin College Fine Arts Center to listen to the stirring address of Prof. Hanko.
There were three things which impressed me throughout this. celebration. In the first place, as Protestant Reformed people we still have and deeply appreciate our heritage. This was evident not only from the various speeches, but also from the conversation of our people and the comments about the program. In the second place, in a very concrete fashion we experienced with a thrill of spiritual delight the firm bond of unity which joins our people and churches. This is difficult to describe to those who were not present. But the experience of this unity was very real, and it was electrifying. The fellowship in the faith and the bond of love were concretely tasted in such a way that one almost began to wish that these days of celebration would not have to end. We had a little bit of heaven on earth! In the third place, and quite appropriately, there was nothing of man and of self in all our celebration. It all ended in ascribing praise and glory and adoration to the sovereign God of our salvation!
A word of appreciation is due to all those, young and old, who worked hard and long to organize these events and to carry them off successfully. That there were many hours of planning and preparation on the part of various committees was very evident. In fact, seldom have I seen evidence of such thorough and painstaking work.
And now, in a way, it is “back to normal.” And yet we do not return the same. We return with renewed confidence and zeal and with renewed dedication, as well as with strengthened conviction that the cause of our Protestant Reformed Churches is the cause of the Lord our God.
May He preserve us and keep us faithful!