The annual synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches meets this year in South Holland, Illinois. Synod convenes on June 9, the Lord willing. The council of the South Holland PRC has called the special, pre-synodical worship service for the evening of June 8.
Our readers will be interested in some of the main matters on synod’s agenda. Knowledge of the work is also stimulation of the saints unto indispensable prayer for the wisdom of Christ in this major assembly of the churches.
Mission Committee (MC)
First Church of Grand Rapids continues to call a missionary and to try to obtain a co-worker for the Jamaica field. The MC expresses its conviction that fl the churches we are privileged still to serve in Jamaica have demonstrated . . . that they are attracted to the PRC in America because of their interest, not in American dollars, but in the truth of the Scriptures as they have learned it from us.” Rev. Arie denHartog and Rev. Barry Gritters led conferences with the officebearers in the Jamaica churches during the past year. Rev. denHartog reports that “there is a very great need for a missionary on the island of Jamaica.” The report of Rev. Gritters and Elder Ed Gritters judges that “these conferences are well worth their while.”
The Hudsonville PRC has been calling a missionary for the field in Northern Ireland. Ten calls have been issued and declined by various ministers. Classis East is supplying the Covenant Reformed Fellowship in Northern Ireland with preaching by means of three-week appointments of the ministers in the classis. Video tapes of the Hudsonville services are being used in the meetings of the group in Northern Ireland in the absence of a minister. The report of the Hudsonville Council notes that
the saints of Northern Ireland have been discouraged at the repeated declines. The consistory also is concerned about the question whether a “field of labor” remains such a field indefinitely. The core families in Northern Ireland remain wholly committed to the Reformed (Protestant Reformed) faith. Interest is still shown by those from outside of this core group. Still, without the regular labors of a minister for an extended period of time, the work cannot progress properly.
The recommendation of the MC concerning the Venice, Florida field will come to synod by a supplemental report that is not available at the time of this writing. Earlier, the MC decided to recommend to the council of the calling church, Kalamazoo, that the work in Venice be discontinued as soon as possible.
Synod will be asked to continue its support of the Reformed Witness Hour radio program on stations in Kalamazoo, Michigan; Oskaloosa, Iowa; Denver, Colorado; Ferndale, Washington; and Edmonton, Alberta (Canada).
Foreign Mission Committee (FMC)
The major part of the report of this synodical committee concerns the visit to Ghana, Africa in February, 1992 by two members of the committee, Elder Henry Bleyenburg and Rev. Russell Dykstra. The FMC “are enthusiastic about the possibility of future labor in Ghana, and have determined to work toward another visit in two years . . . .”
The FMC has begun a radio broadcast on Radio Africa. The station covers a large part of western Africa. Rev. Richard Moore is delivering messages on Ephesians.
The FMC is in contact with the Joint-Mission Committee of the Evangelical Reformed Churches of Singapore.
Committee for Contact with Other Churches (CC)
Under the auspices of the CC, Rev. Marvin Kamps attended the annual meeting of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC). At the instruction of the CC, Rev. Kamps discussed the possibility of closer contact with the representatives of several Presbyterian churches.
In view of a recent invitation to the PRC by the Christian Reformed Alliance (now, the Alliance of Reformed Churches) to send observers to its meeting, the CC is asking synod for direction regarding possible invitations in the future. This includes the possibility of an invitation to send observers to a “Confessional Conference” scheduled for 1993.
The CC was unable to fill the request of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Australia (EPCA) for preaching-supply for the congregations in Burnie and in Launceston. No PR church was able to release its pastor for a period of six months or a year. The CC continues to attempt to find a man who can help the EPCA in this important way.
The Grandville, Michigan church released Rev. Jay Kortering for six months to work in Singapore on behalf of the Evangelical Reformed Churches of Singapore. Rev. Kortering has since accepted the call from Hope PRC in Grand Rapids to serve as minister-on-loan to the Singapore churches.
The PRC of Wellington, New Zealand, sister church to the PRC in America, has requested financial assistance for the support of her pastor, Rev. Rodney Miersma, for five more years. The original five-year commitment of the PRC has expired. The CC recommends that synod grant this request.
Theological School Committee (TSC)
Six full-time students are presently studying for the ministry in the seminary. All plan to return in the fall. They include two men being trained for the ministry in the EPCA. Another young man from the PRC has applied for admission to the seminary in the fall. The Evangelical Reformed Churches of Singapore intend to send a man for training in the seminary in 1993.
The TSC is proposing an addition to the seminary building. This proposal “centers on the construction of library space.” About $110,000 has already been donated for this expansion, $80,000 from persons outside the PRC. The estimated cost is about $360,000.
Two guest speakers gave special lectures for the seminary this past year. They were Mr. Theodore Letis, who spoke on the Greek text of the New Testament, and Mr. Jon Huisken, who spoke on “The History of the PRC: Learning to Live with Caricature.” Visitors were invited to these afternoon sessions, and a goodly number attended.
An Overture, A Protest, and Appeals
The Loveland, Colorado consistory overtures synod to increase the minister and the elder delegates to synod from each classis from four to six. Classis West has approved this overture.
A brother protests the decision of Synod, 1990 which rejected the contention that the erection of a cross on the chancel wall of a church building constitutes a violation of the second commandment.
The consistory of the Norristown, Pennsylvania PRC appeals against the decision of Classis East requiring Norristown’s use of the “approved song book of the PRC,” The Psalter, in worship.
The council of Southwest PRC appeals against the decision of Classis East advising Southwest to transfer the membership of members of the Southwest congregation to other PR churches as these members have requested.
The council of Grandville PRC also appeals against the above decision of Classis East regarding the transfer of membership.
A brother appeals against the decision of his consistory in a case that the classis treated in closed session.
Synod is informed that an index to the Acts of the PR synods has been prepared and is ready for publication.
Under the good hand of God upon us, the PRC continue their steady numerical growth. The Churches now number 1,417 families – an increase of 32 families over the number in 1991
The Involvement of Every Member
Let every member of the PRC, as well as everyone outside the denomination who has a care for these Churches for the sake of the Reformed faith, pray for God’s guidance of the synod by the Spirit of Christ. The motivation of this prayer may well be the desire for the maintenance of God’s truth in these Churches. When the synod has finished its work, let every member compare the decisions with Scripture and the Reformed confessions, to assure himself that what was decided seemed good to the Holy Spirit, as well as to the elders of the churches.