On Tuesday evening, June 12, a large audience nearly filled the main floor of the auditorium of First Church, Grand Rapids, to witness the graduation of four candidates for the ministry in our Protestant Reformed Churches. These four young men — Ronald Cammenga, Carl Haak, Ronald Hanko, and Steven Houck — had successfully “weathered” their examinations by Synod the previous week. An appropriate and enjoyable program accompanied this graduation, and after the formal program the candidates received a multitude of congratulations and good wishes at the coffee-hour downstairs.
There are several items of note concerning this year’s graduates. In the first place, if memory serves correctly, this is the largest graduating class since the 1930s. In the second place, some of the members of this class — and this is the first time this has happened — have been at our school for a full seven years: four pre-seminary years and three seminary years. In the third place, one of the candidates will, the Lord willing, represent a third living generation in our ministry. Candidate Ronald Hanko received his diploma from the hand of his father, Prof. Herman Hanko, and his grandfather, Rev. Cornelius Hanko, the president of our Theological School Committee.
Needless to say, after several years of close contact with these young men we of the faculty will miss them at school.
We congratulate our candidates, give thanks to our covenant God for them, and pray that the Lord will soon confirm their call by giving them a place in our churches.
A transcript of my commencement address will be found elsewhere in this issue.