One of the high points of the 1965 Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches was reached on Tuesday evening, June 8, when Seminarian Robert Decker, having been examined and declared a candidate for the ministry of the Word and Sacraments, graduated. A goodly audience assembled in the auditorium of our First Church, Grand Rapids, in order to celebrate the occasion. And it was the rather commonly expressed opinion of our people who attended that the Lord gave us a “good” evening. The Theological School Committee prepared an appropriate program for the occasion. Vocal music was furnished by the Hope Heralds and by Mr. Arnold Dykstra. Addresses were given by Candidate Decker and by the Rector; and in order that all our people may share somewhat in the occasion, these addresses are being printed in our Standard Bearer. The Rev. H. Veldman, Vice President of the Theological School Committee and chairman for the evening, presented to the candidate his diploma.
Thus, the Lord has again manifested His blessing upon our school and our churches. Our school has produced another graduate; our churches have another candidate for the ministry; and, hopefully, another of our congregations will in the near future have a pastor.
I remarked above that this was one of the high points of our 1965 Synod. There is more than one reason for this.
It is sometimes said that precious things come in small packages.
I believe this may be said of the occasion under discussion.
From a certain point of view it might undoubtedly be said that the rather elaborate celebration was out of proportion to the insignificant event. A goodly audience assembled, and an entire evening’s program was prepared; and we had only one candidate graduating, and that too, from a very small school. Besides, there had been a two-year lapse since the previous graduation.
However, when we consider that this candidate has received a well-rounded theological education (and I want to emphasize that our students do indeed receive a complete theological education), that in a school like ours he enjoyed the benefit of much personal attention in the course of his training, and that, above all, our candidate received a thoroughly Reformed training, the equal of which cannot be found elsewhere,—when we consider all this, then I say that the Lord has signally blessed us and has given our churches abundant reason for gratitude and for hope.
May an occasion of this kind prove to be an incentive and inspiration to our churches. May it also serve as an incentive to more of our young men to prepare for the Protestant Reformed ministry.
Congratulations to Candidate Decker! May the Lord soon give him a place in one of our congregations, bless him with a fruitful ministry, and, above all, keep him ever faithful to the truth of the gospel.