On the evening of August 17th, 1943, another congregation was added to our Protestant Reformed Denomination. In the neat little Congregational Church building of Randolph, Wisconsin where our Mission Committee had sponsored services for over a year, eight families were organized into a congregation.
Small indeed is the beginning of this little group, but we believe there is promise that this new addition to our Churches will grow and ripen into a stalwart in our ranks.
Each Sabbath, for over a year, the Word of God had been proclaimed by ministers and students to those whom the Lord brought to hear it. Besides, during this period personal work of some of our ministers was conducted in this vicinity, the purpose al which was to enlighten those who would receive them into their homes. And the Lord has opened the hearts to receive that precious truth which is the peculiar heritage of our Protestant Reformed Churches. Because of this, we are glad and thankful to Him Who has given us to see fruits upon the labor performed.
It is well known especially to those of our Churches in Classis East that through a suggestion coming from the consistory and minister of the congregation at Oaklawn, mission work was begun in Randolph and environs. When the Mission Committee learned of those in this territory who were interested in the truth, it immediately asked the consistory of Oaklawn to allow its pastor to work in this territory to determine the advisability of continued effort. The consistory of Oaklawn gladly cooperated, with the result that the Rev. C. Hanko reported that the field looked good and advised that more concerted effort to canvas the field be put forth. Shortly after this, the Rev. H. Hoeksema was asked to work with the Rev. Hanko in this vicinity. The report of this work also proved to be very favorable. The Mission Committee then decided that not only should our ministers and students speak the Word on the Sabbath, but should also try to organize a society where all could come to discuss the Word of God and the problems that were raised due to the differences of especially the Christian Reformed and Protestant Reformed Churches. This work also bore fruit in a deeper understanding of the doctrinal differences and of the Word of God in general. Besides, have no doubt but that these meetings tended to mold the interested parties concerned almost without exception into the group that was organized.
When the Synod of 1943 decided to instruct the Mission Committee to do still more work in Randolph and encouraged the Committee to make diligent attempt to organize there, the Committee decided to ask both the Rev. C. Hanko and the Rev. B. Kok to spend three weeks in this territory. This time also the consistories of both Oaklawn and Hudsonville gladly acceded to our request and the result shows that eight families signified their desire to be organized into a congregation.
The date having been set, the Committee decided to go to Randolph to carry out the organization proper.
Since the Revs. Hanko and Hoeksema had labored hard in this field, they were asked to be present at this meeting and take part in the organization service. The latter because of circumstances, could not attend.
As was said, only eight families had requested organization. Therefore it could be expected that not a large audience would be present.
After the Rev. M. Schipper had conducted the preliminaries and the Rev. A. Cammenga, a committee member from the West, had led the meeting in prayer, the Rev. B. Kok preached a brief sermon on the text found in. He emphasized especially that the formation of the body of Christ was entirely the Lord’s work, and that the purpose of this formation was the praise and glory of God, and that this purpose would surely be realized. This was applied very effectively to the formation of the little group at Randolph. No one was left in doubt at this meeting as to the identity of the Creator and Former of this new congregation. It was a product not of man or a group of men but of the heavenly Artificer Himself Who would also realize His own glory in and through the little flock now organized.
Then those desiring organization were asked to hand in the certificates of dismissal from the Churches they left which the committee recognized and accepted.
There were three young men, heads of three of the families, and members by baptism in the Churches they left, who asked for the right to profess the Name of the Lord at this meeting. These young men had been labored with on more than one occasion and were instructed -to see that should they desire to affiliate with our Churches they should also be willing to publicly make profession of their faith. They did desire this. The Committee, therefore, before the meeting questioned these young men at length and decided to accept their confessions and grant them the right to make their public confession after the members of the congregation had been given opportunity to bring lawful objections against them. They were found to be of good repute and above reproach. Hence, they were asked the usual questions, and after they had properly answered were exhorted to continue in their confession and were given the right to vote for officebearers who would form the first consistory of our Randolph Protestant Reformed Church.
The Committee recommended that two elders and one deacon be chosen. The congregation adopted this recommendation and without much delay chose its leaders. The Rev. C. Hanko then read the form for ordination and duly installed the brethren in their respective offices.
After singing the two verses of Psalter number 370, the Rev. J. De Jong closed the service with thanks to God.
Immediately after the service, the congregation and visitors enjoyed refreshments in the basement of the Church and spent a few moments discussing and speaking about matters related to this joyous occasion.
And so we could return home with joyful hearts, elated over the fact that our Covenant God had not only given us an open door in Randolph, but that He also had called into existence by His mighty, creative Word a people for Himself who shall show forth His praise.
We congratulate you, sister congregation at Randolph, and welcome you into the fellowship of our Churches. May the Lord prosper you in the way of faithfully living the truth you have learned to love, and shall be called upon to continually profess in your community. “Keep that which thou hast, which has been committed unto you;” and “be faithful unto the end that no one take your crown.” We hope sincerely that the Shepherd of Israel will presently send unto you an under-shepherd to lead you further into the pastures of the truth, and that others who as yet have not joined with you will see the necessity of being like-minded with you in order that you may be encouraged in your work.
The Mission Committee, per M. Schipper