September 21, 1989

Dear Board, Association members, and friends of the Reformed Free Publishing Association:

Threescore and five years ago our spiritual forefathers brought forth in this our fair city of churches (Grand Rapids, MI) a new and much needed magazine named “The Standard Bearer.” The need was urgent to explain and defend their scriptural position regarding the Common Grace controversy of that day.

A quote from the original statement of purpose says it best: “We are concerned to instruct and to help the Reformed child of God in the living of a full, deep, all-sided Christian life for his Lord in every relation, on every plane, and in every sphere. Scripture must teach us; in it God must speak to us; according to it must be our world and life view.” We who are gathered here tonight must rightfully remember the past to be fully appreciative of the present and to prepare and plan properly for the future of the Standard Bearer. Before we begin our business at hand, let us pause and be truly thankful that God in His providence raised up men of deep spiritual conviction and stature where and when He did in the history of the church militant.

Now for what took place in Volume Year 65 (October 1, ’88-Sept. 15, ’89). First of all, due recognition is to be given to our Editor-in-Chief, Prof. D.J. Engelsma, who completes his first year at the helm of theStandard Bearer. God grant him and others of the Editorial Committee and Staff zeal and dedication to continue, as the late Prof. H.C. Hoeksema so fittingly put it, to “hew the line and be on time.”

Less than a year after his retirement as Editor-in-Chief of the S.B. (24 years), Prof. Hoeksema was, after a short illness, called home to his eternal reward, on July 17, 1989. May the Lord comfort the mourners and give them peace and submission.

Worthy of mention is also the retirement of Henry J. VanderWal, after 21 years of dedicated service as Business Manager of the S.B. (1968-1989). We recognize his past services with an inscribed plaque to be presented to him this evening.

Taking complete charge is the conscientious, capable Mr. Don Doezema. Rest assured that Don, with his efficient wife Judi, will give the Standard Bearerexcellent service. They are that kind of couple. Some people make waves. Don is like an undercurrent who gently pulls and guides without self promotion and fanfare.

For this yearly report, our Business Manager furnished the Secretary with the following information: As of this date 1,956 copies of the S.B. are being sent to addresses in the U.S.A., 105 overseas, 62 to Canada, and 150 for Bound Volumes, for a total count of 2,273 per mailing.

Since October 1, 1988, we have gained better than 100 new subscribers. Approximately a third of those were through the return of postcards which we printed, offering a one-year subscription for half-price to first-time subscribers. The remainder of the 100 came by word of mouth, recommendations, and gift subscriptions. Whether they continue their subscriptions remains to be seen.

Our new equipment for mailing of the S.B. has served us well during the past year.

The Editorial Staff has adopted several modifications in the format of the magazine, and also introduced a couple of new rubrics and writers. Although the Board is not directly involved in this aspect of the work, the interest and response shown is encouraging to all. We might add that, on September 15, 1988, the Board received a letter from the Editorial Committee, over the signature of Prof. Robert D. Decker, expressing their desire and willingness to cooperate with us in promoting the Standard Bearer.

Besides the monies received through subscriptions, we rely heavily on personal gifts and P.R. Church collections to cover our monthly expenses and to maintain still a working balance. We sincerely thank all who support our magazine. Our year-ending balance is $4,619.20.

We are hoping to reduce our typesetting cost by providing our current typesetters, not with the manuscripts, but with the articles already typed onto a computer disk. The computer age can benefit us, and we hope to report progress in this area at a later date.

No longer are we paying rental storage fees for the extra Standard Bearers—individual copies and volumes accumulated over the years. The undersigned volunteered the use of his basement. All copies and volumes are identified and put either in heavy paper bags or storage boxes on shelves. Thanks, Pete.

The Board raised the subscription price for all Canadian and other foreign country subscribers to $15.00 per year. This is to help cover the added mailing costs. Research shows this action to be in harmony with the policy of other magazines.

We also informed our P.R. churches that the Board is discontinuing the practice of giving a one-year free subscription of the S.B. to newly-married couples. There was a duplication of effort by the Board and some congregations. The Board also sensed that it belonged more in the realm of the local consistories. Besides, our present practice of one-half cost to first-time subscribers is a bargain all by itself and should attract those who desire to give a gift to feed a man’s soul.

Thinking of all those who so diligently contribute month after month to make our fine magazine arrive at your address, we recognize and thank such as the Editorial Committee, department editors, guest writers, church news editor, business manager, office help, Board members, and John Veldman who for the last several years has assisted in the mailing of the magazine. We also appreciate the cooperation and workmanship of Commercial Printing Company and Wobbema Litho, for typesetting, printing, and meeting the deadline of the 1st and 15th of every month. A special word of thanks is in order to our Editor-in-Chief, who shows good ability and sound leadership and judgment in the affairs of the S.B.

Above all else, we thank God, and do say, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits” (Ps. 103:3).

Respectfully submitted,

Board of the R.F.P.A.

P. Koole, Secretary