At the end of the 83rd year of existence of the Reformed Free Publishing Association and the continuous publication of the Standard Bearer, we can again report to the association and our readers that we have been enabled by God’s providential care to continue giving a witness to the “Reformed truth,” the purpose of our organization. We give thanks to our heavenly Father that He has made this possible for another year. He made this possible above all by the working of His grace and Spirit through many persons. In this annual report I would like to touch upon the many ways God works to provide for the continuing work of the RFPA in the publishing both of our magazine and of our books.
The name Reformed Free Publishing Association was chosen to represent the fact that the association was free of the control by any church group or any other than the members of the association. Free from control also means free of financial support through budget of churches and synods. It has been necessary over the years to support the work of publications by free gifts from interested individuals and free voluntary church collections.
As you will learn from the financial report of the Board Treasurer, our financial situation is excellent, thanks in great part to the continued giving of our supporters and the efficient operation of the RFPA. The RFPA has been able to function with a minimum of paid staff. Almost all the paid staff works part time and at a non-competitive wage and benefit level. A good share of the work of the RFPA is on a volunteer basis. In this secretary’s report I would like to focus on this facet of our year’s work and the operation of the RFPA.
First of all, the writers of the various rubrics in the Standard Bearer do the work of producing articles on a voluntary basis, organized each summer for the coming publication year. This means that the material for the coming publication year is already committed by the various writers. The editing and organization of the Standard Bearer is done on a voluntary basis. This takes commitment on the part of all the contributors to the cause of the Reformed truth. We express public thanks for the dedicated work of our writers. We especially thank the Doezemas, Don and Judi, for their work in editing and organizing the publication. Above all we thank God that He works in the hearts of so many for this worthy cause.
As is typical of most non-profit organizations like the RFPA, it takes many volunteers to maintain and manage the activities of the organization. This is also true of the Board of the RFPA. Your board members meet monthly as a board and also monthly on one of the sub-committees of the Board. This involves a number of evenings each month, with various assignments as part of the committee work outside the actual meeting times. We are thankful that each year we find association members who are willing to serve on the Board. The Board would like to thank our four retiring members for three years of dedicated work. They are: Tom Bergman, Justin Koole, Jeff Terpstra, and Jim VanOverloop. We also encourage others to join the association and be available and willing to serve on the Board.
All who listen to this annual report or who read the published report of the Board secretary have a part as a “volunteer” in the organization. Your continued support of the RFPA in its publication work by being a Standard Bearer subscriber and/or being a member of our Book Club is valuable to our operation. Your gifts to theStandard Bearer or to the book division through church collections and individual gifts have made our continued operation possible for another year. In this time when many religious publications are having circulation and financial problems, we are thankful for the generous support voluntarily given by you our readers and association members.
Above all we thank our Heavenly Father that He works in the hearts and minds of so many of our supporters that they willingly give of their time and money for the cause of publishing the “Reformed truth.” Without the work of God’s grace, our cause would fail. “O taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that trusteth in him,” Psalm 34:8.
For many of the details of the activities of the RFPA during the past year I refer you to our report to the members in the form of the newsletter called the RFPA Update. Look for your copy soon. More information and pictures are on our website www.rfpa.org. There you can find much information about current publications. The project to host a searchable database of theStandard Bearer on the web site continues. Copy is currently available back to the 1963 publication year. Look us up.
One item to report is the first complete year of operation out of our new building in Jenison. This has proved to be a real convenience for our operation. It provides a single location for meetings, storage, shipping, and mailing of theStandard Bearer. This has made for a very efficient operation, but has increased our cost, since in the past we received much free use of space elsewhere.
In the past year there has been a substantial increase in the mailing cost of magazines and books. Due to these increases the Board has decided to raise the subscription rate to $21/year for domestic subscriptions. This is the first rate increase since 1995. Even with the rate increase, we are still dependent on your voluntary giving to cover about half of the cost of the magazine.
As we close another publication year and look to the coming year, we give thanks for God’s faithfulness to the cause and thank all you supporters who contribute with gifts of your time and money.