Many are very interested in the progress of our drive for funds for a new seminary building, and the development of plans for its erection in the near future. We expect, by reports such as these, to keep you well informed.
But first, a word of apology. In the last report, the undersigned included the names of the individual churches in the denomination and the sums collected by them in the recent drive. This was presented in the interest of a full and complete report. However, some thought that this invited unfair comparison between the various churches and ought to have been omitted. For this invitation to apparent unfair comparisons, I do want to apologize. In the future, we expect not to report in that manner.
It can only be with continued gratitude to God that we can report on the willingness of the members of our churches (and from some outside of our churches) to support so generously this cause. The need was recognized, and the response was in harmony with the recognition.
Our last report (August 10, 1972) showed cash gifts and pledges of $64,278. That was just a shade under the 65% that Synod required before building would begin. To date, we have far exceeded that 65%, though we have not attained to 100% of the goal. With still about three of our churches to report, we have on hand or pledged a total of $84,638.27 (a gain of over $20,000 above the last report). Of this total amount, we have $40,149.27 in cash.
A little twiddling with a pencil will show that already, on an average, our families have contributed each $54.00 in cash, with an additional $59.00 pledged—for a total of $113.00. Remember: this is the average. Now that is nothing short of amazing—and surely reason for gratitude to God. True, we need an averageof $150.00 per family—but right now we are only $37.00 per family short of that goal. We would earnestly ask our families for continued support: if gifts in cash or pledges have not yet been given, we would ask for your gifts soon; if you have already contributed or pledged, but could see your way clear to provide additional support, we ask for that assistance. And our sincere thanks go to each of you who have so generously supported this project.
Synod instructed our committee to dispose of the proposed building site next to our Southeast Church and to purchase at least a two-acre site at the approximate cost of $10,000. Synod also instructed our committee to appoint a “Blue Ribbon” Committee which would advise on site locations and supervise the erection of a building.
We are in the process of attempting to sell our original location. This is not yet completed. The committee is of the opinion that this site will be finally sold for at least as much as was originally invested in it.
That “Blue-Ribbon” Committee was also appointed. The chairman is Mr. Gordon VanOverloop from our Hudsonville church. The other members are: Mr. Ernie Miedema from our Hudsonville church; Mr. John Kuiper, Jr. from our Hope Church; and Mr. Tom Newhof, Jr. from our First, Grand Rapids church. (We would also wish to express-our sympathy to one of the members of the committee, Mr. Ernie Miedema, and his family in the sudden, recent death of their son. May God richly provide for them in this grief through His Word and by His Spirit.)
This committee began with great enthusiasm to carry out their task of finding a location for the new building. After spending much time investigating, they proposed two possible sites to the Theological School Committee with the suggestion that this committee select one of the two. It was not easy to select. Neither of the parcels was improved (no water or sewer). But both were very lovely sites. The chief consideration was: which site would be of greater benefit for the new Seminary building and for the churches at large? We could not unanimously agree on this question, but a selection was made. And the Theological School Committee unitedly agrees that now that the selection is made, we are going to proceed as soon as possible with building.
“Where is it? Where is it?” you ask. Perhaps, if you are acquainted with Grand Rapids, I can explain its location. It is west of, and fronting on, Ivanrest, S.W. One crosses Ivanrest on 28th Street (the South Belt Line), not very far from the location of our Southwest Church. Proceeding south on Ivanrest, and just before reaching 52nd Street, just south of the Grandville-Wyoming city boundaries, one can find the proposed site. (Try to find it—it isn’t all that hard. Perhaps the Theological School Committee or the “Blue Ribbon” Committee can be persuaded to erect a sign: “Future Location of the Protestant Reformed Seminary.”)
The site is very lovely. The building would be placed on the top of a rather high knoll overlooking most of Grand Rapids area. The view is extremely beautiful—and we hope not too distracting to professors and students.
Now the “Blue Ribbon” Committee has been instructed to prepare, for final approval of the Theological School Committee, plans for a building which will be suitable for this site. Likely there will have to be modifications of the plan which was printed in the last Acts of Synod. We will try to pass these on to you, through the Standard Bearer, as soon as they are prepared.
We do hope that building can begin by early spring—at least we are aiming for such a goal. And we can not help but be excited about the prospect of having, finally, our own seminary building.
We thank our covenant God for all these blessings bestowed richly and freely upon our churches—and now seen again concretely in this endeavor which He has prospered.
for the Theological School Committee,
Rev. G. Van Baren