It was with considerable trepidation, in 1971, that the Theological School Committee began carrying out its Synodical mandate to initiate drives for funds for our new seminary building. None, I think, expected the tremendous support in prayer and through gifts that we received. At best we hoped for sufficient funds to begin building—with the total cost of the building to be paid for over a period of ten or more years. Now, after less than four years, we can report not only that our seminary building is completed—but also that within a year of its completion it is fully paid for (that is, when we take into account the unpaid pledges). It is simply remarkable; unbelievable. After our most recent: $lO-$50 drive, and with the great assistance of several unexpected and very sizable gifts, our goal has been met—and more than met. We certainly thank our covenant God for this provision for our needs beyond our thought or expectation. And we thank each of you, also some of you outside of our Protestant Reformed Churches, for your very generous support. We covet your continued prayers—and also your continued financial support.
The cost of the building
The estimated cost of building was $153,000.00. I think that few expected the committee to attain to that figure—usually completed cost is at least 10% higher than estimated cost. But the final and total cost of the building was considerably under the estimate. Besides, the final cost of building included various items (as furnishings, gas pipeline, etc.) not in the original estimate. Our treasurer reports the following:
The gifts over the past four years, to the end of 1974, were as follows:
Paid on pledges—$22,749.77
Two $10-$50 Drives—$10,831.12
In addition to the above, there remains $18,772.50 in unpaid pledges. Quick addition will show that this brings the total to $159,253.91. A little subtraction will show that this means that we will have $9,308.79 over the total cost of the building! You see why the theological school committee and the building committee are simply overwhelmed by your response!
This does not mean, however, that we have too much money. First of all, we have had to borrow funds which are being now repaid, plus interest. There will be a few thousand dollars of interest which must also then be paid. A second consideration, though we hesitate to report it, is that not all pledges were made in good faith. A few will default on their pledges. We do, however, expect to have a modest surplus after the final pledge is paid.
Additional financial support
If there are additional funds beyond what is needed to pay for building plus interest, the Theological School Committee has discussed the possibility of using these both for our library and for added improvements to our present building plant. The library has the majority of its shelves unused as yet. Thousands of dollars could be spent on books. Water and sewer will likely be coming past our property soon at considerable expense. Grounds equipment can be purchased. Added landscaping could, conceivably, be done. Additional equipment could be purchased for more efficient work in the seminary itself. This is reported so that we may know that we do not have too much money for our seminary.
We would like to encourage each of you to consider giving regular and generous financial support to our seminary in the future. We will find many projects where your gifts can most profitably be used. Above all, remember our seminary in your prayers, that this institution may serve its purpose: to prepare young men for the ministry of the gospel in harmony with the requirements of the Word of God.
Finally, we give again our thanks to the generous efforts of our “Blue Ribbon” building committee and to Mr. T. Newhof, Sr. for their labors in overseeing the erection of our seminary building. And we thank Mr. R. Teitsma who has performed outstanding work in serving as treasurer for this project.
Stop by and see our seminary building sometime.
Theological School Committee
—Rev. G. Van Baren