Our PRC archives post is a day late this week, but I want to get it in. This one features Rev. Cornelius Hanko, 1907-2005 (father of Prof. Herman Hanko), former minister of the Word in the PRC.
At various times in the Beacon Lights, the PR young peoples’ magazine, articles were penned by ministers and seminary students, in which they reflected on their call to the ministry and/or on their seminary experiences. Recently, Kevin Rau (my library/archives assistant) found several of these, which he photocopied for the archive files of these ministers.
Among these articles was one by Rev. C. Hanko, which appeared in the February 1978 issue (unfortunately the BL archives do not go back that far as yet). Today we quote from a portion of this article for your benefit (which I have slightly edited).
It was shortly after the split of 1924, in the spring of 1925 that I approached Rev. Herman Hoeksema with the suggestion that I would like to attend our seminary, which was to open in June, as soon as the other schools closed for the season. His first remark was that there were others who had expressed the same desire, but that there were no churches for us to serve.
I informed him that I had always had a strong desire to become [a] missionary rather than [a] minister. You see, for years we had brought our nickels and dimes to Sunday School for the Rehoboth mission [CRC mission work]. A few times Rev. J. W. Brink had come to our Eastern Avenue congregation, the calling church, to tell us about his labors there. Besides, I had heard and read about mission work in the Sudan, in Newfoundland, and many other places, all of which intrigued me very much. So, as a matter of course, I informed Rev. Hoeksema of this desire, upon which he responded that our churches would need missionaries also. So again the Lord opened the way for me to prepare for the ministry.
The next four years were difficult years. Of the twelve [students] that began, only three finished the course. Often we had to take our lessons and prepare them in some home in Iowa, preaching on Sunday and studying during the week. There was such a shortage of supply, that during the years I was in seminary, I never was able to take my final examinations with the other students; but, except for the classical exam, always took them by myself after returning from the churches. We received practical training as well as education from books (pp15-16).