Spring-Break News from Seminary

It was a quieter than normal week around the Seminary as we enjoyed Spring break 2017. But that does not mean there was not work and activity going on.

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Professors were present for meetings, study, and other office work. Some students came each day for study and special synod 2017 preparation (some of the seniors!). Staff was there to continue the daily office tasks (including work on the April Seminary Journal and the special evangelism/missions issue of the Standard Bearer coming up May 1!).

And I was able to get some library/archives/registrar work done too. Extra library and archives work, in fact, because I didn’t have all the normal interruptions that come with a regular school day.

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Kevin Rau (my able library assistant) and I even had time to take part of a rainy Tuesday for a “booking outing,” as we went to the historic downtown Grand Rapids Public Museum (cf. picture above) to browse their used sale book shelves (bought ten good books for the library for $10!) and take in their beautiful periodical room (see picture below).

After that we traveled to the Eerdmans Publishing building, where they also have a bookstore, including special 60-70-% off shelves. Those were our focus, as we scoured those volumes and picked up about 20 new (slightly blemished) ones for the library. And those I was able to catalog this week and prep for Kevin’s work in the library next Tuesday.

On Wednesday Bob Drnek came in for his usual archives help and we sorted through about 20 boxes of items that had been shipped to us from a family in Loveland, CO PRC. That is always a delight, and we were able to find some new treasures for the PRC archives (including more cassette tapes!) as well as some good used books for the students (which they always seem able to sniff out rather quickly!). We thank those who donate such items to the Seminary and the PRC archives. Don’t forget, we are always looking for items relating to our history!

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In addition to inside work at the Seminary, this is the time of year when attention gets directed to the outside as well. We have been cleaning up the dead and storm-damaged trees and brush in the woods surrounding Seminary. Advantage Tree service cut down some trees last week and came back to grind stumps this week (cf. above picture).

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And yesterday – finally a glorious day of sunshine! – our yard maintenance man, Brad Gritters and his helper, applied some fresh bark to the landscape. That always improves the look of our beautiful new landscape.

Thanks to all those who help maintain our seminary and make the building and grounds look so beautiful!

Yet nothing can top what the Lord of creation and providence does when He gives a gorgeous sunrise as He did one morning this week. I took the picture below and Google Photos gave it a slightly enhanced look. But it truly appeared as if the sky was on fire.

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That’s the news from “seminary hill” for this week!

Published in: on April 8, 2017 at 10:32 AM  Leave a Comment  

PRC Archives – Adams CS Class of 1961

Recently a PRC member wanted some old pictures of Adams Christian School here in Grand Rapids (now located in Wyoming, MI), so I found the box of archived items on this school and she had some items scanned for her use.

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But left in the folder was a 1961 yearbook – the “Spotlight”, as it was called then. I browsed through it and found some interesting pages that I thought could be shared today here.

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For one thing, the dedication was a nice tribute to the work of Mr. Fred Hanko, as you will see from the above page.

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The mention of his coaching in various sports made me locate the sports team pages and sure enough, Mr. Hanko coached both the boys basketball and football teams.

Yes, FOOTBALL team! And to quite a successful season too – undefeated – and not by slim margins either (note those scores!)! I can’t imagine this was tackle football, so perhaps flag. Someone from Adams can confirm. But it brought back memories of the tumbling class Mr. Hanko taught us during gym class when I was at Hope school. That was a lot of fun!

You may also note some familiar names and faces on that basketball team – including a certain PRC minister of some stature (back row in the center). It seems that this team had it struggles on the court, but still counted it a successful season. Mr. Hanko taught them sportsmanship well.

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Now this last posted page is interesting too. I believe you will notice some familiar people on those intramural teams as well as on the “safety squad.” Can you guess what the latter group’s role was? And that teacher in the upper left-hand corner, I believe that is my former 4th grade teacher at Hope – Miss W. Koole, now in glory (along with at least one other in this picture).

What a blessing our Christian schools and teachers are!

Special Grade-School Visitors This Week

This past Tuesday and Wednesday the PRC Seminary hosted some very special guests.

Adams-5th-2017-1Prof. R. Cammenga introduces the students to the seminary and its work.

On Tuesday the fifth-grade class from Adams Christian School (Wyoming, MI) taught by Mrs. MaryBeth Lubbers joined us for an hour of their morning. We so appreciate these visits and the time we have to interact so as to present more about the seminary and its special labors.

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Seminary students introduce themselves during devotion time.

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Professors and students mingle with the Adams’ students at coffee time.

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A very special student from Adams 5th grade (Abbey Rose, my granddaughter) visits with Stephan Regnerus.

Adams-5th-2017-5Group picture in the seminary assembly room – Adams 5th graders and Mrs. M. Lubbers with our students and professors.

On Wednesday, the fourth-grade class of Mrs. Jane Woudenberg from Heritage Christian School in Hudsonville, MI made their annual visit to us.

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Mingling with the HCS 4th graders at coffee time.

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More mingling as break time begins.

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Learning about the seminary from Prof. R. Cammenga – tough, theological questions! But the children can handle them.

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The visit wouldn’t be complete without a trip through the library! Always a pleasure seeing them browse through and poke around.

We are thankful for the interest in our seminary on the part of these teachers and students. And, as always, we pray that seeds were sown in the hearts and minds of some of these young boys to consider the call to the ministry some day.

God bless your work in the Christian schools too! Pray for us as we pray for you.

Published in: on March 31, 2017 at 6:45 AM  Leave a Comment  

Early March Madness for PRC Ministers and Seminary Students

Our “Friday Fun” item for this week comes a day late. But it is no less fun on Saturday morning. 🙂

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As you know, March in the U.S. is known as “March madness” time, because of all the basketball tournaments – both at the high school level and at the college level.

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Last week Saturday (March 4) saw a very special version of “March madness,” as down in Dyer, IN (Hoosier-land!) a group of PRC ministers from that area and a group of PRC Seminary students  (“Sons of the Prophets”, I have now learned) from up here combined to form a team to play against the basketball teams of Heritage Christian High School (the Defenders!). The big game was a fundraising event put on by the young people of Cornerstone PRC.

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Thanks to some pictures taken by Prof. R. Dykstra, who was in the area to preach last Sunday, we can show you some highlights.

DSC_0013Ryan VO and Ted A at the scorer’s table. Do you have a tape of the game?

After seeing his album of pictures and hearing who did the announcing (Ted Andringa) and listening to the stories of the contest at Seminary coffeetimes this week, I wish I had been there. Sounds like a great time was had by all – and for a good cause!

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Rev. G. Eriks shooting a big freethrow with the game on the line.

Who won the game? Well, just check out that last picture here.

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The scoreboard doesn’t lie – our students contributed to the one-point victory! Perhaps it was Coach “R” and his smart maneuvers throughout the game (That would be Sem student Stephan Regnerus). Go “Sons of the Prophets”! Are there any other challengers out there?!

In any case, thankful to report that there were no serious injuries. But I can imagine there were some mighty sore muscles Sunday morning. 🙂

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Published in: on March 11, 2017 at 8:33 AM  Comments (2)  

A Wedding in the Family

Today our youngest son, Justin, married his sweetheart, Tessa.

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It was a cool but sunny day, and the wedding plans went through beautifully, with family and friends witnessing, participating, and celebrating. Needless to say, our grandchildren were giddy beyond words. And they played their roles marvelously, with youthful joy and excitement.

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The focus in the ceremony was on Jesus Christ and His love for His children, a love we – by His grace – manifest to one another as members of His bride, the church. We are humbly thankful Justin and Tessa share this love of Christ and have chosen to found their marriage on that faithful, enduring love.

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As they start their lives together, we share two prayers for them – one written by Luther and the other by Calvin – both taken from the little prayer book, Prayers of the Reformers (compiled by Clyde Manschreck and published by Epworth Press in 1958).

O Lord God, who hast created man and woman and hast ordained them for the marriage bond and hast typified therein the sacramental union of thy dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the church, his bride: We beseech thy groundless goodness and mercy that thou wouldest not permit this thy creation, ordinance, and blessing to be disturbed or destroyed, but graciously preserve the same through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. ~ M. Luther, 1529

O God, almighty, all-good, and all-wise, who from the beginning didst see that it was not good for a man to be alone, and therefore didst create for him a companion, and didst ordain that the two should be one:

We beg of thee, and humbly request, that since it hath pleased thee to call these persons to the holy estate of marriage, thou wouldest of thy grace and goodness bestow on them thy Holy Spirit, in order that they may in holiness abide in faith, true and firm, according to thy good will, surmounting all bad affections, living purely, and edifying each other in all honesty and chastity.

Give thy blessing as thou didst to thy faithful servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that through their children they may praise and serve thee, teaching them and bringing them up to thy praise and glory, and the good of their neighbor, through the advancement and exaltation of thy holy gospel.

Hear us, Father of mercy, through our Lord Jesus Christ, thy very dear Son. Amen. ~ J. Calvin, 1542

Another Special Friday Lunch

Yesterday the PRC Seminary enjoyed another special lunch hour. As you may remember, we have the custom of grilling brats or burgers and, when we can, enjoying a “cultural” experience.

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Yesterday during lunch Mr. Peter Adams gave the second part of his presentation on the Renaissance, the Reformation and art – another profitable “Powerpoint” talk. We thank him for taking the time to share his knowledge of and Reformed perspective on this subject with us.

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Another benefit of our Friday lunches is the fellowship we enjoy together. Often we have guests (word spreads fast about the good food!), as well as Seminarian wives and children who join us. And when there is a new baby, well, the crowd gathers!

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The newest addition to our Seminary family is Abigail Tan, daughter of Josiah (first-year student from CERC in Singapore) and his wife “HQ” (Hui Qi). She is a beautiful girl, precious to her parents and to us.

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And since this is supposed to be my “Friday Fun” post, I will include these two images, also from yesterday. While closing things up at the end of the day yesterday, I came eye to eye with a deer who was grazing just outside the assembly room window. I was able to sneak up and capture her as she looked up and spotted me.

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And, finally, we are having Spring-like weather in West Michigan, which means some of the early bulb flowers are already poking up. In a protected corner of the front of the building are these daffodils up 4 inches already, unaware that Winter is still officially a month away. That’s ok, it’s a happy sight anyway. 🙂

Published in: on February 18, 2017 at 9:19 PM  Leave a Comment  

Friday Seminary Culture Session – Art History!

You may recall that for a few years now those providing food for the Friday brat/burger lunch at Seminary (we divide ourselves up into groups) have the opportunity also to provide a “cultural” experience for the entire group.

In the past we have enjoyed unique music, learned to sing the Psalms chant style, benefited from a presentation on coins from the biblical era, and learned about Philippino life, among other things.

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Today we were privileged to have Mr. Peter (Robert) Adams, retired PRCS teacher and former administrator/teacher at Eastside CS in Grand Rapids, give a presentation on art. It is actually a two-part presentation, with today’s being on the Renaissance and art, while next week’s will be on the Reformation and art.

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Today we learned how art was influenced by the humanism of the Renaissance movement, so that the Christian themes that once dominated art in early Christianity and in the Middle Ages were replaced by man-centered themes (as you will see from the pictures).

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Now we look forward to “part 2” next week and hearing about how the Reformation influenced art.

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For the rest of our “Friday fun” feature today, we include these pictures of a great gathering of deer last month in the Seminary’s “backyard.” First we counted 13, then a little later we counted 16 – the most we have ever seen at once on our grounds! The snow was gone after our January thaw, and the deer had “fresh” grass to nibble on. No doubt, thoughts of Spring were on their “minds.” They are on us humankind’s minds too. 🙂

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Hope the rest of your Friday is good too!

Published in: on February 10, 2017 at 3:10 PM  Leave a Comment  

Dr. Klaas Schilder and the PRC

The PRC Seminary’s 2017 Interim course ends today. Prof. R. Dykstra, by rotation, taught his course on the Schism of 1953, that tragic but necessary rupture that occurred in the PRC over the doctrine of the covenant of grace and the nature of salvation (conditional or unconditional; general or particular).

Much of that history involved Dr. Klaas Schilder (1890-1952) of the Netherlands, himself ousted from the State Church in the Netherlands in the 1944, following which he helped found the Liberated Churches that same year (Canadian Reformed and American Reformed in N. America).

Schilder was an opponent of common grace, which in part caused him to be befriended by Rev. Herman Hoeksema and prompted visits to the U.S. and conversations with PRC leaders in 1939 and 1947. However, on the doctrine of the covenant he and Hoeksema parted. Because of Schilder’s influence on many PRC ministers, his conditional theology was instrumental in the schism in 1953.

Prof. Dykstra gives out many handouts for his class on this history, both original and secondary sources. He (and his classes!) also enjoy visuals, including pictures. So I gathered what we had in the PRC archives, scanned them, and sent them to him for use in his PowerPoint presentations.

Today I share them with you as well, including a brand new one that came in this week from the T. Newhof family – thank you!

We will start with that one, since it is one of the largest and clearest pictures of Dr. K. Schilder that we have, and because it relates to the first visit he made to the U.S. and the PRC in 1939. It shows him sandwiched between Rev. George Lubbers (minister in Pella PRC at the time) and Rev. William Verhil (minister in First PRC, Edgerton, MN at the time) next to the old Doon PRC in Doon, IA.

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This is also a new one, compliments of Mark Hoeksema, showing his grandfather and grandmother (Rev. Herman Hoeksema) at a private picnic with Dr. K. Schilder.

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Dr. K. Schilder with Rev. Gerrit Vos in the mountains of S. California

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Dr. K. Schilder with Rev. A. Petter (minister in Bellflower, CA PRC at the time) at an outing at the Los Angeles, CA zoo.

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Dr. K. Schilder (just to the right of Rev. H. Hoeksema and Rev. G. Ophoff in the front) and PRC ministers and elders at the Theological Conference held at First PRC in Grand Rapids, MI on November 6, 1947.

In March of 1952 Dr. K. Schilder died suddenly, prompting this brief but warm memoriam in the Standard Bearer from the pen of the editor, Rev. Herman Hoeksema:

Early this morning, March 24, I received a telegram from my friend, Arnold Schildre at The Hague, informing me that his brother Klaas, the well-known Dr. K. Schilder had on the previous day, Sunday, March 23, passed into his eternal rest.

I was deeply shocked.

For although I certainly did not agree with him in regard to the question of the covenant and the promise, I nevertheless esteemed him for his work’s sake, esteemed him, too, as a highly gifted scholar, and, above all, as a brother in Christ.

And now Dr. Schilder is no more.

It would seem to us that his work was not finished.

Certainly, he himself cannot have been aware of the fact that his end was so near. At least, if we consider the very elaborate set-up of his work on the Heidelberg Catechism (he was writing) on the tenth Lord’s Day), he must have felt that he still had many years of labor before him.

But the Lord took him out of his busy sphere of labor and pronounced it finished, nevertheless.

May the Lord comfort the bereaved family, with whom we express our heartfelt sympathy.

And may He teach us so to number our days that we apply our hearts unto wisdom.

H.H.

Morning has Broken – January 6, 2017

A glorious sunrise appeared on Seminary hill this morning. With the white coat of freshly fallen, lake-effect snow, it was beautiful. I captured these out the front windows. Yes, it was cold (around 5 F) and I stayed in! 🙂

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On December 27, 2016, during our thaw period, these deer and turkey were roaming and grazing in the green grass up front. Always a treat to see them. Well, the deer at least. Those turkeys, well, they are a tad messier, if you know what I mean. 🙂

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Published in: on January 6, 2017 at 12:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

White Walkers and Other Wonders in Our Sudden Michigan Winter

I know those in West Michigan know, but in case those outside of our great state do not, we are experiencing winter in full force in the last two weeks! After a frigid week with plenty of lake-effect snow, a major system is coming our way today, with promises of 6-10 inches of more snow.

Rather than complain or run to warmer climates, we cherish and relish “the treasures of the snow”, our winter wonderland! Our mighty Creator and loving Father certainly displays His glory in special ways through the season of winter.

“Michigan in Pictures” had another beauty posted this morning (see below).

White Walkers, photo by Aaron Springer I think we can all agree that Winter is not merely coming, it’s here. View Aaron’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Source: White Walkers | Michigan in Pictures

But we have also seen some special beauty in our little “neck of the woods” here at the PRC Seminary. Yesterday I took a few pictures of the grounds out front. Enjoy! And know what you “outsiders” are missing! 🙂

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