PRC Seminary Addition Update – March 2019

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It was a good week of spring weather in West Michigan and more good progress was made on the archive/office addition at the PRC Seminary.

The Bosveld “team” of John Hop was there to carry on the work, inside and out. It started with some wrapping of the outside roof area with more board and Tyvec, in part because we were supposed to have a rainy day Wednesday/Thursday. But it stayed nice and that work was completed.

Then “JH” spent some time building a special platform and stairs to enter the addition through one of the windows, since this is the best entrance into it right now. When the semester is done, the wall now separating the addition from the library will be torn now and an opening made (You will see that wall in the photos below). But for now, the window is the door. Make sense? Just watch your head going in! ๐Ÿ™‚

Part of the work involved demolition of the old roof overhang, because what was outside is now inside. Make sense? Perhaps a few pics will help here too. And now you can see what wall has to come down. Yes, that brick one, so that a temporary stud wall can be made for the south side of that first office. Which stud wall will eventually come down too, when that temporary office is no longer needed. Then the “office” will become part of the library. Or maybe the archives. I know, it’s getting complicated, so let’s not worry about that right now.

Today (Friday) a Kleyn electrician came to put in some temporary power and some lights. And now you get your first look at the new archive room! It’s bare! But that’s ok; it will fill up in time. Wait until you see the cool shelving system we hope to install in it. I’m quite excited. (But that’s a secret at this point. Shhhh.)

And last, but not least, a little work was done this week on the library renovation part of this project. Two rows of sample sound-deadening ceiling tiles were put in by “JH.” so that we can begin to get a feel for how they look and how they sound. That is, hopefully, what sound we don’t hear. Make sense? Good!

Stay tuned for the next installment of PRC SAAU (seminary archive addition updates)!

Published in: on March 29, 2019 at 10:09 PM  Leave a Comment  

Michigan History, PRC Archives, and Maple Syrup *(Tree-tap Update!)

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This morning I attended a special seminar on “Archives 101” at the headquarters of the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM) in our state capital of Lansing (in the Meijer Education Center). Having recently become a member of the society, I not only receive the Michigan History Magazine and other benefits, but also access to special seminars and workshops relating to our state’s history and archives. And lest we forget, much of that history includes her Christian churches, ministries, and missions, several of which were represented at this seminar.

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Today’s seminar was a basic but profitable survey of how to do archiving. Being new to the position of archivist for our denomination, I want to learn from those who are experienced in the field. Not only was the presentation instructive (with many helpful handouts), but so also was the networking with the people in attendance.ย  As each of us introduced himself or herself and described our roles, I was struck by the fact that many of us are in the same positions and circumstances: serving in dual roles (librarian-archivist, or curator-archivist, or church secretary-historian) in small settings (small-town museums, collections, libraries) and facing quite similar needs (limited budgets, helpers, and space)! But that’s what makes it such a benefit to talk to one another about the what, how, and why of archiving. I was glad I took the time to go to this seminar.

Michigan-History-coverAnd I will take this opportunity to encourage our teachers and Christian schools in Michigan to take advantage of the manifold resources of the HSM, including the magazine and many history workshops and tours. The Society has a section on the website just for teachers and the MH Magazine also has a special children’s edition.

Speaking of Michigan history, did you that the famous Mackinac Island used to be one of our National Parks – the second one, in fact?

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And that leads into another great Michigan past time – making maple syrup. While more common in the northern portion of the state, it can be done wherever there are good maples trees – including on the PRC Seminary property. That’s right, this week (yesterday), one of our pre-seminary students, Doner Bartolon and his son Ian, tapped into some of our maple trees so as to experience firsthand the fine art of maple-syrup making.

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So I took them around and we picked out some good hard maples; then Ian and his dad did the drilling and I helped Ian with the tapping; soon the sap started to flow into the jugs they made! With warmer weather in the forecast, it is a good time to start the process. We’ll see how the syrup turns out!


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MLive carried a story about Michigan’s maple-syrup industry this Wednesday (March 6). Check out that fascinating report here.

*UPDATE! I checked the trees today and guess what?! The jugs are filling and some are full! Check out these two on tree #1:

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And, finally, we should give you a little update on the new archive addition going out the back of the library. As you can see, not much more had been done in the last few weeks, thanks to the frigid temps and snow-laden clouds in our neck of the woods.

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But, there’s hope. Today was sunny and the temp finally climbed above freezing. Ice was melting and snow receding. Word is that Bosveld plans to return next week and finish enclosing the structure so that work can begin inside. That is good news!

 

Friday Recap of Seminary Week (and a Little Library Fun Too)

It was an exciting week at the PRC Seminary, especially weather-wise (no major storms this week!) and new addition-wise (what progress this week!).

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On the weather front, we started with a few inches of snow Sunday night and Monday morning, and it was cold – due in part to clear skies and a February “super moon.” But then we had some glorious sunny weather and two beautiful sunrises in a row.

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Today too (Friday) was a gorgeous day, with temperatures in the low 40s (F). Which leads us into the next subject – the new addition being constructed. When we left off last time, we were in the throes of winter storms and the work had slowed down. But the hardy handymen hung in there and finished their work, starting with the “Bouwkamp brickies.”

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Yesterday they completed their brick-laying on the north wall, and today they returned to take down the scaffolding and clean up (“brickies” are not as bad as plumbers, but they’re still messy!). It’s a great-looking masonry job, don’t you think?

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But now that last picture gives away what else happened this week – yes, indeed, the trusses for the “second” roof went up (remember the first roof that went over the new archive room and future workroom consisted of concrete planks and a rubber seal – like a “pool” to collect any water this second roof may let through)!

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Monday morning the trusses were delivered, and yesterday and today the Bosveld crew went to work setting them and then the base boards of the roof, including plastic and a bit of tar paper. The weather was good and the gang amazingly efficient.

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In no time it all, it seemed, the roof was on, and a new look emerged inside. Exciting! And just in time for our latest challenge – another winter storm forecast for Sunday and Monday, with high winds part of the picture. We shall see if the “BBs” (Bosveld builders) put it all together firmly. ๐Ÿ™‚ (I have utmost confidence.)

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Speaking of challenges, we had one of another kind this week. There can be a “down side” to all the nice sunshine and fairer temps this time of year, especially for flat roofs after snow and ice have built up. Thursday at noon a small gusher erupted right over Sem. Matt K’s study carrel, barely missing his books and papers. So a certain fellow took time after lunch to climb up on the roof and get rid of the snow and ice so as to cut off the source of said dripping. It was over the library, after all, so I suppose the librarian should tend to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

And the good news is that the gusher stopped shortly thereafter, a fan set overnight dried up the wet carpeting, and Sem. Kortus returned to his own carrel today. O, and the roofing repair company came out today to find and fix the leaks! Thankful we are for all the folks in construction, new and old.

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Inside the seminary, we had another blessed week of instruction, learning, devotions, and fellowship. Sem. Josiah T. led us in devotions this week, and took us through Genesis 1. The singing was good, which led me to make this video – something about a group of men singing acappella.

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Finally, in a non-seminary-related matter but still connected to books and libraries, a friend sent me this link today to a very cool “little free library” in the beautiful town of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

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Here’s the first part of the story; read the rest here. And thanks, Matt M. for passing this on. He knows these stories really get me excited!

In the city of Coeur dโ€™Alene, Idaho, known to many as a sleepy lakefront resort town, a woman named Sharalee Armitage Howard has turned a dying 110-year-old black cottonwood tree into a magical library.

Stone steps lead up the sloped front yard to what remains of the tree. The 10-foot-tall trunk has a shingled roof that extends a little over the edges. A lantern-style lamp lights a row of tiny faux wooden books that make up the libraryโ€™s decorative dentil molding. The real books, however, are visible through a vintage window-turned-door. The door itself features hardware that looks like it would have been at home in Middle Earth.

Have a great weekend, wherever you are! And remember to take time to read. ๐Ÿ™‚

Of Ice Storms, Michigan Skiing, and Things Bookish

While this Friday quickly slips away, we can still get in a “Friday Fun” post, featuring things related to this week’s ice storms in West Michigan, some old skiing pictures in our great state (thanks to MLive), and some great book items from Book Patrol.

First, a few pictures of the fruits of the ice storms that hit us Wednesday and Thursday mornings of this week. Last week the Lord’s snow left a trail of beauty; this week it was His ice. Here are a few pictures from around the seminary property.

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The second item is also winter related. Today MLive news featured some vintage skiing pictures taken in various parts of our state, mostly in the north country, as you might guess. I love these old photos and give a few here. Find more at this news link.

And finally, Book Patrol has been having some great book-related posts lately, including this neat one featuring some new scroll books being published. Check these out at this link (here’s an example):

Another Michigan Winter Wonderland (Designed and Directed by Our Great God)

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It has been a wintry, blustery, snowy, and icy week here in West Michigan. From Monday through Thursday we were under a winter storm warning, with steadily plummeting temperatures and heavy, driving snow – first from the east and then from the west, as a northern “polar vortex” enveloped us and triggered our lake-effect “snow machine.

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Drift out the back door of seminary.

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Caps on the phone and power boxes on the side of seminary.

We estimate we had close to if not over two feet of snow (yes, that’s 24 inches!) – and that doesn’t include the drifts. You will see a series of pictures I took out the front door this week, as the snow accumulated. I trust you will see the progression. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Due to the snow and icy roads, as well as the below-zero temperatures (-15 F plus windchill!) our faculty cancelled two days of classes (Wednesday and Thursday). Which means we squeezed in two days – Tuesday and today (Friday). For those who may not remember this, Mondays are reserved for practice preaching and catechism instruction by our professors and students.

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Even the wild turkeys were thrown off on Wednesday, as the driving snow and bitter cold led them to roost in the trees by four in the afternoon already! Why they think going higher in a tree on a day like that is going to be warmer is beyond me. The Eskimos have it right: bury yourself in it to find shelter and warmth.

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Obviously, no work could be done on the seminary addition (archives and offices).

20190130_135751Personally, I think the snow adds to the cozy decor of this future office. ๐Ÿ™‚

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But is often the case, after a few wild days, the skies clear and the sun comes out, and God’s handiwork in this season of the year stands out with a brilliant glory.

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A beautiful Thursday morning greeted us, complete with a “sun dog” (formed by ice crystals in the air as the sun passes through them to create a unique rainbow).

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A few images of our backyard and deck.

We know the seasons and these storms are prepared and directed by our Lord’s sovereign providence, and when you see the design of the snow mounds and drifts after such events, you stand in awe of the God who alone can design and create such wintry wonders. He is the God of infinite greatness and glory, and we are so small, so helpless before His power (and cold!), and yet so dependent on that power. He humbles us, teaching us to trust Him as our Father and live out of His almighty hand and merciful heart.

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And in the midst of cold and snow, He gives us seasons of good food and warm fellowship, as we had at our special Friday lunch today. Among faculty, students, staff, and friends, Rev. Daniel and Sharon Kleyn joined us to talk about their life and work in the Philippines, especially the preparations being made for their own seminary. It was a blessed time.

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And some of the little lambs of our seminary family made their own fun and friendship.

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Published in: on February 1, 2019 at 9:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

The End of Another Seminary Semester (Dec. 2018), a New PRT Journal Issue, and Updated Addition Work Pics!

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(Today was the official beginning of the winter season (Dec.21), though it is not quite this wintery looking currently. This was taken during last year’s winter.)

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Today marked the last official day of the first semester at the PRC Seminary. It was exam week, and while no exams were actually held today (Friday), students had papers to finish and turn in today. And thus, another semester comes to a close.

Although, it may be noted that one specially blessed student still has a Hebrew grammar exam to take Christmas Eve morning. It seems a certain registrar forgot to put that on the schedule (which, in his [own flimsy] defense, was full at the time! [as if he couldn’t have moved things around if he had thought of it!]), and a certain Hebrew professor is now in Singapore, far from the very Singaporean student he taught! So now said registrar must administer the exam to the student Monday morning (as if the latter deserves to be “punished” for the miscue of the former!). No worries, as we say, all are happy and content. Or should we say, will be happy and content Monday around 11 AM. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The end of another semester is always a bit sobering. We stand amazed at how quickly 15 weeks of classes go by. And yet there was marvelous Reformed instruction given again by the faculty, and growth in grace and knowledge and gifts on the part of the students. Our two seniors (Jacob M. and Matt K.) were mostly absent from us (and yet they mysteriously seemed to appear in time for our “Friday brat/burger” lunch), busily engaged in the work of their internships, getting a taste of the “real” life and labors of a church pastor. It was obvious they loved the experience and are being made ready for the grand goal. Soon they will return for their final semester (where did those four years go?!). Humbling, all of it.

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Our new professor (D. Kuiper) is working quickly toward the goal of his advanced learning too, starting to write his main thesis for his ThM degree through Calvin Seminary. Next fall, Lord willing, he will begin teaching some of his courses.

sem-secr-sharonk-fall-2018-2.jpgA new secretary moved in mid-semester (Sharon K.), to take the place of our beloved Mrs. J. Doezema, who has only “retired” to less work (“just” the manifold denominational labors she is involved with, and the Standard Bearer). But grace was given to both ladies to take up and to carry on, and the transition has been as smooth as it could be. We praise God.

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We were also able to produce our 103rd PR Theological Journal – Volume 52, No.1 (Fall 2018). As you will see from the cover, it isย  another fine blend of Reformed scholarship and practical theology, with articles and book reviews to benefit preachers, teachers, students, and laymen. The pdf may be found here; the print copies came in today and will be mailed out or delivered next week. If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive the PRTJ (free!), contact the seminary at 616-531-1490 or seminarysecretary@prca.org.

God is good. His grace is abundant, and therefore amazing. We see His hand guiding us for good in all things, and we give humble thanks to Him for another semester. Remember us in prayer, even as we remember you.

I include here a few other pictures taken throughout the semester, with a few notes for each. Enjoy!

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We are blessed by many visitors during the semester, sometimes from faraway places, such as Singapore.

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Our final Friday lunch was delicious burgers from Sheldon Meats (Tim B., who keeps us well supplied – thank you, Tim and Kate!)

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Once again, I was personally blessed by the help of Kevin R. and Elijah R. in the library.

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Once again the sem (and pre-sem) student ping-pong team showed itself highly competitive, winning 50% of its games.

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And in the animal realm, a red fox made a rare appearance one night when our janitor was here. He was able to capture a quick shot of it for all of us to enjoy.

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Finally, we note that, while Pres. D. Trump is having trouble getting his border wall built, the new seminary addition’s walls made good progress this week, thanks to some mild weather and Bouwkamp Masonry. The new archives and offices are taking shape!

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Merry Christmas from all of us at the seminary! May the joy and peace of our sovereign Savior be yours in this season of the year.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

 

Latest Seminary Addition Work, Nov.27-Dec.4, 2018

Since last Tuesday’s report (Nov.26) much work has been done on the PRC seminary addition (new archives room and offices).

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After the footings and walls were poured and had time to cure, they were back-filled and then sand hauled in for the base to the floor.

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Then special footings were also poured in the floor for the interior walls, before the main floor was poured.

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The Bouwkamp masons followed this work and laid a single course of block on the newly poured wall, also in preparation for the pouring of the floor.

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Yesterday (Monday) being the mildest day of the work-week, the floor was poured! A larger crew of Bosveld workers participated and a critical part of the building was done!

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Time to smooth it out with power trowel and hand trowels – the finishing touches by Nate P. and Matt VO.

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The new concrete floor had to have blankets to keep it warm and help it cure in the Michigan cold!

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Today, Bosveld and Kuiper Excavating were back to work on the new fire lane and construction drive. A lot of dirt was moved, and recycled, crushed concrete was put down as a base.

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The new “road” to the west of the project will assist all the future construction and serve as a fire lane required by the city of Wyoming.

Again, thanks for the great work, men – and lady! (Did you spot the one gal in the pictures? Yes, Holly H. was “manning” the cement hose – not an easy task!

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And just for fun, Matt VO replaced one of the interiors doors that goes away with a foam one – with a little happy face on the inside. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Published in: on December 4, 2018 at 10:59 PM  Leave a Comment  

Friday Fun in Images: Seminary, Gardens, and Books

This first Friday in October is rapidly coming to an end, so before it does let’s have a little “Friday Fun” through images. Some of these are personal photos I have taken at home or at seminary.

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Among the regular visitors to seminary are wild turkeys who have a habit of pecking on the glass at the front door. We are a welcoming community, but we have our limits. Now, some will tell you that the turkeys at sem are not all outdoors, but we don’t need to get into that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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The deer around the area of seminary were very quiet for a few months in late summer. But of late they have returned to graze and play on our property.

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We’ve had a funny looking mum plant by the sign at the sem driveway entrance. Mrs. Judi Doezema thinks that the light at night under which it sits is making half of the plant think it is daylight all the time (so flower away!), while half of it is blocked from the light and that makes the other half think it need not flower just yet.20180914_125417

Yes, indeed, ping-pong has returned to the “extra-curricular” activities at seminary. Some “rookies” are getting initiated (“schooled”?) by our Singaporean students, who play a fairly mean game (but with a gracious spirit!). That’s Matt Kortus and Elijah Roberts playing Marcus Wee and Josiah Tan (a little hidden).

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And then there are the musically interested ones, who gather around the piano for a new song to play and/or sing (That’s Josiah Tan and Jacob Maatman).

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And, with the flower and vegetable gardens winding down, we share a few images of their rapidly fading glory (but still amazing glory!).

 

And, finally, from time to time, people will send me images of things related to books and reading, which I always appreciate. Sometimes they are humorous, sometimes serious, and sometimes just really creative (the above ones are from the 2018 Home Show in Grand Rapids;

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A Boston bookstore in an alley, seen on vacation this summer by a friend

but they always carry a good message about the place books and reading (and libraries!) have (and should have!) in our lives.

 

Thanks to all who have sent me these things over the last months! Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on October 5, 2018 at 10:19 PM  Leave a Comment  

What’s New at the PRC Seminary? A Summer’s Collection of Pictures

It has been a while since we posted anything specific about the activities at the PRC Seminary – virtually a whole summer! – so before summer passes and so you know there was and is plenty going on, we post a part of my personal collection of pictures over the past summer.

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Of course, we welcomed some new deer members to the property – 3 new fawns we counted (this is a Google enhanced photo, splicing two images together) – always a treat.

Skip’s Painting came in again to repaint another section of the main floor and then give the main part of the lower level a makeover too – looking so much better!

I also did some basement cleanup and reorganization this summer – much-needed! Now some of the special files from the Letis collection and from other special libraries we have purchased are becoming more accessible.

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We had the carpets cleaned by Zandstra, as we do every August – thanks for another great job!

Of course, I had time to shop for books too, including Baker Book House’s annual tent sale (I went twice that week!) – a lot of great $1 books and other bargains for the seminary library!

We enjoyed our first Friday brat/burger lunch the first week of school, and had a nice group (some of the wives and children came too).

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We marked our new year with our annual Convocation this past Wednesday night (for more on this visit this PRC webpage.)

And tonight we held our annual Fall Seminary picnic at Hagar Park in Jenison, MI. It was a good night of great food (thanks, ladies!), wonderful fellowship, and stiff yard-game competition. I think we will all sleep well tonight. Not sure who is more tired, the kids or the adults. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Thank you for all your support and prayers! Remember us as we busy ourselves in the work this Fall.

Published in: on September 7, 2018 at 10:03 PM  Leave a Comment  

Miscellaneous Winter-time Meanderings

On this Friday, we post a little fun in photos for our readers, which we will call miscellaneous meanderings, because I have a collection of miscellaneous pictures that I have taken this winter while meandering here and there. So, join me as we move about randomly, enjoying this, that, and the next thing. At least I did ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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Of course, we have to show some pictures of our seminary animal friends! This was taken during our January thaw.

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And then we got hit some with some major snow again.

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With several grandsons involved in winter basketball, we took in a few of their games. Future CCHS Chargers are they.

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And we have seen the current CCHS Chargers play a few games too – including last week at Calvinย  College against South Christian. A certain quartet was privileged to do the national anthem. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Last night we took in Heritage CS’s “Fine Arts” night, which included this fine piece by our granddaughter, Laelle – a budding artist.

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And Mr. Dan Van Dyke’s room included awesome book summaries in poster form. Yes, I was pretty excited about these!

Speaking of books, here are a few miscellaneous items related to such real, printed-on-paper things:

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A book snowman made at Herrick Library in Holland, MI (thanks to Bob Drnek for the photo!)

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A few more bookplates from books in the Letis collection found in the Seminary library.

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And a few examples of title pages with wonderful publisher ensigns – a distinguishing mark of publishers in the past, and still today, though not as elaborate as these.

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And how could we forget on such days that we do still have our Friday grilled burger/brat lunches. Tim Bleyenberg at Sheldon Meats is our supplier. Once you’ve had his meats, you will not need to go elsewhere. The best!

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Have a wonderful weekend!

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 8:19 PM  Leave a Comment