Respecting and Learning from the Aged Members of Christ’s Flock – Mrs.M.Laning

The February 1, 2015 issue of the Standard Bearer has been published and is arriving in the mail. Ours came this past Saturday, and today I would like to begin this month by highlighting a few articles in this issue.


I might start by saying that there is a fine variety of edifying content in this “SB” – see the image of the front cover here for details (click to enlarge); but one article that I call your special attention to in this post is that penned by Mrs. Margaret Laning (wife of Rev.James Laning, Hull IA PRC). She is a contributor to the rubric “When Thou Sittest in Thine House”, and this time she has written a wonderful piece about the value of the elderly saints in the church, and how the younger members – especially teenagers – would benefit from paying attention to them.

Here is one such paragraph of sound advice from her article “Renewed in Old Age”:

The younger will greatly benefit from the older saints’ wisdom. Many years have they prayerfully studied God’s Word and applied its principles to everyday life. The older saints have experience. By God’s grace they have learned from toil and sweat, from relationships, from good decisions and bad, from the grief of sin and the ‘hard knocks’ that follow, and from the liberating path of repentance. They are skilled problem-solvers and graced with contentment with the unsolvable, trusting in the Lord’s perfect will. It is good to bring this out to our children: listen to the older saints and learn. Put away your texting and entertainment, and fellowship with them. Show them your love, respect, and express why they are valuable to you (209).

I believe there’s wisdom in that advice, don’t you, young people? When was the last time you stopped to greet and talk with an older member of your congregation after the service? Did you ever go with your friends to a nursing home and visit with a widow or widower? Have you made an effort to spend time with your own grandparents lately?

These are things for all of us in the church to think about. I know Mrs. Laning’s article made me think about my own attention to the aged saints in my church. Do we really count them valuable? Then let’s show them.

PRC Archives – 36th Annual YP’s Convention

For our PRC Archive item this week we feature some pages from the 36th annual PR Young People’s Convention booklet – a duplicate of which was discovered in the archives yesterday while continuing to sort through Rev.G.Van Baren’s material.

1976 PRYPs Conv - Booklet Cover_Page_1

This a familiar convention to me (and will be to many of you!), because it was held in 1976 – the year my wife and I graduated from high school – and was hosted by Southwest PRC (Wyoming, MI), who planned a wonderful few days (Aug.24-27) at Camp Geneva in Holland, MI.

1976 PRYPs Conv-inside-3_Page_1

I hate torturing fellow church members and former classmates with old pictures, but reality is what it is. Yes, this convention is only one year away from being 40 years ago! So, my apologies for the “70s” look. But we thought it was cool back then, right? (And Mr.Jim Schipper? He hits it out of the park with his plaids and abbreviated tie! :) Enjoy! And if you have memories to share, feel free to leave a comment.

1976 PRYPs Conv-inside pics-1_Page_1


And this last photo, well, let’s just say it’s “priceless”!1976 PRYPs Conv-inside-2_Page_1


O, one more thing that I could not help noticing and calling attention to: the opening speech by Rev.Herman Veldman was titled “Shining in Our Reading and Speaking.” Yes, in our reading! Are we?

Emerson, Scripture, and Our Permissive Society

Markings on long journey-TimmermanContinuing my readings in the collection of John J. Timmerman’s writings titled Markings on a Long Journey (Baker, 1982), I came across this good commentary in connection with an article Timmerman wrote for The Banner back in October of 1970. 
The article is titled “Emerson and Our Permissive Society” and treats the permissive youth culture that was becoming rampant in his day and that has only continued into our own day.
Timmerman first describes how Ralph W.Emerson’s philosophy (along with Henry D. Thoreau, leading 19th century Transcendentalists) influenced his own generation and subsequent ones, including our own:
‘What have I to do with the sacredness of traditions if I live wholly from within? ..No law can be sacred to me but that of my own nature. The only right is what is after my constitution. The highest revelation of God is in every man. Make your own Bible.’
Concerning which he states: “This is the ultimate permissiveness. Trust your own instincts, trust only your own conscience, and make your own Bible” (160).
But then Timmerman ends with what must be our only standard and guide in answering to a society gone utterly permissive, a standard that will alone help our youth conquer this “Emersonian individualism in which each man does his own thing as seems right in his own eyes. …We have to transcend personal conscience; we must find an objective law to which young and old can submit, a set of sanctions which we find in Scripture.”
And from there he adds these significant words:
The cogency of this answer will depend upon the value we place upon Scripture and the way we interpret it. If the Bible is a book whose historical accuracy has to be established by extra-biblical documents, if we have to find its meaning through highly sophisticated mythological approaches, if we see in the biblical stories recurrent archetypes, symbols or images whose origins lie in a shadowy evolutionary past – then we are, it seems to me, destroying the uniqueness of the book. If we disregard the testimony of traditional Christian experience as it has been illuminated by the Spirit through generations of Christians, if the main lines of scriptural truth are no longer plain over the ages and have to be reinterpreted by each generation, we will wonder just how valid our temporary interpretations are. I do not that my grandmother, who was a life-long reader of the Bible, or that my father, who was a gifted student of the Bible, came to basic convictions about the creation of Adam and Eve, redemption, grace, and Christian duties without the guidance of the Spirit. If basic interpretations have constantly to be changed instead of being rooted in the past and developed in conformity with it instead of repudiation of it, then Emerson was right when he said, ‘God speaks,’, not spoke once for all (161-62).

PRC Archives – The 1970 PRYP’s Convention Hosted by Hudsonville PRC

Last week I hinted that I may do a follow-up to that post that featured a photo of a 1970s PR Young People’s Convention group. Today is that follow-up. I was able to find in the PRC archives the convention booklet that matched this group photo and do I have some great items for you!

1970 PTYPs Conv Booklet - Huds PRC sketch_Page_1

For those who may not have read the comments, this YP’s Convention was hosted by Hudsonville PRC in 1970, and the group picture was indeed taken in Unity Christian High gym. Keep in mind that Hudsonville PRC was still in its old building on School St. (The above sketch of it was done by Lil Lubbers. This building sat kiddie corner from where Trinity PRC now is.) and that Unity Christian High was near at hand (Covenant CHS did not yet have its own gym).

1970 PRYPs Conv Booklet-cover_Page_1

Now, when I pulled out the convention booklet for this year, it was immediately evident that this was indeed the outset of the 1970s – a decade that followed the tumultuous ’60s here in the U.S. The young people from Hudsonville PRC chose the convention theme carefully, with their eye on the age in which they were living – but also on the young people they were called to be in this age by their Savior and Lord. The theme was “Strangers in a Strange Land”, based on 1 Chron.29:15. When you see the cover here (designed by Rachel Lubbers), you will understand what I mean. Not an easy age in which to live. But they had their Reformed worldview in order. And the grace of God to strengthen and sustain them.

You really ought to see (as best we can!) and know the people who hosted this convention, so this page from the booklet gives you the Junior and Senior societies, along with their noble leaders. Fine-looking lasses and lads, don’t you think? Or maybe it’s a good thing for you that the pictures are as grainy as they are! :)

1970 PRYPs Conv Booklet - Hosts & welcome_Page_1

And who were the speakers and their topics, and what were some of the activities the young people participated in? This page from the booklet will help answer that. Looks like some fun stuff! Bring back memories for some of you?

1970 PRYPs Conv Booklet - Day Schedule_Page_1

Perhaps somewhat unique is the fact that this YP’s Convention ran from Wednesday to Monday that year (August 19-24). On Monday, according to the schedule, the young people spent that day at Tunnel Park in Holland, with the banquet and speech held that night (Rev.D.Engelsma was the speaker). Now, where was that banquet held? Help with that one, please!

PRC Archives – 197? PRYP’s Convention Photo

Fresh from the hands of a local PRC member (last week) comes this gift to the PRC archives – a photo of the 197? PR Young People’s Convention!

I’m excited about this one, because it’s a little closer to my generation, and I think many of you will be able to identify with it. Plenty of familiar faces here – if you can get close enough. Click on the image to enlarge and then use the control-plus buttons to bring it even closer (although it gets grainier).

The questions are:

  • Where is this picture taken?
  • Who hosted this convention?
  • What other details can you provide for the benefit of us all?
  • Spot any PRC ministers here? Name them.
  • And, of course, what is the precise year in the 70s that this convention took place?

In the meantime, I will see if I can drum up the convention booklet for this year in time for you next week. Have fun! Might be torture for some of you former conventioneers, but pictures don’t lie!

PRC Archives – New YP’s Convention Picture – 1951

Last week we received a 1951 PRC Young People’s Convention group picture from Gord Van Overloop of Hudsonville PRC (through his son, Pastor Ron VO), and after checking the archives, I discovered we did not have this group photo as yet. We did have a folder with loose pictures from that year’s convention but not a picture of the entire group. So, now we do – thank you, Gord – and Rev.Van Overloop!

1951 YP's Conv - Pt_Page_1

Because it is a panoramic photo, I had to scan it in three parts, which I present to you today (There may be a little overlap, therefore.). It is a fairly clean and clear photo, and it contains many familiar faces. While the year and location (host society) are not a mystery – as you will see from the picture, some of these people will be to you. I am thinking that my generation may find their parents here and that current young people may be able to see grandpa and grandma. Have fun looking! :) Be sure to click on the picture to see the enlarged version.

1951 YP's Conv - Pt_Page_1

But there are other details that we would like to know – where were all these people lodged? What activities were they involved in that week – and where? And what ministers spoke, and on what topics? Help us out here by leaving comments in the comment section. Thank you in advance!

1951 YP's Conv - Pt_Page_1


Our Covenantal Holy War – Rev.B.Huizinga

RomanStandardbearerRev.Brian Huizinga has some great thoughts for us Christian soldiers (young and old!) in his latest installment for the rubric “Strength of Youth”, under which he is writing a series on teaching young people to wage godly warfare in the kingdom of God in this world.

We find these thoughts under a sub-heading describing our “holy war” as covenantal:

To emphasize the positive of the foregoing assertion, our warfare is covenantal. ‘Our holy war’ is the war we wage as members of God’s covenant joined together in the Spirit (I Cor.12). In catechism class one is not taught to identify himself as the individual militant, but part of the church militant. We war as those eternally chosen and made members of one body that from the beginning to the end of the world is gathered, defended, and preserved by Christ’s Word and Spirit. To fight in this war against every appearance of the kingdom of darkness led by Satan is to join with the church of all ages from Adam and Abel to you and me.

A necessary and significant implication of this covenantal aspect of our warfare is the necessity of membership in the church institute, the visible manifestation of that universal, invisible body. A soldier might claim he has enlisted in and fights on behalf of his national army. He may even wear a uniform. But if he has never joined the visible manifestation of that army at camp and on the battlefield, his speech betrays him. In our holy war. young people make church membership a priority in their life, joining the covenantal assembly.

October 1, 2014 issue of The Standard Bearer (Vol.91, No.1), 20.

Reading Parents and Ready (Seminary) Sons

As you may know, the Beacon Lights magazine (for PR Young People – and adults!) is currently doing a series of articles from our ministers (mainly our newer and younger ones) under the title “Called to the Ministry”. But did you know that such articles were also written in the past in the “BL”?

Rev_KorteringWhile continuing to sort through Rev.Gise Van Baren’s folders for the PRC archives yesterday, we found an old “BL” article (Vol.36, #9 – January, 1978) with the title “Called to the Ministry” written by Rev. Jason Kortering (pastor of Hope PRC, Redlands, CA at the time and now an emeritus minister in the PRC). In it he tells his story of how he was led into the ministry.

And what struck me was what he said not only about how his godly parents encouraged him and prayed for him with regard to the ministry, but also and especially how the enthusiastic reading of his father served as a powerful example and impetus for him to enter the ministry of the Word.

Here are a couple of portions from the article, the full version of which you may find here. I pray that this will inspire other godly fathers to show such zeal for the truth by reading, that it would spur your sons to consider the call to the ministry. Fathers and mothers, may you see what fruit your godly reading may have by the purpose and providence of God.

After a ten year absence they (Rev.Kortering’s parents) finally moved to Holland, Michigan and there settled down. The Lord provided a job at the Artic (sic) Ice Cream Co. While working there he met a fellow employee who was full of heavenly zeal. She had read a copy of the Standard Bearer and was impressed and wanted my father to read it. This initial contact with Revs. Hoeksema and Ophoff started my father to think and read. He purchased a subscription to the Standard Bearer and read all the literature he could get his hands on. It fell like water from heaven upon his parched soul.

…Seeing the truth was like a conversion experience for my father. He saw for the first time the real meaning of the sovereignty of God. It was more than a doctrine, it was a way of life! God owned everything and required obedience in all areas of life. This became the governing principle of his life: God was sovereign, grace was absolute. He couldn’t read enough and he was always reading. He sent to England for sovereign grace material. It came by the crates full. He sorted it out, saving the good Reformed material, burning the rest.

Through it all my father had one inner desire, that the Lord would call his son to the ministry. He could envision nothing more glorious than seeing his own son preach the gospel of the sovereign God….

If there ever is an example of a minister being influenced by parents to enter the ministry, it is in my life. Both parents earnestly desired this, encouraged me to study for it, prayed about it.

The Lord used my parents, especially my father, as the means to confront me with the serious consideration to become a minister.

…May the accounting of this remind us that God does use parents in influencing their children. It was not of them, it was of God. His will prevailed.

For that I give Him thanks.

The 1955 PRYP’s Convention – Hudsonville PRC

Last week for our PRC archives post we solved the mystery of the PR hitchhiker, who, it turns out, was advertising for the PR Young People’s Convention to be hosted by Hudsonville PRC that year. We stated at that time that we would return to this YP’s Convention, and, without knowing what was ahead for me, I am glad I said I would look up some things from that convention.

Not only did I find the convention booklet in the archives; I also found a folder full of pictures taken by that special PRC photographer, Seymour Beiboer. And what a treat!

There is so much here, but I will limit my comments and try to let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy! As always, click on the pictures to enlarge them.

First, a couple of pages from the Convention booklet:

15th Annual YPs Conv -Booklet 1955-1_Page_1

And now some photos from the Beiboer collection. First, the host church, outside and in.

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 1_Page_1


The Convention speakers – can you identify them ALL? How about the theme they were working with?

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 2_Page_1


Now, watch especially for PRC ministers – and future ones! –  as there are plenty! O, and do you see where the banquet was held? It was not a PR church at the time, but it is now! What was it known as then and which is it now? Can you figure out who the two young men are here?

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 3_Page_1
1955 YPs Conv Pics - 4
1955 YPs Conv Pics - 5

And now, what kind of activities did the young people do then? Well, volleyball, of course! And horse shoes! and shuffle board!

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 7
1955 YPs Conv Pics - 8
1955 YPs Conv Pics - 9


And this final set includes a special shot of another PRC minister who seemed to be enjoying himself immensely (who is it this time?) – and a mystery photo of a stop for ice cream (I presume) – at Letchford’s Trading Post – while on an outing. A quick search on that name yielded nothing, so how about some help with this place?!

1955 YPs Conv Pics - 6_Page_1


PRC Archives: Our Mysterious Hitchhiker!

Last week for our PRC archives feature we ran a photo of a mysterious hitchhiker who graced the cover of …, yes the Beacon Lights! Specifically, the May 1955 issue. And what purpose did this picture serve? To promote the PR Young People’s Convention to be held that summer. Here’s the cover as it appeared in this issue:

BL-May 1955 - front cover_Page_1

You will notice that the words with the picture are: “Where is He Going?” Indeed, where is this hitchhiker headed? What is his destination? The BL cover also points us to the back cover, where we find the mysterious destination revealed: Hudsonville, MI! That’s right! The 15th annual P.R.Y.P. Convention held August 14-16 was hosted by Hudsonville PRC. Here is the information that was on that back cover:

BL-May 1955 - back cover_Page_1

But now, back to this mysterious young man hitchhiking along some West Michigan road. I assumed this was some kind of stock photo when I first saw it. But, it turns out that this young man was a PRC youth – Pete Meulenberg – whom some of you recognized right away! As did Don and Judi D here at Sem when I showed it to them last week.

And after I posted this, I had a confession from a former BL staff member who emailed me with some more details. Not only did the idea come from BL business manager Don Faber, but he also took the actual picture! Good stuff – quite effective in serving to call attention to and encourage attendance at the YP’s Convention that year, don’t you agree?.

So, now how about some memories of that ’55 convention. Where were the speeches held? How about the activities that were planned? I can imagine a day at Lake Michigan! What do you remember or can you find out? Start browsing those old BL issues!

Until next time I will be too! :) And we can look forward to some more pages and pics from that convention booklet.

Published in: on July 3, 2014 at 1:55 PM  Leave a Comment  

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