The 1950 PR Young People’s Convention and 25th Anniversary PRC Field Day

Last week several old issues of the Beacon Lights, the magazine “for Protestant Reformed Youth” were put away in the PRC archives. Bob Drnek  brought a few of them into my office because two of these were PR Young People Convention issues (1950 and 1968) and had some good pictures in them.

So I scanned a few pages from the August, 1950 “BL”, since this also included a report on the PRC Field Day held in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of our denomination – an event that drew 2700 to Spring Grove in Jamestown! We post these today, though some of the pictures are quite dark. But I hope you will recognize a few folks and enjoy another ride down “memory lane” – at least for some of you, since others of us didn’t come along until 1958!

Come along! Here we go! [As always, you may click on the picture to enlarge it.]

1950 BL Cover_Page_1


1950 Fed Board_Page_1

1950 PRYPs Conv-2nd PRC_0005_Page_1

1950 PRYPs Conv-2nd PRC_0006_Page_1

1950 PRYPs Conv-2nd PRC_0001_Page_1

1950 PRYPs Conv-2nd PRC_0002_Page_1

1950 PRYPs Conv-2nd PRC_0003_Page_1

1950 PRYPs Conv-2nd PRC_0004_Page_1

Special Seminary Guests: Heritage CS 4th Graders (Group 1)

This morning the Seminary was privileged to host the 4th grade class of Ms. Elizabeth Van Drunen from Heritage Christian School (Hudsonville, MI). We have had these special guests for some years now, and we are always grateful for the interest the 4th grade teachers take in the Seminary (next week Wednesday Mrs. J.Woudenberg’s class comes!) and for the excitement of these nine-year-olds as they enter the building.

I have taken some pictures again and share them with you here. Prof.Gritters introduced the work of the Seminary to the class and then gave them the tour. Following that, they enjoyed with us the snacks they had taken along for coffee time. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.













Once again, we say, Thanks for coming, 4th graders and Ms.Van Drunen! We are truly thankful for your interest in and support of our Seminary by means of this visit. And we hope that some of you boys will start thinking about whether God is calling you to the highest calling on earth (beside that of mother – and that’s for you girls!) – minister of the Word. It’s never too early to start thinking about this. :)


PRC Archives: Snapshots of the Second YP’s Convention, 1940

Today for our PRC archives post, I am going to keep my comments to a minimum and let the pictures (and their accompanying words) do the talking.

These six (6) images are scanned from the 1940 PR Young People’s Convention booklet (second annual!), sponsored by and held at First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI from August 21-22, under the theme “Christian Attitudes.”

Enjoy! And note how different these early conventions were from those held now. Need I point out they didn’t have (need?) all the “fun”! Speeches and discussion were the focus. Plus, I have thought for some time that those debates ought to be revived. As usual, click on the images to enlarge them.

1940 PRYPs Conv-1_Page_1

1940 PRYPs Conv-2_Page_1

1940 PRYPs Conv-3_Page_1

1940 PRYPs Conv-4_Page_1

1940 PRYPs Conv-5_Page_1

1940 PRYPs Conv-6_Page_1

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.


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