PRC Archives – Unidentified Photo with Rev.M. Schipper

Yes, indeed, it is time to try another mystery photo for our PRC archive feature. Only this time, I too am mystified by this mysterious photo out of the photo cabinet.

We have a folder in that cabinet marked “unidentified photos”, and this is one of them. Now, it seems to be of some PRC Consistory, and one of the men is clearly a minister (front and center) – and he is not mysterious. We can identify him as Rev. Marinus Schipper – in his younger years, perhaps even in his first congregation.

But I would love to have my readers help me identify the rest of the men. Two of them look quite familiar, so I am hoping you can identify them. And, along with that, of course, the church that is represented here. Through the link I gave you, which includes the churches Rev.Schipper pastored, we can at least narrow down the Consistory – must have been a smaller church (Grand Haven, MI?).

If you can provide me some names and a church, I would be most pleased. Thank you in advance!


A Significant First PRC-GR Bulletin – August 30, 1964

For our PRC archives item today we publish a bulletin from First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI, dated August 30, 1964. An inconspicuous date, you may think – until you read the notices and see what was happening in this historic PRC, especially as regards her crippled pastor, Rev. Herman Hoeksema.

Here you will find from his own pen, a significant pastoral note to the congregation informing them of his condition following his second stroke. This would mark the beginning of the end of his earthly sojourn.

Below is the front cover of the bulletin as it appeared in those days, and the inside pages with its various announcements – other significant ones too (click on the images to enlarge). Reminding us on this date of July 23, 2015 that the life of God’s people – pastors too – is one of affliction and hope – for we are all pilgrims and strangers in this world.


PRC Archives: Introducing Fourth PRC, Grand Rapids, MI

A week ago we gave you a mystery photo of one of the PRC congregations off the cover of one of its bulletins (dated July 17, 1955). Below is now a scanned copy of the full cover and back of the bulletin with the rest of its information (click on it to enlarge).

4thPRC Bulletin-July-1955_Page_1

As you might guess, there was considerable interest in this photo and church, since it looked so “new” to many of us – including myself! And some of you really went to work attempting to find out what building this was and why you were not familiar with it – and also, what happened to it, since we know it is no longer a place of worship among us.

If you have read the comments on this post (the fine print at the bottom of the post), then you may know that some correctly identified it as Fourth PRC, located at 1436 Kalmazoo Ave, SE, in Grand Rapids, MI.

The reason why so much of my generation and younger do not know this building is because it was lost in the schism of 1953, with members loyal to the PRC eventually becoming SE PRC, the congregation we know to this day. The congregation of Fourth, which followed Rev.H.DeWolf, kept the building, and then were absorbed into the CRC in 1961 when the church became Faith CRC. That congregation disbanded in 1978 and the building is now occupied by Faith Temple Church of God in Christ.

I wish to thank those of you who left comments and others who sent me emails about it. The Noormans from Faith PRC (now) have roots in that congregation, as you will see from Dorothy’s comment. Especially I thank Terry Dykstra for his persistent research on Fourth PRC, some of which I have included here. And for the pictures which he sent me of the building as it still looks today – in very fine condition.


I told a few of you that I would love to stop and tour this building – even rummage around to see if there are any PRC remnants left there yet – as archivists/historians are prone to do! Who knows, I may get brave yet and head over there before the summer is out. I think I may have some interested tag-alongs. 🙂

PRC Archives: Mystery Church Bulletin

For this Thursday – PRC archive day! – we post a bulletin recently found in some materials we are sorting.

I have edited the cover, removing the name and information of this PRC, but left you the image of the impressive structure. I have to admit I did a “double take” when I saw it, wondering if I was reading the cover correctly. But I have confirmed from those who know that this was indeed one of our PRCs (I SO want to give you a hint here, but I will refrain.).


I have also scanned the inside and present that to you intact. The announcements and names in the bulletin will be your hints. You will recognize some of them. Now you just need to make the proper association.


Have fun with this one! I will eagerly anticipate your replies. 🙂

PRC Archives – 1968 PRYP’s Convention

Today for our PRC archives feature we post some items relating to the 1968 PR Young People’s Convention. They all are found in the August-September issue of the Beacon Lights, our PRYP’s magazine, which you may also find on their website. This was the annual convention issue, which included reports on the convention, the printed speeches, and a few pictures – all focused on the theme – “How Great Thou Art.”

Who was the host of this ’68 Convention? Where was it held? What events and activities took place? Who were the speakers? All those questions, and more, are answered below, so keep reading and viewing!

I have scanned five (5) items from this issue, beginning with the cover. Enjoy! And be on the lookout for some familiar faces! Click on any of the images to enlarge them.

Aug-Sept-1968-BL Cover_Page_1

1968 BL YPsConv Report-DL_Page_1

BL Fed Board Pics-1968_Page_1

BL 1968 YPsConv Pics-1_Page_1

BL 1968 YPsConv Pics-2_Page_1

PRC Archives: The First PR Theological Journal

Thinking about the publication of the latest issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal (see my previous post), made me think about the initial edition of the PRTJ. When do you think this Seminary periodical began?

If you pay attention to the volume numbers, you will note that the April 2015 issue is part of volume 48. And working backwards in years, that means that the first PRTJ was published in 1967. So, for our PRC archives feature today, Volume 1, No.1 is the item on display!


You will find this complete issue on the Seminary’s website under the “Journal tab” (r-h side), but I also made the first three pages into images, which I post here. These include the initial cover (above – the entire issue was published in syllabus form – 8.5 x 11 size pages), the introductory note by the editor (below), and the table of contents (Alas, there were no book reviews in that first issue. But many would come in time. 🙂 )



I also thought you might like to see the progression in covers and design over the years. There were basically four styles – the one you see here; the one on the previous post (since vol.38, Nov., 2006 this has been the latest look); and then these two styles from the 1980 and 1990s.

PRTJ Covers-1986 & 1998_Page_1

If you are not a subscriber of the PRTJ, and would like to become one (whether the print edition or the digital version), let us know! You may contact the editor (Prof.R.Cammenga) or our Seminary secretary (their email addresses may be found on the Seminary’s website.). The price is right (free, because it is generously supported by the PRC membership!) and the content is always edifying and stimulating. It is truly a unique Reformed Journal in the church world.

April 3, 1956 – The Great Hudsonville/Standale Tornado

April 3, 1956 – Hudsonville/Standale Tornado | Blogs.

Today marks the 59th anniversary of the deadly F5 tornado that struck West Michigan – especially Hudsonville and Standale – killing 17 people and leaving widespread damage.

Local Wood-TV Meteriologist Bill Steffen referenced this historic event on his weather blog today (linked above), providing a brief summary of it and posting some links of interest. I include his opening sentences and then give you two videos available on this tornado.

Today, April 3rd, 2014, is the anniversary of the strongest tornado ever to hit the state of Michigan. The strongest wind on the surface of Earth in 1956 was on Van Buren Street in Hudsonville, Michigan on April 3, 1956. There were 17 fatalities (13 in Hudsonville) and 340 were injured.

I recall being told about this terrible storm as a youngster (I was born two years after it). The lake across from which we lived for a time (Fennessy) was virtually filled with dirt and debris (still great for bass fishing though!); and the home my parents live in now, which was being framed at the time, was twisted on its foundation.

I also remember hearing about the sermon Rev.Gerrit Vos preached in Hudsonville PRC after the event, which became a meditation on Psalm 46, later published in the Standard Bearer (April 15, 1956). If you have wondered about the context of this unique meditation, now you know.

Here is the opening text of that message – powerful exposition of God’s Word and well worth your reading in its entirely (just follow the above link).

“Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.”

Ps. 46:8, 10, 11

Our village received a very special visit by the Lord Christ.

It was a visit of the majesty on high.

What we really received is a little foretaste of the end of the world.

Some of us went to heaven in the process of that visit. Others are in the hospital because of that visit. Some of us had a brush with death. All of us were deeply impressed by that visit.

God came to us, and He roared: I have never yet heard a voice such as we heard around supper time, Tuesday evening, April 3, 1956. It sounded as though a thousand express trains were traversing the sky.

His footsteps were seen; He walked from the southwest to the northeast, skirting our village: everyone was aware of His august presence.

And we were afraid: many cowered in the basement of their homes, while God ravaged their properties (?). He flung houses and barns far and wide. Such debris was mixed with black muck and the dust of the earth. He snuffed out the lives of some of us, broke the bones and the flesh of others: they were left moaning in His wake.

Oh yes, no one can dispute it: God walked among us; His Christ paid us a special visit; He left desolation, death, pain and misery.

But also awe, the awe of the childlike fear of Jehovah.

One man said: My Jehovah was beautiful in His raging! And that man lost half of his worldly goods, and his life was in jeopardy.

Yes, I have seen Him too.

His pathway through Hudsonville was about 3 or 4 city blocks from my dwelling.


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

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

PRC Archives – The Reformed Witness of NW Iowa & MN

The Protestant Reformed Churches in America have a long history of local evangelism and “church extension” work performed by the congregations (besides her denominational mission work), much of it involving the use of printed materials – sermons, radio messages, pamphlets, and brochures.

The PRC also love the name “Reformed Witness”, with at least four ministries bearing this name, including our well-known radio program, The Reformed Witness Hour.

RefdWitness-1960s Ed-HHanko-1

Yesterday, while processing a few items that had come in from Harold Schipper (through his son-in-law Bob Ensink), archive assistant Bob Drnek discovered a few old pamphlets (1960s) produced by “The Reformed Witness” of NW Iowa (with “committee” added to that name to give you the group responsible for the evangelism work) – a cooperative effort of the NW Iowa PRCs and Edgerton, MN PRC – and still active in that ministry, I might add.

Refd Witness Bible Quiz-1_Page_1

I scanned two of these older issues, so that you can see the progression in style (click on them to enlarge). Both contain articles written by Rev.Herman Hanko (You will see the titles from the covers). Yes, I said, REV. H.Hanko, not Professor, for Rev.H.Hanko was minister of Doon PRC at the time of their writing. Which places the pamphlets between 1963 and 1965, the years he was Doon’s pastor. It was in 1965 that he accepted the call to serve as professor in our Seminary, a position he held until his retirement in 2001.

But then, much to my surprise, when I opened up the one edition (the one on “Evolutionism”), there was a Bible Quiz inside! So, there we have a “Friday Fun” item too – a day early!

I cut and pasted the quiz so that it would be on one page. You and/or your family can be challenged by that this weekend. I would be interested in your “score” (“excellent, good, or fair”?!). Click on the image to open it separately, and then right click on it to print it. Enjoy!

Refd Witness Bible Quiz-2_Page_1