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Seminary October 2014 Update

Sem front Fall 2009The PRC Seminary has now entered its third month since classes began anew, and a few news items may be mentioned to keep you updated. Fall is definitely in the air here in West Michigan as temperatures have fallen into the 50s and 60s and the trees have begun to turn. We have plenty of beauty to behold right around us, as you can see.

First, we wish to congratulate our 2014 graduate (Rev.) Joshua Engelsma on his successful examination at the meeting of Classis West on Sept.24 and his subsequent ordination and installation into the office of the ministry of the Word in Doon, IA PRC on Oct.3. With humble thanksgiving to our faithful God and Father we share in the joy of this occasion and pray that the Lord may give him a rich and fruitful ministry in our churches.

Second, senior Sem. Ryan Barnhill continues to experience the rich benefits of his internship in Edgerton (MN) PRC, where he is already over half-way through this program. From his own testimony, he is enjoying and growing from the full range of pastoral experiences under his mentor Rev.Doug Kuiper. Lord willing, he will rejoin Seminary for his second semester in January of 2015.

Third, the nine second year students are busy with their classes and course work (Hebrew reading, NT Exegesis, Dogmatics, Church history, Catechetics, and Church polity). But, most significantly, their first round of practice preaching begins this week, with three Seminarians delivering their first "real" sermons today and Wednesday. This is, of course, the heart of their preparation for the ministry of the Word, so remember to pray for them and our professors as they go through this process. This makes for a rather busy - and nervous! - time for them.

Lastly, besides their busy teaching and preaching (weekly!) schedules, our professors have plenty of "extra" work they do and will be doing in the churches, especially this month and next. On Sept.23 they participated in a special Classis West conference on preaching, which the students also attended. And with this being Reformation commemoration season, all three professors will be giving lectures in churches nearby and far away. Here is a list of those:

Seminary Convocation 2014

BGritters-2014ConvocThe PRC Seminary Convocation, marking the beginning of the new season of instruction, was held Wednesday, September 17, in Grandville PR Church, at 7:30 P.M.

Prof. B.Gritters gave the interesting and inspiring speech on “Who Trains the Churches’ Preachers?” The men's group, Hope Heralds, provided the special number. This year's students were also introduced (see picture below).

The program was also live-streamed through Grandville PRC's website (with a total of 52 tuning in at one point!). When the audio and video are available, you will be notified here.

We thank those who attended the program and showed their support for our Seminary, the faculty and students in this way! Remember to "pray for us."

 

Picture below - Student introductions. From left to right: Prof.R.Dykstra, Rector. Students (all sophomores): Justin Smidstra, Stephan Regnerus, Nathan Price, David Noorman, Aaron Lim, Jon Langerak, Joe Holstege, Brian Feenstra, Matt DeBoer

Semconvoc-2014-Rector  Students

A New Seminary Year Begins

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Back row (L-R): Profs.R.Dykstra, R.Cammenga, B.Gritters; Sems. David Noorman, Justin Smidstra, Jon Langerak, and Matt DeBoer
Front row (L-R): Sems.Aaron Lim, Brian Feenstra, Joe Holstege, Nathan Price, and Stephan Regnerus

This past Monday, August 25, 2014 the PRC Seminary opened its doors anew for another year of instruction of young men for the ministry of the Word. Our three professors, Seminary students, and pre-Seminarians (not all could be here for "registration") gathered in the assembly room for devotions and initial instructions. Following that, the students began the search for course materials and commenced their studies.

Classes began on Tuesday morning, August 25, for both pre-Seminarians (five for Greek and Hebrew) and Seminarians (nine Sophomores). Senior Ryan Barnhill is taking his internship in Edgerton MN PRC until the end of this year.

This semester marks the beginning of the 90th year of instruction by our Seminary (1925-2014). The Seminary faculty, staff, and students covet your prayers as they take up their work anew this year.

May God grant us all His rich grace to carry out our callings in faithfulness to Him, so that our churches and sister churches may continue to have men to proclaim the glorious gospel of sovereign grace into all the world.

Sem. Ryan Barnhill Begins Internship in Edgerton PRC

Ryan B Family - Sept2014Today, July 1, 2014, Seminarian Ryan Barnhill (class of 2015) began his internship in Edgerton, MN PRC He will be mentored by the pastor, Rev. Douglas Kuiper, as well as be under the supervision of the Seminary professors.

During the internship, which will run through the end of the year (Dec.31), Sem.Barnhill will be exposed to and involved in many of the aspects the ministry of the Word, including making and delivering sermons, teaching catechism, leading Bible societies, making pastoral calls, and sitting in on Council meetings. In addition, there are special readings and reports he is required to make.

Ryan and Miranda and their daughter Mya moved to Edgerton last Thursday (June 26) and have begun to settle into their temporary home in town. Their current address is 110 Center St., P.O. Box 61, Edgerton, MN 56128. Ryan's phone number remains 616-914-9548; his email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

May God richly bless this special time of preparation for the ministry of the Word for this brother and his family.

PRC Seminary Graduation 2014 - Joshua Engelsma

The PR Theological School (Seminary) held its graduation ceremony Thursday evening in Hope PRC, Walker, MI. Senior Joshua D. Engelsma (now Candidate J.Engelsma) was this year's graduate, having sustained his oral examination before Synod June 10-12

Graduation Page 2

Above is the program for the evening (also attched in pdf form) and below are a few pictures taken by Mr. Don Doezema. The video of the entire program is also now available on the Seminary's YouTube channel (see link here of imbedded below).

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Rev.K.Koole, TSC President, presenting Josh E. with his diploma.

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Josh E. receiving congratulations by Prof.R. Cammenga, rector.

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Graduation speaker, Prof.R.Dykstra, who addressed Josh and the audience from Exodus 3:1-15 and 4:10-15: "Sent by the Great I AM."

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Josh, Courtney, and children.

Seminary Update: May 2014

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As we get close to the mid-point of May already, we can mention a few updates from "Seminary hill":

1. The students are currently taking their final exams this week (May 12-19). This is always a busy and somewhat stressful time for them, especially for the first year men. Pray for them, that they may hold up well, physically, mentally, and spiritually, so that they may give a good account of themselves to the Lord.

2. Senior Joshua Engelsma has completed his two written exams and now awaits his oral examination before the 2014 PRC Synod, beginning June 10 in his home church, Hope PRC, Walker, MI.  Remember him in prayer in a special way as he prepares for this, and then awaits a call from the churches, D.V.

3. Junior Ryan Barnhill eagerly awaits the start of his Seminary internship as part of his final year at Seminary. His internship is planned for July 1-December 31 in Edgerton MN PRC. He and his wife Miranda and daughter Mya plan to move there the end of June. Bring their needs too to the Lord as they prepeare for this significant part of his ministerial training.

4. Besides wrapping up their class instruction for this semester, the professors have also kept busy with preaching this past month, including some out of town assignments. Prof. R.Cammenga has recently preached in both Hope PRC in Redlands, CA and Loveland PRC, Loveland, CO. Prof.B.Gritters spent this past weekend and Lord's day in Pittsburgh preaching for Missionary-pastor W.Bruinsma who gave a lecture on Calvinism in the area. And Prof.R.Dykstra, who has been doing the Heidelberg Catechism preaching for Faith PRC during her vacancy, is preparing to spend part of his summer in Singapore preaching and speaking for Covenant ERC once again.

5. We extend special congratulations to Prof.B.Gritters as he marks thirty (30) years in the ministry on May 14 (ordained May 14, 1984)! We give thanks to God for enabling him to serve the churches as pastor of two congregations (Byron Center PRC from 1984-1994 and Hudsonville PRC from 1994-2003) and as Professor of Practical Theology and NT Studies since 2003. May God continue to bless him in his labors in the Seminary and in the churches.

6. The Theological School Committee recently approved the purchase of emeritus Prof.David Engelsma's library. This is being packed and brought to Seminary this week by our librarian and will make for a wonderful addition to our holdings. It will also give Mr.C.Terpstra plenty to do this summer, as he also completes work on the Letis collection of books and materials.

7. The Seminary grounds are once again looking good and showing their Spring beauty (See the picture from today, May 13). Thanks to Oomkes Landscape for re-seeding after a rough snowplow season, to Kregel's Landscape for some new trees up front and fertilizing, to Don and Judi Doezema for flower replanting, and to our lawn service man, Brad Gritters, the grounds have recovered from a harsh winter and are back to life.

April 2014 Seminary Journal - More on the Heidelberg Catechism!

Cover 3 Page 1The April 2014 issue of the Protestant Reformed Theological Journal has just been published and sent out to those on our mailing list! This continues volume 47 (#2) and is once again a special issue, containing the other three speeches given at the October 2013 PR Seminary sponsored conference marking the 450th anniversary of the Heidleberg Catechism (1563-2013). For information on the previous issue and the first three speeches from this conference, visit this news item.

Inside this issue are the Journal-adapted speeches of Prof.B.Gritters, Rev.Carl Haak, and Prof.R.Dykstra. Related to these speeches, Seminary librarian, Charles Terpstra, provides a bibliography of recent books on the "HC" added to the Seminary library. And once again there are a goodly number of book reviews, including a significant review article by emeritus professor David Engelsma (see the cover image to the right for more on the contents).

The PRTJ is sent out free of charge to any who wish to receive it. We will gladly place you on our mailing list if you so desire. Contact the Seminary secretary, Judi Doezema (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) if you are interested in receiving the Journal this way. We can also send it to you electronically if you wish to receive it in Kindle or ePub formats (Those versions are also now available for this issue - see the Seminary's Journal page linked below.). We also attach it in pdf form here for your convenience.

If you wish to view and read any past issues, they are all archived at the Journal page on the Seminary's website. There you will also find an index for searching these issues.

April Updates from Seminary Hill

SignThe PR Seminary has a few updates to pass along as we enter this month of April, where the Lord's sure signs of Spring appear once again in West Michigan. 

1. Our next Seminary Journal (April 2014) is back from the printer and was mailed out on Friday, April 25. This issue will have the other three speeches from the Heidelberg Catechism Conference of last Fall, plus some significant book reviews. Look for your copy in the mail in the weeks ahead. If you would like to be added to our mailing list (no charge, although we do accept gifts), contact the Seminary office. The digital copies of this issue will be made available on the Seminary Journal page in short order.

2. The Seminary is now on its final month of classes before final exams. "Pray for us", that the professors and students would have strength to complete our labors and grace to finish well.

3. The two upper-class students, Josh Engelsma (senior) and Ryan Barnhill (junior), besides their normal studies, have stayed busy teaching catechism, leading societies, (nearly finished now) and speaking a word of edification in the churches, which sometimes includes going out of town (Doon, IA, Randolph, WI, Chicago area).

4. The first-year students (9) have just finished preparing and delivering their first sermons as part of their Homiletics class. It was their testimony that making a sermon from start to finish (exegesis to full outline to delivery) was a significant learning experience for them.

5. Our professors also stay very busy with their classroom teaching as well as with leading Bible studies, preaching weekly in the churches, lecturing and serving on denominational committees.

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6. The Seminary recently received the annual visit from the 4th grade class of Mrs.Jane Woudenberg from our Heritage Christian School (Hudsonville, MI). This is always a highlight for the Seminary, and once again their visit was appreciated and encouraging (cf. picture to the left).

7. The professors and students will be on Spring Break from April 7-11. Pray for them that they may experience a season of rest and refreshment before the final weeks of school.

8. The staff will be present normal hours during Spring Break, from 8 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., so if you have any needs feel free to call or stop by.

9. Finally, as a Seminary "family" we share in the loss of Mr.John M.Kalsbeek, a godly husband, father, and PR Christian school teacher, who with his wife Judy was also the long-time janitor of our facility.  We thank God for his humble service in our midst and express our sincere sympathies to his wife and family (ten children).

February Updates from Seminary Hill

Having entered the month of February, we can give you a few new updates from snowy Seminary hill.

1. Prof.B.Gritters (professor of missions as well as of practical theology and NT studies) and his wife, along with elder D.Wassink and his wife, arrived home safely from their mission trip to India on behalf of Georgetown PRC. You will remember that Prof.Gritters is on a partial sabbatical this year. During the second semester he is teaching two courses - Homiletics/Liturgics and NT Exegesis, - while continuing his special work in the area of church polity.

ProfBGritters teaching-Jan2014-1

2. In connection with that sabbatical the Seminary also welcomes Rev.K.Koole, pastor of Grandville PRC. Rev.Koole is teaching OT Isagogics (introduction) this semester for Prof.B.Gritters.

RevkKoole-OT Isagogics

3. Also welcomed back the beginning of this new year is senior Seminarian Josh Engelsma. Josh and his wife Courtney and their three children spent last summer and his 1st semester doing his internship in Peace PRC in Lansing, IL. He testifies to it having been a wonderful experience in preparation for the ministry of the Word. As he finishes his final classes this semester, he anticipates his examination before the PRC Synod in June to be held in his home church of Hope PRC, Walker, MI.

4. Following the special study period in January (and a special educational day-trip to Chicago), the PRC Seminary is now a couple of weeks into its second semester schedule (see also the Seminary calendar at the bottom of its homepage). The professors and students have quickly settled into their daily routine of classes and assignments. The two students licensed to speak in the churches also have practice preaching this semester: Josh Engelsma and Ryan Barnhill. But the first year students are also busy preparing their first sermons this semester (to be delivered in class only).

5. We also have a goodly number of auditors (class visitors) this semester, with people from the Grand Rapids area and even from Kalamazoo taking in Prof.R.Cammenga's NT Hisotry and Dogmatics classes, and Prof.R.Dykstra's Church history, History of Dogma, and Reformed Symbols (confessions) classes. It is a delight to have this interest in the Seminary and a joy to have their fellowship.

Let's remember the Seminary in our daily prayers, for the calling is high, the work is great, and the Lord alone has grace to meet the needs of all of us.

P.S. This important note can also now be included here:

Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2014 PR Scholarship Fund essay competition is now available. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive the essay topics and submission requirements. Completed essays must be submitted by May 31st.

January Updates from Seminary Hill

PC243796The PR Seminary is currently on a special schedule due to the postponement of the Interim, which would have met from Jan.6-15, 2014. The faculty has designated this a special time of study preparation for the second semester, with students being given some of their special assignments early so they can begin work on sermons, papers and readings. Continue to pray for the faculty and students as prepare for the start of the second semester, set for next Tuesday, Jan.21.

 

Prof.B.Gritters along with his wife Lori and elder Deane Wassink and his wife Donna are finishing up their work in the region of Vellore, India this week. Yesterday Prof. Gritters preached in both the English and Tamil congregations. This week Prof. Gritters will be teaching Classes for Sola Gratia Study on the Covenant and leading Bible Studies. The delegation will visit the Grace Foster Home, Village Outreach Churches, and seek to grow in knowledge and fellowship with the RCCV. Remember this delegation in prayer as they carry out this work, say their goodbyes and return home on Friday, D.V.

English Bible study - DrRonalds-Jan2014

 

Junior Ryan Barnhill has just learned from the faculty that he will be taking his internship the second half of this year (July 1- December 31, 2014) in Edgerton (MN) PRC under her pastor, Rev. Douglas Kuiper. Edgerton's Council has approved this proposal and over the next few months will be making preparations with her pastor for the coming of Ryan, his wife Miranda, and daughter Mya. Besides involvement in all the aspects of the life of the Edgerton congregation, the internship will afford Ryan the opportunity to be a part of the work of the Foreign Mission Committee and the Reformed Witness Committee. Ryan and Miranda are excited about the opportunity to spend the six-month internship in one of the congregations of Classis West.

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And, finally, don't forget the special invitation that has been extended to visitors to attend selected second semester classes! Visit the link for details and contact information. Hope to see you there!

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