The PRC Seminary will be on a special schedule this week. Because of the post-Labor start this year and due to the Thanksgiving break this week Thursday and Friday, Monday will be a regular day of classes (whereas it is usually reserved only for practice preaching). The class schedule will be moved up a day for Monday through Wednesday, with Tuesday's classes held on Monday, Wednesday's on Tuesday, and Thursday's on Wednesday. See the pdf of the schedule below for details.
At the Friday night session of the PR Seminary's recent Heidelberg Catechism conference (October 17-19, 2013) the winners of the Writing Contest were announced, but only seven of the fifteen award winners could be present (see the picture). And while the others were acknowledged that night, it is also fitting that the entire group be recognized here, while also noting the categories in which they were awarded. We extend our hearty congratulations to all these winners, as well as expressing our appreciation to all those who entered the contest!
Junior High (grades 6-8)
Brett Kalsbeek (Hope PRC, GR)
Jori Baas (SW PRC)
Allen Kalsbeek (Hope PRC, GR)
High School (grade 9-10)
Lorraine Smit (Hope PRC, Redlands, CA)
Kelsey Kuiper (Faith PRC)
Rachel Rutgers (Hope PRC, GR)
High School (grades 11-12)
Elizabeth Ensink (Trinity PRC)
Gwen Van Baren (Crete PRC)
Leah Marcus (First PRC, Edmonton)
Dale Schipper (SW PRC)
Sara Doezema (Hope PRC, GR)
Stephen Mulder (First PRC, Edmonton)
Sarah Mowery (Loveland CO PRC)
Shirley Casemier (First PRC, Holland)
Rick Noorman (Faith PRC)
Saturday morning was the closing session of the HC Conference held at Hudsonville PRC. Once again there were two great speeches, with Rev.Angus Stewart of the Covenant PRC of Ballymena, N.Ireland going first and speaking on the irenic/polemical nature of the HC. Explaining these two terms, Rev.Stewart taught us that the catechism could be called a "war and peace" manual, since it teaches us both how to battle against the errors that oppose the Reformed faith (from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism to Anabaptism) as well as how to maintain true peace in the church - unity in the truth of the gospel. To listen to pastor Stewart's message, visit this page at Hudsonville PRC's Sermonaudio site.
Prof.R.Dykstra closed out the conference by addressing us on the HC’s teaching on God’s covenant. Proving that the HC is firmly grounded in the biblical and Reformed doctrine of God's sovereign covenant, even though it is only mentioned specifically four times, Prof.Dykstra also showed us the nature of this covenant doctrine: not an agreement but a relationship of friendship; not conditional but unconditional; not general (for all) but particular (for the elect). In other words, the covenant doctrine found in the HC is that of sovereign grace! And he showed us how this was in harmony with what the chief writers of the HC, Ursinus and Olevianus, openly taught, both before and after the HC was written. To listen to Prof.Dykstra's speech, visit this page at Hudsonville PRC's Sermonaudio page.
Even though the numbers were a little less for this session, we still had a good crowd, and we learned afterward that over 200 people were also listening on the live-stream! All of the speeches were also video-taped and the videos will be made available in the near future.
If you wish to find all the conference speeches in audio in one place, visit this special Sermonaudio page.
Hudsonville PRC proved to be a most gracious host for the conference and all those involved in its planning and preparation are to be thanked for all their hard work in making this PR Seminary-sponsored conference a big success.
More pictures from the final day:
Sem. Stephan Regnerus mans the Seminary tables. Our German guests with their gifts of facsimile editions of the 1563 HC.
Last evening (Friday) was another great night as the PR Seminary’s Heidelberg Catechism Conference entered its second day. We had another good crowd (600+) and another 200 “attendees” through the live-stream – wonderfully encouraging!
The speeches were again outstanding – instructive and inspirational!Prof.B.Gritters instructed us in the history and benefits of HC preaching, showing that HC catechism preaching in Reformed churches has a long and noble history (introduced only a few years after the HC itself was published). But in defense of HC preaching he also showed us that catechism preaching itself goes all the way back to the time of Ambrose in the 4th century! And the benefitsof HC preaching? Prof.Gritters provided eight precious blessings of good HC preaching. To find out what those are, listen to his speech, which may be found here at Hudsonville PRC’s Sermonaudio page.
Rev.C.Haak (Georgetown PRC. Hudsonville, MI) gave a powerful speech on the HC’s view of the Christian life as one of gratitude. With clear proofs from Scripture and the catechism he demonstrated that the HC captures the true meaning – even the heart – of the Christian life when it teaches that the whole of our conduct is to be motivated by thankfulness to God – all because of His sovereign grace to us in Jesus Christ. Pastor Haak gave us the quote of the night when he repeatedly defined this gratitude as “the echo of praise reverberating in the chambers of the heart which knows its redemption and renewal by grace”. You may listen to Rev.Haak’s message too on Hudsonville’s Sermonaudio page.
The winners of the HC Writing Contest were also announced last evening. Scott Van Uffelen, one of the four judges (along with Sue Looyenga, Liz Griess, and Trisha Haak), described the process of judging the 80+ entries and the joy of reading the essays. The entries revealed not just good writing but minds and hearts in love with the gospel found in the HC. Without revealing all of them just yet (some of the out-of-staters and Canadian winners have to be contacted yet), we can give you this picture of the local winners who were in attendance last evening (Back row -l-r: Sirley Casemier, Kelsey Kuiper, Dale Schipper, Rick Noorman; Front row - l-r: Allen Kalsbeek, Brett Kalsbeek, Sara Doezema, Scott Van Uffelen).
Here are a few additional pictures from the evening.
The PR Seminary had a great start last evening to its conference celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism (1563-2013). And tonight we anticipate a great continuation of the conference!
Thursday night we had a fabulous crowd of people - it even over-flowed the sanctuary of Hudsonville PRC - and we learned that there were over 230 people who tuned in to the live-stream broadcast - amazing! We here at the Seminary and the committee of Hudsonville PRC were greatly encouraged by the turnout.
Dr.J.Klautke, professor at the Academy for Reformed Theology in Hannover, Germany and pastor of the Confessing Evangelical-Reformed congregation in Giessen, Germany, and Prof.R.Cammenga of our Seminary both gave stirring messages, covering respectively the history and purpose of the HC and its grand theme of comfort. These two speeches have already been posted on Hudsonville's Sermonaudio page, so click on the link to download and listen to these.
Afterward the audience mingled freely in the spacious fellowship room of Hudsonville PRC, enjoying tasty refreshments, good fellowship, edifying displays, and plenty of good books and literature.
Tonight the Conference continues with a special pre-conference music (piano) program by Bryan Westra, a member of our SW PRC (6:45 p.m.). Then Prof.B.Gritters of our Seminary will deliver a speech on systematic HC preaching and Rev.C.Haak of Georgetown PRC on the HC's view of the Christian life as gratitude. In addition, tonight the winners of the HC Writing Contest will be announced and awarded - 15 total from 5 different categories. Once, again, a special night is planned and we hope that you are able to join us at this significant and stimulating event.
But in case you cannot be there, tonight's session will also be live-streamed through Hudsonville's website. Make use of this tool too to join us in marking this historic anniversary!
Below are a few more pictures taken at last night's event.
The 2013 PR Seminary Convocation, marking the beginning of the new school year, will be held this week Wednesday, September 11, in Faith PRC at 7:30 P.M. Prof.Russell Dykstra will speak on the topic “Pray for Us.” The male quartet, "Voices of Victory", will provide special music. The seminarians (10, maybe 11 of them!) will also be introduced as part of the program. You are welcome to join the seminary in this convocation for the new year and to fellowship with professors and students alike.
If you cannot attend, the evening will also be live-streamed through Faith PRC's website, starting at 7:30 p.m. Visit their website and follow the link at the top of the page.
To view a copy of the program for the evening, see the attached pdf below.
An audio recording of this speech may now be heard on Faith PRC's Sermonaudio page.
The 2013-14 PRC Seminary season of instruction has begun, with full classes having started this week Tuesday, Sept.3. Mr. Don Doezema, our recently retired registrar (with the help of his new camera), took this picture of the entire student body and faculty on opening day (with the exception of Senior Josh Engelsma, who is presently doing his internship in Peace PRC, Lansing, IL under pastor Clayton Spronk.). Remember to pray for the professors and students this year as they instruct and as they learn, that God's Word may be faithfully and fruitfully brought to these young men as they prepare for the gospel ministry.
Key: Back row (l-r): Justin Smidstra (Hudsonville PRC), Matt DeBoer (Hudsonville PRC), David Noorman (Faith PRC), Nathan Price (Trinity PRC), Jon Langerak (SW PRC), Stephan Regnerus (Doon, IA PRC), Prof.B.Gritters
Front row (l-r): Prof.R.Dykstra, Prof.R.Cammenga, Joe Holstege (SE PRC), Ryan Barnhill (Hudsonville PRC), Brian Feenstra (Hope PRC, Grand Rapids), Aaron Lim (Covenant ERC, Singapore)
Once again the Seminary is inviting those who are interested to attend selected classes this coming school year. Prof. Dykstra is inviting auditors to Church History, a class in which he will cover the Reformation period of the history of the church. Prof. Cammenga is inviting auditors to New Testament History, a class in which he will treat New Testament History from the inter-testamental period up to the Passion Week. And Prof. Cammenga is also inviting auditors to his Reformed Dogmatics class, which will begin with Ecclesiology, the study of the doctrine of the church. If you are interested in attending any or all of these classes, please call the Seminary at 616-531-1490 to find what times they meet (or check the Seminary or PRC web site for the class schedule) and to “register” for the class. Classes begin, D.V., on Tuesday, September 3.
The Protestant Reformed Seminary is planning to hold, D.V., a special conference commemorating the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism this Fall, October 17-19, 2013 - "Our Only Comfort". Hudsonville PRC, which is helping to host the conference, has made a special website to provide information and promote this important event. You are encouraged to check out, bookmark, and frequent this website as the plans and preparations continue. And we hope that you will also make plans to attend this profitable conference. A new flyer has been prepared for use in advertising this conference in the churches. Click here to download! And now you may find the conference on Facebook!
- Don't forget to finalize your plans to attend a special conference commemorating the 450th Anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism sponsored by the Theological School of the Protestant Reformed Churches. The conference will take place October 17-19 at Hudsonville PRC.
- Arrive early to hear performances by the Hope Heralds on Thursday evening and Bryan Westra on Friday evening. These performances will start at 6:45.
- Conference speakers include Dr. Jürgen-Burkhard Klautke from Germany and Rev. Angus Stewart from Northern Ireland. Visit ouronlycomfort.org for more information and follow the blog which features daily devotions on the Catechism.
- The 15 winners of the HC writing contest will also be announced and awarded at the Friday night session of the conference. You don't want to miss this exciting event!
- Special Note: For those unable to attend the conference, it will be live-streamed from Hudsonville PRC's auditorium each day. Visit the Hudsonville PRC website and follow directions for the live-stream feed (upper right-hand corner)
In connection with Synod's expression of thanks to Mr.Don Doezema for his many years (over 25!) of service to the PRC Seminary (registrar, etc.) and churches (Stated Clerk of Synod, etc.) during their Thursday session (June 13), the Theological School Committee thanked Mr.Doezema publicly at the Seminary graduation program Thursday evening and presented him with a gift of a new camera. Quite surprised by the attention, Mr.Doezema did make it to the podium to express gratitude for the privilege of serving the Seminary community and the churches for so many years.