Today, August 2, is the thirty-first Lord's Day of 2020; we may report the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.
Let us continue to bring to our Father's throne of grace the special needs of our churches, sister churches, and mission fields during these trying times of COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. And while in our Father's presence, may we find peace and hope in His abiding love for us in Jesus Christ, and His will to do us only good - even everlasting good.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
This house that God builds is a spiritual dwelling place in the hearts of God’s people. The temple that Solomon built was a type of the church. What does the psalmist say about it? He says, “For the Lord hath chosen Zion.” That, my friend, is sovereign election! He has chosen for himself a people. What music in the ears of afflicted David! Zion is chosen by God, and therefore God desired it for His habitation. This is his rest for ever. Here God is pleased to dwell for He says, I have desired it. Does God dwell in your heart?
~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "An Habitation for the Mighty God of Jacob" one of his special meditations from this past week
- For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether completely or partially, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found.
- This morning Rev. H. Bleyenberg was installed as minister of Immanuel PRC. Rev. T. Miersma led and preached for the installation service, and Rev. Bleyenberg preached his inaugural sermon in the afternoon. Because Immanuel PRC is too small to hold the entire congregation (taking into account social distancing), the consistory arranged for these two worship services to be held at the local SDA Church -6910 - University Drive. We rejoice with this congregation in God's goodness to them in bringing at long last His servant to minister to them.
- Last Sunday, July 26, Rev. M. Vanderwal received the call to First PRC, Edmonton, AB. May the Lord make plain His will to this servant and give him grace to follow it as he weighs this call and the one to Wingham, his present charge.
- Rev. C. Spronk is considering the call from Kalamazoo PRC (received July 5). May the Lord grant him wisdom to discern His will in this matter. According to Faith PRC's bulletin, he plans to answer by August 9.
Cornerstone PRC has announced the following trio: Rev. M. De Boer (Edgerton PRC); Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC); and Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC).
- On July 12 Rev. G. Eriks accepted the call to Unity PRC (Byron Center, MI). According to Unity's July 19 bulletin, Rev. Eriks will preach his farewell sermon to the Hudsonville congregation on Sunday, August 16 and his installation will be the following week, August 23, during the morning service.
Hope PRC of Redlands, CA meeting outside for her services - this photo gives you more of the "big picture."
- Did you know... that
- Our Hope PRC in Redlands, CA moved her services outside after the most recent lockdown order in that state, making use of the porches of the PR Christian Schools? And they were able to do it with the whole congregation and still maintain social distancing! We rejoice in this fulfillment of their earnest desire to worship the Lord together.
- Unity PRC's Sunday School did something special today? Here's the report from her bulletin: Sunday School will meet today until 12:00. We will remain in the sanctuary and Rev. Bill Langerak will give a presentation from his recent trip to South Korea. The congregation is invited tojoin us for this presentation, starting about 20 minutes after the morning service.
- Two of our professors are doing regular Heidelberg Catechism preaching for vacant congregations? Prof. R. Dykstra is doing so at Kalamazoo PRC and Prof. B. Gritters at Providence PRC (Hudsonville, MI). This is not uncommon in the West Michigan area, and it is a blessed experience for both parties.
PRC Seminary News:
- The seminary is now enjoying its summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements (trip to Mexico, PRYP's Convention, etc.), but there are other activities that may still be held. Our professors are staying busy preaching in the churches this summer, in West Michigan and beyond. Continue to pray for faculty, students, and staff as they continue their labors this summer.
- The seminary is currently open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. The library and bookstore are also open for use. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.
- The Fall 2020 semester schedule and calendar has been approved by the Theological School Commitee and posted on the seminary's website. The first semester will begin, D.V. the week of August 24. At this point we are planning to have onsite, in-person classes.
- Seminarian Josiah Tan (5th-year senior) began his internship last month (July 1 - Dec.31) in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess. He is busy preaching and being exposed to other practical aspects of the ministry in that congregation. May the Lord will use this part of his training to further prepare him for the ministry of the Word in our sister church in Singapore.
- The PRC Synod 2020 approved the entrance of Luke Bomers (Hope PRC, Walker, MI) and Arend Haveman (Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI) into the seminary this Fall. Both are finishing their pre-sem studies this summer. Pray for them as they prepare to take up their studies for the ministry in a few months.
- The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is currently available in digital (pdf and epub) form. We are currently working on getting the print edition produced. When that is ready, we will be mailing these out. There are good articles on nineteenth-century Southern Presbyterians, Calvin's view of the reward of grace, a plea for biblical languages, and two book review articles besides other book reviews. Check it out on the seminary's journal page!
- For more seminary news and information, visit the PRC seminary website!
- Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today (and recently):
- ...We are glad to be in church to hear the word of God in the assembly of the people of God and to see the beauty of God. God is beautiful because He is gracious. His undeserving favour and His unchanging love to us, sinners, saved us. He gathered us as a company of the redeemed, joined together as one body of Christ, into His church. The church of Jesus Christ is the work God. So we come to the church to worship and to see this amazing grace of God. Pray that God will work in us, a heart of passion and desire towards worship, despite the current COVID-19 situation.
- Due to the Phase 2 restrictions on travels and employment pass approval, Grandville PRC, our MOL calling church, has concurred with Session’s suggestion to suspend the calling of MOL for the time being.
- The June 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #60 - was published and posted this past week. You may find it on this page.
- Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC, the following may be noted:
- Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, Bulacan PRC, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
- Congregational and Denominational News:
~ Berean PRC:
Rev. R. Smit will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on Facebook Live.
Rev. Ibe and Deacon Junno are scheduled to visit our brethren and sisters in the Lord in Gabaldon Nueva Ecija today (August 02) and Rev. Ibe will be preaching for them.
~ Maranatha PRC:
Rev. L. Trinidad, our pastor, will lead us in both Worship Services live stream via Facebook: Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church, at 9:00 a.m and 11: a.m., Lord willing.
~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn will preach both times today. The worship services will take place again in the house of Elder Bien and will be live streamed on the “PPRC and Friends” Facebook page and on YouTube. Rev. D. Holstege will teach Lesson 17 in the Essentials catechism class today on Zoom at 1:30.
~ PRCP Seminary news: The Theological School of our PRCP federation plans to begin another year and semester of seminary instruction on Tuesday, August 11. Our seminary students this year are Bro. Jeremias Pascual, Bro. Emmanuel Jasojaso, and Bro. Ace Flores. Our instructors are Revs. D. Holstege, D. Kleyn, and R. Smit. Our seminary faces once again the challenges of instruction during the ongoing restrictions of the coronavirus quarantine. In light of the quarantine in the NCR region, if some members of the PRCP wish to visit in person the classes of Hermeneutics (Rev. Holstege), Church History (Rev. Kleyn), or Reformed Dogmatics (Rev. Smit), then they should contact the individual instructors in advance for details about visiting, especially since in-classroom visits may not be possible in some weeks. Please remember the students and instructors in their work during your family and personal prayers.
~ And for more on the life and work of our "sisters" in the Far East read the news under Philippine missions.
- The PRC also has a "corresponding relationship" with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) of Australia. We remember these brothers and sisters in our prayers and labors also.
Fellowship dinner in S.Negros, October 2019
PRC MISSION NEWS:
- We remember in prayer our home missionary, Rev. A. Spriensma, who continues to labor in the West Michigan area and beyond through Byron Center PRC, the calling church.
- Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, his present travels and activities are quite limited. The ongoing Bible study in Dorr, MI led by our missionary is currently postponed also.
- But, he has been writing short meditations for the PRC website and is now speaking for the Reformed Witess Hour radio program for four months (June - Sept.).
Limerick (Ireland) Reformed Fellowship News:
- Rev. M. McGeown is still leading the services on the mission until he is allowed to enter the U.S. (see next note). They have also just recently restarted live services after the UK lockdown that began in March.
- He has accepted the call to Providence PRC in Hudsonville, MI. Plans are being made for him to complete his labors in Limerick and move to Michigan as soon as it is possible, but it could be many months before that happens (see his most recent newsletter).
- A new Limerick RF Newsletter was just published - July 2020. You may find that here.
- Berean PRC News:
Rev. Ibe and Deacon Junno are scheduled to visit our brethren and sisters in the Lord in Gabaldon Nueva Ecija today.
- PRC of Bulacan News:
The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores is leading them by Zoom (morning service only).
- Maranatha PRC News:
The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occidental is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine. Let us pray that the Lord will end this plague and let His work of preaching and teaching be continued.
- For more on life and activities in the Philippines from the personal perspective of the missionary's, visit the Kleyn's blog, the Holstege's, and the Smits!
We remember in prayer the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines, especially in these difficult days of COVID-19 restrictions on their travels and labors. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and to be encouraged in all their labors.
- Let us remember to pray for the Lord's blessing on Georgetown PRC's labor in Vellore, India. The saints in that part of the world continue to experience tight restrictions and limited functions.
- Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: After a commotion from the community because Rev. Singh had started worship services with the maximum number allowed (15) and people didn't think they should meet at all, Rev Singh decided to shift the worship service to his home to calm the situation. We thank God for the saints in Kolkata in their fervent desire for worship despite the opposition they faced from the local community. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Mat 5:11). Pray that God will sustain the saints to be steadfast in the faith and that they be strong in the Lord. Pray for Rev Singh that God will use His faithful preaching of the Word to bring comfort and encouragement to the saints in Kolkata.
- Let us also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar. Our brothers and sisters here too need our prayers and encouragement as they suffer under coronavirus quarantines and economic hardships. Rev. Titus continues to minister the Word to his flock through the means of social media and modern technology.
- At present Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home missionary) is delivering the messages and this month he is focusing on the truth of God's covenant of grace. Today's message is titled "I Am Your God (or, God's Everlasting Covenant)" based on Genesis 17:7. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you, on your favorite podcast, or visit the links provided here to listen to this program.
- From the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:
- The Reformed Witness Hour Committee wishes to remind everyone that you can receive their bi-monthly newsletter via email simply by signing up at http://eepurl.com/gikNsL. Each newsletter contains information about places around our globe where the RWH is downloaded; news about the RWH’s witness on the radio and via the internet, printed booklet, and CD and links to many popular and relevant RWH messages.
- A Spanish edition of the RWH has been produced and may be found on this YouTube channel (PRC Espanol). Why not check it out - and help spread the word!
- Are you desirous to learn more about the doctrines and practices of the PRC? Or, are you in need of some pamphlets and/or articles published by the PRC for use in evangelism and/or witnessing? Visit the PRCA Evangelism page for a complete list of materials available in digital format or by order from the publishing church.
ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:
The Young Calvinists will be holding a Virtual Young People's Gathering via zoom on August 8 from 11am-5pm. As a small replacement for Convention, this will feature a lecture on heaven by Prof. B. Gritters, online mixer games, discussion groups and more! There will also be an outdoor Singspiration (young people only) on Sunday, August 9 at 8pm. To help us safely prepare, please RSVP for one or both events by July 20 at the following link: https://tinyurl.com/young-calvinists-virtual. Follow our blog (youngcalvinists.org), Facebook, or Instagram, for upcoming details!
- PRYP Convention News (good news from Georgetown PRC!): 2021 Young People’s Convention: Our Steering Committee has signed a new contract with Lake Williamson Christian Center for next year. ...We have reserved the second week in August, arriving on Monday August 9 and departing on Friday August 13, 2021. There will be no other groups at Lake Williamson on the second week and we would have the camp to ourselves (similar to this year). May the Lord preserve our enthusiasm and bless our plans for our Young People’s growth.
- The latest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.
- Colorado Retreat: Registration for the retreat is closed! For further updates, please visit our Facebook page Colorado Young Adults Retreat 2020. Pastors Key and Guichelaar will speak for us on II Timothy 1:7, as we learn to be more 'Brave and Bold in the Faith'.
- David Engelsma
- Clayton Spronk
- Garrett Eriks
- Rodney Kleyn
- Daniel Kleyn
- Angus Stewart
- Emmanuel Singh
- India mission work
- PRC young adult retreats
- Myanmar missions
- ministerial calls
- sister church relations
- PRC Seminary
- missions and evangelism
- Audred Spriensma
- Martyn McGeown
- young people activities
- Reformed literature
- Immanuel PRC
- Daniel Holstege
- Richard Smit