Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, March 29 - April 5, 2020 (Updated)

Nahum1 7Today, March 29, is the thirteenth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

And nothing creates perspective on our troubles more than the thought of Jesus hanging on his cross in the pitch blackness. The thought has often come to me in the last week or so of the isolation Jesus felt on the cross. We are feeling something of the isolation of quarantine and social distancing. Now it is to the point where we cannot even see our friends and family on a regular basis, apart from those who live in our homes with us. And yet we know our friends and family still love us and want to have contact with us when circumstances change. We can look hopefully ahead to a day a few weeks from now (the Lord willing!) when we can once again meet in the Lord's house together on the Sabbath Day. We can dial up a friend on our phone and hear his voice, or send an email to mom.

But Christ was alone. Utterly alone. He was forsaken by the crowds who used to follow him. He was forsaken by his disciples. He was forsaken by Peter. He was forsaken by the nation of Judah. He was forsaken by the world. He was forsaken even by his own Father. He was alone not because of quarantine. He was alone because he was rejected. In his rejection, he hung suspended between heaven and earth with iron spikes piercing his hands and feet. And yet the agony of the crucifixion was nothing comparing to the anguish of hell which rushed upon him in all its horrifying force in the darkness. Maybe today you are sitting in your home alone, but still with access to friends and family by technology, and still with access to God by faith. Think of Christ who was alone. We dare not even attempt to imagine what utter loneliness prompted him to cry out with these words - "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?" Psalm 22:1.

Again, the point is not to minimize our suffering, but to encourage us in the midst of it. Jesus was totally forsaken and rejected for your sake. You, now, can endure a short period of isolation and quarantine with patience for his sake. And you can even sing in the midst of it all, these words from Psalter 329, "Affliction has been for my profit; That I to Thy statutes might hold; Thy law to my soul is more precious; Than thousands of silver and gold." (Rev. J. Holstege in a pastoral letter to Zion PRC this past week)

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • The significant news this Sunday continues to be the impact of the pandemic coronavirus on the PRC congregations, sister churches, and mission fields. The Lord in His wise providential plan and hand has humbled us and the peoples of this world, that we may realize how frail we are, that we may see how dreadful our sin is that brought such disease and death into the world, but also that we may find anew our total help in God and our only hope of salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. By God's grace may we humble ourselves before the Lord our God, hear His Word, and find peace and comfort in our Savior.

    Most of our congregations are not holding services today; some of our pastors are pre-recording or live-streaming sermons, songs, and prayers. Some members of our sister churches are under quaratine and forbidden to gather; our missionaries in the Philippines are limited in their travels and therefore in their labors; the saints in India are in lockdown. As we honor our local, state, and federal governments and submit to their mandates at this time, let us also thank and praise our God for the means we have to receive His Word and to stay connected as members of Christ's body, as well as for the constant access we have to His throne of grace.

    But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him. Psalm 37:39,40

  • Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon PRC) is considering calls from Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) and Kalamazoo (MI) PRC. Today he announced his decline of both calls.

  • On March 22 the congregation of Providence PRC voted to extend a call to Rev. M. McGeown (Limerick, Ireland mission).

  • The Consistory of First PRC, Edmonton has formed a new trio from which to call a new pastor: Rev J. Engelsma (Doon PRC), Rev. J. Laning (Hull PRC), and Rev. M. Vanderwal (Wingham PRC). The congregation is to vote today. *Rev. J. Laning has received this call.

  • The Council of Unity PRC formed the following trio from which to call her first pastor: Revs. E.Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), J. Mahtani (Grandville PRC), and C. Spronk (Faith PRC). A congregational meeting is scheduled for April 15.

  • The Council of Hope PRC (Grand Rapids, MI) has formed a trio consisting of Rev. C. Griess (First PRC-GR, Rev. J. Mahtani (Grandville PRC), and Rev. C. Spronk (Faith PRC).

  • "First Protestant Reformed Church of Edmonton has released their pastor, Rev. John Marcus, under Article 11 of the Church Order with the concurrence of Classis West and the synodical delegates. Rev. Marcus is now available for call within the Protestant Reformed Churches."

  • "The Council of Grandville Protestant Reformed Church has been informed by Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church that they have received a rejection of their last appeal with the Singapore government for an employment pass for Rev. J. Mahtani. CERC has now exhausted the appeal process with the Singapore government. In light of this information Grandville PRC announces to the churches that Rev. Mahtani is eligible for a call on April 1, 2020."

  • From Immanuel PRC's bulletin today (Lacombe, AB): After their negative experience at the border, the Bleyenbergs are uncertain as to what they should do. We have advised them to wait with any further attempt to cross the border until things settle down. Keep the Bleyenbergs in your prayers during this difficult time. As we remain separated at this time from our pastor and his wife, and from each other, may we be persuaded by the words of Romans 8:38,39: “that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

  • Did you know... that Rev. C. Hanko's book of memoirs contains his personal remembrance of the disastrous worldwide flu (Spanish influenza) of 1918-19. Hear his story as the church and her saints dealt with a great affliction in those days too:

And then, to make matters worse, the influenza epidemic hit in the winter of 1918-1919. Once more schools and churches were closed for six weeks. Almost no one went to work. Nearly every home had one or more sick with the flu. Doctors could not keep up with the calls that came in. They worked day and night. But the worst of all was that they knew no cure. They tried the usual medicines, and they tried the most caustic medicines, all to no avail. Hundreds died. Funeral services were held outside. Very few went to the cemetery.

A little girl in our neighborhood died also. Her coffin was placed by the front window for the neighbors to see. The minister preached the funeral sermon in the street.

A gloom hung over all. Everyone wondered, 'Will it strike us next?' There were some homes in which the whole family was stricken, and one home in which there were five deaths. My future mother-in-law, Mrs. Alida Griffioen, gave birth to a child in a room shut off by sheets while others in the family had the flu.

Ministers were in a quandary as to what to do. Rev. Groen was so afraid of catching the flu that he refused to visit any one. Rev. Peter Jonker Jr. of Dennis Avenue Christian Reformed Church was out almost day and night visiting the sick. He would place a ladder next to an upstairs window in order to visit someone upstairs. He wore himself out to the point where he could hardly preach. The consistory allowed him to preach old sermons for awhile.

Our family was spared. We sat at home, trying to seek a bit of entertainment amongst ourselves. But sitting home day after day can grow very wearisome. I remember walking along Wealthy Street just to get out, but the streets were void of pedestrians. The street was 'like a painted ship on a painted ocean.' [a line from a poem of Samuel T. Coleridge] It hardly seemed real. The break came on Sunday when we had our home service in the morning. To prevent further spreading of the sickness, no more than seven people were allowed to meet together; but we did invite in a few neighbors. These were times when prayer was no longer a mere formality, but a cry of the anxious soul pleading for the sick and bereaved.

As the nation struggled to deal with this public health disaster, it also had to contend with sick and crippled men returning from the front (Cornelius Hanko, Less Than the Least, 2nd ed. pp. 42-43).

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

PRC Contact Committee News: (repeated from last week)

First, our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. Rev. McGeown will likely stay in Limerick for the next six months and will then, the Lord willing, move to the United States. We submit this disappointment to the good Providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.

Second, the Singapore government is placing anyone who visits Singapore under quarantine for two weeks. This will hamper for some time the PRCA's attempts to supply CERCS' pulpit. Remember our brothers and sisters in Singapore in a time when they are without an under-shepherd and now are cut off from our help in many ways. May the Great Shepherd of the sheep care for his flock in these circumstances, as we trust He will.

Third, the government of the Philippines has restricted travel inside the country. This limits the work our missionaries are able to do in areas outside their immediate vicinity. We remain confident that in spite of this"...the word of God is not bound" 2 Timothy 2:9. May that word yet go forth in these uncertain times to the saving and strengthening of His people, and to the glory of His name.

Calvinist Conference Postponed: The Calvinist conference on the doctrine of God sponsored by several Presbyterian churches in Tennessee in April at which Prof. D. Engelsma was to speak has been postponed because of the health alarm. Likely, the conference will now be held this Fall.

KKoole chapel March 2020
Rev. K. Koole leading a recent Wednesday chapel at seminary this month

PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary is entering its eleventh week of the second semester. Due to the latest "stay-at-home" order from our governor, the faculty and students have switched to all online classes until the restrictions are lifted. Some classes are using previously recorded videos and receiving assignments via email, while other classes are being livestreamed using Zoom. So far this has worked well and we are thankful to be able to continue in this way. The second round of practice preaching has been put on hold for the time being.

  • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, seminary is open only for essential work at this time. No auditors or visitors should come until the restrictions are lifted. The staff can try to assist you with any needs, however. Call or email the seminary with your important needs.

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 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 30th. 

  • Need for Ministers: Synod 2019 took a decision to place the urgent need for seminary students before our churches. Please remember in your prayers to petition the Lord of the harvest for pastors, and please encourage young men, whom you observe to have the gifts, to consider the ministry. If you wish to listen to a couple of sermons by our professors that address this need, listen to "The (Suffering) Minister's Steadfast Confession" and "The Beautiful Feet of the Gospel Preacher."

Ephesians 2 13

Let us remember to pray for the blood-bought body of Christ throughout the world!

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be mentioned:
    • From her bulletin today: Today is the first time in our history that we have to worship the Lord fully online. ...We hope and pray that we can adjust to this arrangement for the time being and the Lord willing, in the near future we can worship together once again when the COVID-19 situation improves. Let us, however, be thankful that we can still worship together though many activities have to be suspended. Do pray for the spiritual well-being of all the members of the church during this trying time. Also do remember our brethren in CERCI, Kolkata who are not able to meet as they do not have the online facilities in most of their homes. Do pray that the Lord will sustain them and provide them the means to be fed with the word of God.
    • The 2020 Church Camp Committee has decided to postpone Church Camp in 2020 to December 21-24, 2020.
    • *The February 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia - was posted recently and may be found on this page. 
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • From last week's bulletin: Now that we are unable to “diligently frequent the church of God” physically because of the coronavirus, we can be thankful for the good gift of God to us (or at least many of us) of the internet. We will be livestreaming from church today at the usual time: 11AM and 6PM. Go to https://cprc.co.uk/livestreaming/ to watch.
    • Sadly, the CPRC Council has decided to close our mission work, the Limerick Reformed Fellowship (LRF). After almost 10 years of having a missionary there and 6 years before that of the LRF meeting without a missionary, there has been insufficient growth. Rev. Martyn McGeown of the LRF is eligible for a call by the Protestant Reformed churches. Upon receipt and acceptance of a call, God willing, it would take some months for him to gain legal permission to work and reside in the US or Canada. This would enable him to preach and pastor the members of the LRF before they move to join the CPRC (for several of them need a similar amount of time to tidy up their affairs in Limerick before relocating), and it will provide ministry longer for those who, for various reasons, are not able to move.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Read the new February 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!
    • Join Reformed believers from around the world at the 2020 British Reformed Fellowship family conference at Castlewellan Castle in Northern Ireland from Saturday, July 11 to Saturday, July 18.  Our speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning, will lecture on "Union with Christ".  For information see the website http://brfconference.weebly.com or contact Briana Prins at 616-214-2779;  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Rooms are filling quickly, so complete your booking form today!
  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, PRC in Bulacan, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Berean PRC: Rev. V. Ibe will lead us in our worship services today via live streaming on our Facebook page. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via Facebook live, the Lord willing.

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. L. Trinidad will lead us in both Worship Services lvia livestream on Facebook: Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church. This is in compliance to the declaration of our President to have a self-quarantine (total lock-down) that is to stay at home to avoid contamination of that virus with other person. This will take affect in the wholeIsland of the Philippines from March 15 to April 12, 2020.

~ Provident PRC: Like last Sunday, we are not able to gather at church again today. May our gracious God give rest to our souls as we keep the Sabbath day holy in our homes. The elders have sent links to two worship services of Zion PRC (Rev. J. Holstege), one for the morning and one for the evening. Let us watch them in our homes with our families and participate with our voices by singing. Let us set aside our offerings for general fund and benevolence, as we are able, to bring them to church after the enhanced community quarantine.

~ The most recent mission newsletter (January 2020) was published and distributed in February.

~ 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.

john 15 13 1

Do you think you too great a sinner to be saved by the blood of Jesus? Is it too late for you to be redeemed? Read this resource to learn more.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • With many PRC members and fellow saints worshipping at home due to the present pandemic, the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos is a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. Also, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs are being available FREE during this time. These too can be used for family or personal devotions, as well as for personal comfort and peace in seasons of fear and distress.
  • The Reformed Book Outlet will be closed through April 4 for the safety of our volunteers. If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

  • Are you looking for good Reformed literature and a solid Reformed and biblical magazine? Visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association's website (www.rfpa.org), where you will find information on books in all major Christian categories, as well as on the bi-monthly periodical, the Standard Bearer.

  • Would you like to learn more about the PRC and her doctrines and practices? 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.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Llisten to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Continuing this month, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) is delivering a series on prayer, with today's message titled "The Certainty of Prayer" based on Matthew 6:13. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you 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!

 young peoples convention header 2020

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • 2020 PRYP's Convention News! Registration for the 2020 Young People’s Convention opened on Monday, March 16!
  • Young Men's Conference - Young men of High School and College age, please plan to attend the GPRC Young Men’s Conference, with the theme of "Run, Fight, Lead!", on Saturday morning, April 25, from 8 am-12:00 pm, at Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church. Breakfast is included! Don’t wait, register today!  For more details and to register please visit georgetownprc.org/runfightlead

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 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 30th. 

  • The Western Young People's Retreat, hosted by the Lynden and Spokane Young Peoples, will be held July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in N. Idaho.  This is a retreat for Young People ages 13-18 (going into 9th-12th grade).  More information and registration will be available in March. Contact Rev. Kleyn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

Mark1615 1

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • 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.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown led the services today.
    • (From the PRC Contact Commitee) Our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. Rev. McGeown will likely stay in Limerick for the next six months and will then, the Lord willing, move to the United States. We submit this disappointment to the good providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via livestream).
  • Provident PRC News: The trip of our two missionaries Rev. D. Kleyn and Rev. R. Smit to Canturay Church and Inayawan Church, Sipalay, Negros Occ. to preach and teach to the two congregations is cancelled due to the Community Quarantine from March 15 to April 12, 2020. Let us remember to pray for their missionary work.
  • The newest Philippines mission newsletter has been published and posted! The January 2020 issue may be read here.
  • 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 quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful and encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. In the CERC's bulletin today was this notice about the work there: Also do remember our brethren in CERCI, Kolkata who are not able to meet as they do not have the online facilities in most of their homes. Do pray that the Lord will sustain them and provide them the means to be fed with the word of God.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar; for his latest report, visit this page.
Read more...

Trusting and Not Fearing (A Special Message)

duck on waterFrom the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

This is part of a special message of hope and peace as we live in these unsettling days and weeks, when fear is real and faith grows weak. Below is an excerpt from a radio message of Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC, which he delivered on January 23, 2005 for the Reformed Witness Hour radio program.

Below the excerpt is a link to the entire message - print and audio.

You are encouraged to read and meditate on this Word of God and on these words of exposition and application.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Trusting and Not Fearing

Psalm 56:3-4

The Scriptures say, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” There is something very touching and profoundly comforting in the simplicity of this statement. God speaks in simple, powerful words. Very plainly, this is the theme of the whole psalm. Repeatedly it comes back: Not fear, but trust! Trust in God. With a true and living faith, depend only upon Him. Cry out to Him. Bring your fears to Him.

That solves it all. Whatever that fear may be for you, whether that is surgery, or your child’s health, or your daughter’s soul, or your son’s married life, or your personal fear—here is the simple, the conquering, the never-failing answer: trust in God.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word; in God have I put my trust.” There is the answer. Put your trust in God. God here is commanding us to an activity. He works faith in our hearts and He commands that which He works into action. He says, “I have given to you a heavenly grace of trust. Not something that proceeded from your will but something that proceeded from Me. Something that is now implanted in a new heart and in a new will within you. And I call you, by My grace, to be active in that trust.”

 
Read or listen to Rev. Haak’s full message here: https://bit.ly/3ahJmol
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Here is also part of a pastoral letter Rev. C. Haak wrote to his congregation on Tuesday, March 24, 2020:

As measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus increase, so also our anxieties for the future increase.

Today all of us are feeling the direct impact of the governor’s order [in Michigan] to quarantine ourselves for the next few weeks. Our jobs and income are directly threatened and we wonder about the future economy. Just how far will this go? Will our livelihood be lost? Is our hard made personal business going under? Where exactly is all of this heading? How many of our plans for the next months will be lost? The second week of schooling our children at home is proving harder than we thought, will our schools open again? When do we get our old life back?

Our minds become a factory of worries and mass produce questions we can’t answer.

Instead we need to ask ourselves these questions: Are we listening to God? Did we come apart to the secret chamber of prayer today? As we observe how the world is acting are we, who have eyes of faith to see Him on the throne, acting differently? Do we feel the peace of God ruling in our hearts in this very day, even as God promised us? (Phil. 4:6, 7, Col. 3:15, Isaiah 26: 3, 4) Do you believe and experience that His grace is sufficient for you today?  (II Corinthians 12: 7-10)

As in every spiritual battle for the heart, faith must not lie inactive within us. We are called to a spiritual warfare in these days (Ephesians 6:10-18). We wrestle against fear, boredom, anxiety, hopelessness, fatalism, anger, depression, loneliness, and others. If you can’t get up to fight today, call the elders, kneel right now in prayer, read the promises of God. Better yet, “Be still! and know that I am God”, the God who has never failed you in the past and is not going to do so today. Read Psalm 46.

Read more...

Trusting and Not Fearing (A Special Message)

duck on waterFrom the Reformed Witness Hour Committee:

This is part of a special message of hope and peace as we live in these unsettling days and weeks, when fear is real and faith grows weak. Below is an excerpt from a radio message of Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of Georgetown PRC, which he delivered on January 23, 2005. Below the excerpt is a link to the entire message. You are encouraged to read and meditate on this Word of God and on these words of exposition and application.

Trusting and Not Fearing
Psalm 56:3-4

The Scriptures say, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” There is something very touching and profoundly comforting in the simplicity of this statement. God speaks in simple, powerful words. Very plainly, this is the theme of the whole psalm. Repeatedly it comes back: Not fear, but trust! Trust in God. With a true and living faith, depend only upon Him. Cry out to Him. Bring your fears to Him.

That solves it all. Whatever that fear may be for you, whether that is surgery, or your child’s health, or your daughter’s soul, or your son’s married life, or your personal fear—here is the simple, the conquering, the never-failing answer: trust in God.

“What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word; in God have I put my trust.” There is the answer. Put your trust in God. God here is commanding us to an activity. He works faith in our hearts and He commands that which He works into action. He says, “I have given to you a heavenly grace of trust. Not something that proceeded from your will but something that proceeded from Me. Something that is now implanted in a new heart and in a new will within you. And I call you, by My grace, to be active in that trust.”

 
Read or listen to Rev. Haak’s full message here: https://bit.ly/3ahJmol
Here is also part of a pastoral letter Rev. C. Haak wrote to his congregation on Tuesday:

As measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus increase, so also our anxieties for the future increase.

Today all of us are feeling the direct impact of the governor’s order [in Michigan] to quarantine ourselves for the next few weeks. Our jobs and income are directly threatened and we wonder about the future economy. Just how far will this go? Will our livelihood be lost? Is our hard made personal business going under? Where exactly is all of this heading? How many of our plans for the next months will be lost? The second week of schooling our children at home is proving harder than we thought, will our schools open again? When do we get our old life back?

Our minds become a factory of worries and mass produce questions we can’t answer.

Instead we need to ask ourselves these questions: Are we listening to God? Did we come apart to the secret chamber of prayer today? As we observe how the world is acting are we, who have eyes of faith to see Him on the throne, acting differently? Do we feel the peace of God ruling in our hearts in this very day, even as God promised us? (Phil. 4:6, 7, Col. 3:15, Isaiah 26: 3, 4) Do you believe and experience that His grace is sufficient for you today?  (II Corinthians 12: 7-10)

As in every spiritual battle for the heart, faith must not lie inactive within us. We are called to a spiritual warfare in these days (Ephesians 6:10-18). We wrestle against fear, boredom, anxiety, hopelessness, fatalism, anger, depression, loneliness, and others. If you can’t get up to fight today, call the elders, kneel right now in prayer, read the promises of God. Better yet, “Be still! and know that I am God”, the God who has never failed you in the past and is not going to do so today. Read Psalm 46.

Read more...

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, March 22-28, 2020 (Updated)

psalm 23 1 3Today, March 22, is the twelfth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

​It’s odd, strange to be home on Sunday morning, separated from one another, gathered as families, alone, or just as a couple. And that feeling is good; it is good that it feels strange, and feels strange to our children and even to our toddlers. We don’t want the strangeness to wear off. God is showing us how great is the blessing we have been given as a congregation in Christ, and how crucial Sunday worship is for our souls. Our feelings are expressed by David in Psalm 42:4.  In the midst of many burdens and catastrophes he said: “I had gone with them that kept the Holy Day”. David’s way was only darker and more lonely when he was deprived of going up to God’s house with his fellow believers.

​But this does not mean we cannot set this day apart as holy to the Lord our God. We will come apart to be with our Risen Lord. God will hear our voices in this day, voices of praise and worship! We will be renewed in this day in the hope that is ours! We will draw near to God! And we will be bound by one Spirit as one body in one Lord and one faith!

​We do this in our own homes. We do this by using the gift of our modern media to hear messages from God’s Word directed to us.... And God will bless us with strength for today and sure hope for tomorrow. ~ Rev. C. Haak in a Sunday morning note to his congregation, Georgetown PRC (Hudsonville, MI)

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • The significant news again this Sunday is the impact of the pandemic coronavirus on the PRC congregations, sister churches, and mission fields. The Lord in His wise providential plan and hand has humbled us and the peoples of this world, that we may realize how frail we are, that we may see how dreadful our sin is that brought such disease and death into the world, but also that we may find anew our total help in God and our only hope of salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ. May we by faith submit ourselves to our God, listen to His Word, and find peace and comfort in our Savior.

    Many of our congregations are not holding services today; others are gathering in small numbers because of size limitations set by our earthly rulers. Some members of our sister churches are under quaratine and forbidden to gather; our missionaries in the Philippines are limited in their travels and therefore in their labors. As we honor our local, state, and federal governments and submit to their mandates at this time, may we also reflect on and treasure our indestructible unity in Christ as His body, and join in worship through praise and prayer to glorify our great God and Father. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest. (Rev.15:4)

  • Rev. J. Engelsma (Doon PRC) is considering calls from Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN) and Kalamazoo (MI) PRC. He plans to answer both by March 29. May the Lord guide his consideration of these calls.

  • The Consistory of Providence PRC has announced a new trio from which to call their next pastor: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), Rev. M. McGeown (Limerick Mission, Ireland), and Rev. W. Bruinsma (Pittsburgh PRC). They plan to call from this trio this evening. *Rev. M. McGeown has received this call.

  • The Consistory of First PRC, Edmonton has formed a new trio from which to call a new pastor: Rev J. Engelsma (Doon PRC), Rev. J. Laning (Hull PRC), and Rev. M. Vanderwal (Wingham PRC). The congregational meeting is set for Sunday afternoon, March 29.

  • The Council of Unity PRC formed the following trio from which to call her first pastor: Revs. E.Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), J. Mahtani (Grandville PRC), and C. Spronk (Faith PRC). A congregational meeting is scheduled for April 15.

  • "The Council of Grandville Protestant Reformed Church has been informed by Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church that they have received a rejection of their last appeal with the Singapore government for an employment pass for Rev. J. Mahtani. This rejection stems from unexpected complications arising from Rev. Mahtani’s prior Singaporean citizenship and that country’s required military service. CERC has now exhausted the appeal process with the Singapore government. In light of this information Grandville PRC announces to the churches that Rev. Mahtani is eligible for a call on April 1, 2020."

  • This week Rev. H. Bleyenberg and his wife Deb left West Michigan for Lacombe, AB, where he has accepted the call to serve Immanuel PRC. However, they were turned back at the Canadian border due to new COVID-19-related border restrictions. They have since returned to West Michigan for the present time. May the Lord soon open the way for them to go to their new church home. Rev. T. Miersma is bringing the word in Lacombe again today.

  • Did you know... that some of our churches and sister churches are holding services even with very small numbers (10 people) so that the rest of the congregation can participate in worship at home and still hear the lively preaching of God's Word? We thank the Lord for the modern technology that allows our members to do so! And we thank the Lord for our elders and pastors who are willing to do this for the benefit of many. May the gospel of Jesus Christ be heard near and far!

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Classis East Report (March 17, 2020 at Hudsonville PRC):

At the request of the Consistories of Faith, Grace, and Hope, the Classical Committee of Classis East called for the convening of a meeting today to consider the request of Rev. David Overway to be released from the ministry according to Article 12 of the Church Order.

Rev. Bruinsma led in opening devotions and declared classis properly constituted. Rev. N. Decker, by rotation, presided as chairman of the meeting. Because Michigan’s Governor signed an executive order banning assemblies of more that 50 people effective at 9:00am on March 17until 5:00pm on April 5, a recommendation was made to adjourn and treat the items on the agenda at the regular meeting of classis on May 13. The motion failed. Instead classis passed a motion to meet in closed session in order to comply with the governor’s order. The Consistory of Wingham decided not to send delegates due to the possibility that they would not be able to return home or that they would be required to be quarantined upon reentry into Canada.

The decision of Classis East in answer to Rev. Overway’s request to be released from the ministry will be announced to the churches by Hope PRC’s Council.

Other actions taken by classis include: a. Approving a subsidy request for $40,000 for Kalamazoo PRC for 2021 to be forwarded to Synod 2020 for its approval. b. Approving a classical appointment schedule for five(!) vacant churches: Cornerstone, Hope, Kalamazoo, Providence, and Unity PRCs. May the Lord send us pastors! c. Approving the work of the Church Visitors in the labors they performed helping the Council of Hope PRC. d. Appointing Rev. R. Van Overloop Moderator for Hope PRC. e. Appointing Rev. C. Spronk to a three-year term as Stated Clerk of Classis East.

Classis adjourned around 2:30pm. May the Lord use these decisions for the good of those who are directly affected, for good of our denomination, and for His glory.

In Christ’s Service, Rev. Clay Spronk Stated Clerk, Classis East

PRC Contact Committee News:

First, our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. Rev. McGeown will likely stay in Limerick for the next six months and will then, the Lord willing, move to the United States. We submit this disappointment to the good Providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.

Second, the Singapore government is placing anyone who visits Singapore under quarantine for two weeks. This will hamper for some time the PRCA's attempts to supply CERCS' pulpit. Remember our brothers and sisters in Singapore in a time when they are without an under-shepherd and now are cut off from our help in many ways. May the Great Shepherd of the sheep care for his flock in these circumstances, as we trust He will.

Third, the government of the Philippines has restricted travel inside the country. This limits the work our missionaries are able to do in areas outside their immediate vicinity. We remain confident that in spite of this"...the word of God is not bound" 2 Timothy 2:9. May that word yet go forth in these uncertain times to the saving and strengthening of His people, and to the glory of His name.

Minister Updates:

  • “This past Tuesday, March 17, 2020, Hope Protestant Reformed Church, of Walker Michigan, with the concurrence of Classis East and the synodical delegates of Classis West, has granted Rev. David Overway’s request to be released from the ministry according to Article 12 of the Church Order. May the blessing of the Lord rest upon the decisions of Classis and may His church rest in Him.”
  • The Council of Grandville Protestant Reformed Church has been informed by Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church that they have received a rejection of their last appeal with the Singapore government for an employment pass for Rev. Mahtani. This rejection stems from unexpected complications arising from Rev. Mahtani’s prior Singaporean citizenship and that country’s required military service. CERC has now exhausted the appeal process with the Singapore government. In light of this information Grandville PRC announces to the churches that Rev. Mahtani is eligible for a call on April 1, 2020.
  • "First Protestant Reformed Church of Edmonton has released their pastor, Rev. John Marcus, under Article 11 of the Church Order with the concurrence of Classis West and the synodical delegates. Rev. Marcus is now available for call within the Protestant Reformed Churches."

Front March 2020 1

PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary is entering its tenth week of the second semester. The class schedule and calendar may be found on the seminary's website. The students have finished their mid-terms exams and soon the second round of practice preaching will be here. Remember to pray for the faculty, students, and staff as they busy themselves in the work of this new semester.

  • This past week the seminary hosted four young men from Covenant CHS in Grand Rapids who show interest in pursuing the ministry. They joined faculty and students for devotions, sat down with Profs. B. Huizinga and D. Kuiper to talk about the call to the ministry, visited Prof. R. Dykstra's church history class, and enjoyed lunch with us. We are thankful for this opportunity and pray that it encourages others to do the same.
  • Sem. Josiah Tan and his wife and children returned to Singapore recently due to the declining health of his mother. Pray for him and his family during this difficult time.

  • The faculty and students will be holding a meeting of the Student Club this Thursday, March 26, beginning at 7:00 PM, at Prof. R. Dykstra’s house.  They plan to discuss the first entry in the book, The Rock Whence We are Hewn.  The contribution is divided into five chapters and is the transcription and translation of a speech by Rev. H. Danhof entitled “The Idea of the Covenant of Grace.” (This year is the centennial of the publication of that speech.)

  • Are you in need of some good Reformed books to read, Bible study materials or seminary publications to use? Come and visit the seminary's bookstore! We have a variety of Bibles, commentaries, and good books - used and new - for our members and friends. And you may also make use of our library - here's the link to our online catalog if you wish to search for something to read or use.

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 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 30th. 

  • Need for Ministers: Synod 2019 took a decision to place the urgent need for seminary students before our churches. Please remember in your prayers to petition the Lord of the harvest for pastors, and please encourage young men, whom you observe to have the gifts, to consider the ministry. If you wish to listen to a couple of sermons by our professors that address this need, listen to "The (Suffering) Minister's Steadfast Confession" and "The Beautiful Feet of the Gospel Preacher."

ephesians 4 3 2

Let us remember to pray for our fellow saints throughout the world!

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be mentioned:
    • Concerning pulpit supply from the PRC, our sister church had this update in today's bulletin: This past Wednesday, our Government has announced more measures in an effort to try to contain the spread of COVID-19 by restricting travelling abroad and for those entering / returning to Singapore. One of which is the “Stay Home Notice (SHN)” for all short-term visitors entering Singapore. This would mean that the PRCA’s ministers scheduled to provide pulpit supply would not be able to come into Singapore, unless they serve a 14 days SHN upon arrival. Session felt that we should not subject our ministers to this notice. Therefore, Rev Marcus’s trip is cancelled. Rev Mahtani can wait for a little longer before deciding whether to cancel his trip should the SHN be not lifted.
    • *The February 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia - was posted recently and may be found on this page. 
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. Stewart led Covenant's services today.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Join Reformed believers from around the world at the 2020 British Reformed Fellowship family conference at Castlewellan Castle in Northern Ireland from Saturday, July 11 to Saturday, July 18.  Our speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning, will lecture on "Union with Christ".  For information see the website http://brfconference.weebly.com or contact Briana Prins at 616-214-2779;  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Rooms are filling quickly, so complete your booking form today!
    • Read the new February 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!

  • Concerning the PRC in the Philippines, the following may be gleaned from the bulletins of the Berean PRC, PRC in Bulacan, Maranatha PRC, and Provident CC:
    • Congregational and Denominational News:

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. R. Smit, our missionary will lead us in both Worship Services. D.V. You may join us in our Worship Services via Facebook: Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church. This is in compliance to the declaration of our President to have a self-quarantine (total lock-down) that is to stay at home to avoid contamination of that virus with other person. This will take affect in the wholeIsland of the Philippines from March 15 to April 12, 2020.

~ Provident PRC: (From the elders): All our church activities are still postponed in light of the imposition of Enhanced Community Quarantine until further notice. Our Lord's Day Worship Services in our church sanctuary are still postponed but we will observe the sabbath in our households through family worship. To support and ensure this, we will be sending video links of Zion PRC with full worship services, so that we may participate and experience the whole worship services in our homes in the morning and the evening by the grace of God. We will be sending two (2) video links, the first video link for First Worship Service in the morning and the second video link for the Second Worship Service in the evening.

~ The most recent mission newsletter (January 2020) was published and distributed in February.

~ 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.

Jesus paid it all 1

What is your response to the Son of God who died on the cross for sinners? Do you revile Him or revere Him? Read this resource to learn more.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • The Reformed Book Outlet will be closed through April 4 for the safety of our volunteers. If you need to place an order or have questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will not be answering the phone. Thank you.

  • Are you looking for good Reformed literature and a solid Reformed and biblical magazine? Visit the Reformed Free Publishing Association's website (www.rfpa.org), where you will find information on books in all major Christian categories, as well as on the bi-monthly periodical, the Standard Bearer.

  • Would you like to learn more about the PRC and her doctrines and practices? 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.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Llisten to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Continuing this month, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC in Spokane, WA) is delivering a series on prayer, with today's message titled "The Prayer of the Christian Soldier" based on Luke 11:4. Listen to the broadcast on the station near you 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!

 young peoples convention header 2020

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • 2020 PRYP's Convention News! Registration for the 2020 Young People’s Convention opened on Monday, March 16!
  • Young Men's Conference - Young men of High School and College age, please plan to attend the GPRC Young Men’s Conference, with the theme of "Run, Fight, Lead!", on Saturday morning, April 25, from 8 am-12:00 pm, at Georgetown Protestant Reformed Church. Breakfast is included! Don’t wait, register today!  For more details and to register please visit georgetownprc.org/runfightlead

  • Future Teachers and Ministers: Information for the 2020 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 30th. 

  • The Western Young People's Retreat, hosted by the Lynden and Spokane Young Peoples, will be held July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in N. Idaho.  This is a retreat for Young People ages 13-18 (going into 9th-12th grade).  More information and registration will be available in March. Contact Rev. Kleyn at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have any questions.

Myanmar map 2

Don't forget the saints in Myanmar and the mission labors there!

PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors:

  • 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.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown led the services today.
    • (From the PRC Contact Commitee) Our sister church, the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland, reports that they have decided to close the mission station in Limerick, Ireland that they had been overseeing for the past ten years. Rev. McGeown will likely stay in Limerick for the next six months and will then, the Lord willing, move to the United States. We submit this disappointment to the good providence of God who is alone wise. Remember the saints in Limerick and Rev. McGeown in your prayers.
    • The last mission newsletter from the Limerick Reformed Fellowship - the December 2019 edition - may be found here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija.
  • Provident PRC News: The trip of our two missionaries Rev. D. Kleyn and Rev. R. Smit to Canturay Church and Inayawan Church, Sipalay, Negros Occ. to preach and teach to the two congregations is cancelled due to the Community Quarantine from March 15 to April 12, 2020. Let us remember to pray for their missionary work.
  • The newest Philippines mission newsletter has been published and posted! The January 2020 issue may be read here.
  • 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. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful and encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. In the CERC's bulletin was this notice about the work there: On the mission field, our Kolkata fellowship is also affected by the virus situation and the Indian Government has ordered a curfew from 7am to 9 pm on this Sunday to tackle coronavirus in India. The worship service in Kolkata on this Sunday will be cancelled.

Myanmar:

  • We also remember Hope PRC's (Grand Rapids, MI) support of and involvement with Rev. Titus' work in Myanmar; for his latest report, visit this page.
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