Missions of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America

This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, June 14-20, 2020 (Updated)

Ps122 1Today, June 14, is the twenty-fourth Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun worshiping publicly again, though it still be with tight COVID-19 restrictions (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). As more of our churches re-open for public worship and others wait for permission (especially our sister churches and the saints in India), we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to rest in His way. Let us remember that together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit we worship unitedly our great and glorious Father, whose grace is sufficient for all our needs.

Psalm 11:3-5,7: If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Now that we are finally able to worship together in our churches, may we have a desire and fervent prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. “I will now say, Peace be within thee.” While it is a desire expressed to the church, it is a prayer to God. Lord, reign over my mind, my heart, and the words that I speak. It is a personal prayer. The Psalmist says, “I will now say…” May it not only be the pastors in their private and congregational prayers. May it not only be the prayers of the elders as they guard the faith and life of the church. It must be the prayer of every believing child of God. “I will now say, Peace be within thee.” Each true believer needs to pray, knowing the sin within him or herself, how easily words tumble off from our lips, and how sharp and slanderous can be the written page. “God forgive me and help me to be an instrument of peace.”

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "Desiring Jerusalem's Peace" his latest special meditation

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  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, whether in full or in part, we invite you to visit the PR churches page and follow the links to the websites where the churches' livestream may be found.

  • With the work of synod this past week, there are many pulpit exchanges and pulpit supplies today. We thank the Lord for the ministry of the Word performed by our pastors, emeritus pastors, and professors. May the preaching of the gospel be precious to us and a blessing to us who hear it.

  • Rev. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC) has been considering the call to Kalamazoo PRC. Today he announced his decline of that call.

  • Last Sunday, June 7, Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC) declined the call to Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN).

  • The Council of First PRC, Edmonton has formed a new trio: Revs. G. Eriks, N. Langerak, and J. Engelsma. The congregation plans to call today from this trio. *Rev. N. Langerak has received this call.

  • The Council of Unity PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. G. Eriks, C. Haak and E. Guichelaar. A congregational meeting is scheduled for this Wednesay June 17, 2020. Rev. G. Eriks has received this call.

  • The Council of Grandville PRC made two decisions this past week regarding calling a man to serve as minister on loan to Singapore. The first was to honor the request of Covenant ERC to put on hold calling an MOL due to ongoing restrictions in Singapore. And second, to withdraw their trio of Revs. G. Eriks, E. Guichelaar, and R. Kleyn out of wisomd and courtesy to these men. May the Lord soon open the way for calling an MOL again.
  • Did you know... that
    • our Canadian congregations in Alberta have also begun worshiping again? But Rev. H. Bleyenberg and his wife continue to wait for the border to open so that they can move and take up the labors in Immanuel PRC in Lacombe, AB. Let us remain in prayer about this need.
    •  that during this time of COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines many of our churches are not using the pew Bibles and Psalters but asking members to take their own with them - whether print editions or digital ones? Here's an example from Loveland PRC's bulletin today: Members of the congregation are asked to bring Bibles and Psalters with them, or tablets/phones (in silent mode) with Bible and Psalter apps. If anyone does not have a Psalter to use, please let an usher or an elder know, and we will see that you receive one.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

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PRC Synod 2020:

  • The PRC Synod 2020 met this past week at Trinity PRC, beginning Tuesday morning and concluding Friday evening. A good spirit of peace and unity prevailed, for which we thank our God. May the Lord bless the decisons reached and prosper His work among us and through us.
  • Brief synod summary: Last Monday Trinity PRC hosted the pre-synodical worship service. Rev. Eriks preached on Mal. 3:6-8 with the theme “What Is Required of Synod 2020.” Synod convened on Tuesday morning at 8:00. Rev. Van Overloop was elected as chairman. Synod made decisions regarding its standing committees (Board of Trustees, Catechism Book Committee, Contact Committee, Domestic Mission Committee, Emeritus Committee, Finance Committee, Foreign Mission Committee, Synodical Deputies, and Theological School Committee). In its treatment of the Theological School Committee’s report, synod approved the admittance of two students into our seminary who desire to be ministers in our denomination. Synod treated three protests against decisions of Synod 2019. Synod decided not to sustain the two protests, and it declared the other protest illegal. Synod treated appeals of two individuals against the decisions of Classis East. One individual appealed two decisions of Classis East; synod decided not to sustain his appeal. The other individual’s appeal contained many different sections; synod declared one section of his appeal illegal and decided to reject the other parts of his appeal and uphold the decisions of Classis East. Synod adopted a budget for 2021 and set synodical assessments at $750 per family. Synod 2021 will convene June 8 and will be hosted by Georgetown PRC. For more details see http://www.prca.org/about/church-government/synod.

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PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements, but there are other activities that are hoped can still be carried out. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as they continue their labors this spring and summer.

  • The professors (5) were all busy at the PRC Synod this past week, serving as advisors to the various committees. For reports on this synod, visit this page.

  • Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted in Michigan, the seminary is open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf and epub) form only at present. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced. 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!

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan and his family returned safely to the States this past week. Plans are for him to begin his internship July 1 in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess.

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SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • Beloved in the Lord, let us come together again this day, joining ourselves to worship via live streaming. May our responses to singing, prayers and hearing of your word today be honoring and glorying to God. We continue to wait upon the Lord regarding His will for us on when the pandemic will end and when He is going to send us a minister on loan.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted recently. You may find it on this page.

~ Berean PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn will lead us in our worship services today via live-streaming on YouTube. Our brothers and sisters in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija will join us today in our worship services via live-stream, the Lord willing.

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. R. Smit will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila is under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) [started June 1]. The guidelines are as follows: distancing with Face masks, 21 yrs. old below and 60 yrs. old above still under the 24-hour curfew, for other people the curfew hours from 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The permitted transportations are Cars, Pickup, SUV, AUV, Van, and Buses. With this, let us pray that the Church’s worship services will return to her normal Church activities.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Holstege will preach for our morning worship service today and next Sunday. There will be a live-stream for us who cannot yet come to church due to GCQ restrictions (https://youtu.be/Bt0E3Z3fwZQ). The elders have sent a link to a worship service and sermon by Rev. Stephan Regnerus for our afternoon family worship.

~ Re the PRCP Classis: God be praised beloved for the fruitful work of the Classis of the PRCP held at Provident PRC in Provident Village, Marikina City yesterday at 9 A.M. – 6 P.M. One of the highlights of this meeting was the approval of the two brothers from PPRC... as full-time students in our Seminary with the view of serving God as Minister of the Word and Sacraments in the PRCP, the Lord willing. We pray for God’s blessings upon them and their families as they prepare for this coming school year.

~ 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.

good enough for god DLee Page 1
How can sinners possibly be accepted by the God of perfect holiness and righteousness? Read this valuable resource to learn more!

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Are you interested in the PRC? Would you like to learn more about her? 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.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. 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  is open again, with temporary limited hours. We will be open on Tuesday, 10am - 1pm, Wednesday, 1pm - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm. Please follow the guidelines that will be posted on the door when visiting the store. As always, you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any orders as well!
    The Reformed Book Outlet’s 3rd annual summer reading challenge is beginning on June 15 and will go through August 22 this year! This challenge is for adults and children, and there are prizes for completing the challenge. Visit our store or Facebook page for more details. You can sign up and pick up a packet at the store during business hours, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up and we will send you a packet!

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  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Beginning this month, Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home misisonary) will deliver the messages, with a special focus on missions. Today's message is titled "Enlarge the Place of Thy Tent" based on Isaiah 54:1,2. 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!

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June 2020 issue of Salt Shaker magazine is now available! They are celebrating 10 years - congratulations!

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.

  • The newest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.
  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still being tentatively planned for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. The facility director thinks that the camp will be open and running by then. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • 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'.

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PRC MISSION NEWS:

Domestic Labors

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Home missionary A. Spriensma recording radio messages at Seminary for the Reformed Witness Hour.

  • 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.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently 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.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published last month (May). You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of restrictions).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores plans to lead 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  quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • 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 are experiencing severe restrictions too.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This update was in CERC's bulletin recently: Likewise, do continue to pray for the saints in Kolkata as they are still in the midst of the lockdown imposed by the Indian government and as they recover from the aftermath of the cyclone three weeks ago. Pray that God will provide all the necessary means for our missionary pastor, Rev Singh, to care for His people in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • 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.
Read more...

Desiring Jerusalem's Peace

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Desiring Jerusalem's Peace

Meditation on Psalm 122: 1, 8

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD...for my brethren and companions’ sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee”

 

I used these verses this past Sunday as a call to worship when I led the worship service at Peace PRC. It was the first worship service that I have led where the whole congregation was again present. What a joy to be with fellow believers in worship of our God. We love to go to church!

But we need to pray for the peace of the church. Our Synod meets this week with various protests and appeals before them. The peace of Jerusalem is threatened. What a damper on our joy when there is division, disunity, fighting, and schism in Jerusalem, the city of peace. There is disunity because of sin and our sinful natures. Notice, the Psalmist is not praying for a peace from those outside the church who hate her. The Psalmist prays, “I will now say, peace be within thee.” It is a peace that is desired within the walls, within the gates, and within the palaces of the city of God (vs. 7).

God, a God of peace, has broken down the wall of hostility between himself and his justified people through the giving of his only begotten Son for our salvation. Jesus is the prince of peace. Christ by His Spirit gathers God’s people together in corporate worship, as various members of a body. That body is threatened and does not function well when it fights itself. I know that from my own autoimmune disease. There must be real covenant unity and harmony in the church.

This means that we love one another, pray for one another, worship the one true God in spirit and in truth. How terrible when there is disruption of that unity by snide remarks, gossip and slander against others, or the fighting over which ministers we follow. The Apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthian Church deals with the matter of disharmony and fighting: “contentions among you” (I Cor. 1:11) . One said that he was of Paul; another that he was of Apollos; one of Cephas; and still another dared to say that he was of Christ! “Is Christ divided” (I Cor. 1:13)? The elders of the church must guard against and if necessary, discipline those who bring disunity, slander, and schism in Christ’s body, the church.

Now that we are finally able to worship together in our churches, may we have a desire and fervent prayer for the peace of Jerusalem. “I will now say, Peace be within thee.” While it is a desire expressed to the church, it is a prayer to God. Lord, reign over my mind, my heart, and the words that I speak. It is a personal prayer. The Psalmist says, “I will now say…” May it not only be the pastors in their private and congregational prayers. May it not only be the prayers of the elders as they guard the faith and life of the church. It must be the prayer of every believing child of God. “I will now say, Peace be within thee.” Each true believer needs to pray, knowing the sin within him or herself, how easily words tumble off from our lips, and how sharp and slanderous can be the written page. “God forgive me and help me to be an instrument of peace.”

And of course, as Christ Jesus came to fulfill the Scriptures, the words of our text are in reality the word of Jesus Himself. “I will now say, peace be within thee.” We have the confidence that God will hear us for Jesus’ sake. This humbles us, knowing that it is not our work that creates peace, but it is the grace of God and the Spirit of Christ working in the hearts and minds of believers.

Why is it that we pray for the peace of the church? We love the church. The Psalmist says, “For my brethren and companions’ sake, I will now say, Peace be within thee.” We desire and pray for peace because of the glory of God is at stake. God hates division, strife, and fighting in His church. God is glorified when God’s saints love and labor together in the gospel because it is all possible by His Word and Spirit.

We desire and pray for Jerusalem’s peace because we care for one another as saints. There is an unbreakable bond between brothers and sisters in the church family. We do not just care about our own interests, but we uphold one another in our thoughts and prayers. As brothers and sisters in faith, we prosper (vs. 7) when there is peace. When there is fighting, suspicion of one another, and even avoidance of one another, the joy of worshipping together is seriously hurt.

We desire and pray for peace in the church for our witness before the world. How our enemies are filled with derision when they hear or see fighting, slander, and disunity among God’s people. Why would anyone want to attach themselves with that kind of body? Why would even our children desire to remain in that kind of body? Those who trouble the church do not show a love for God, a love for Jesus Christ, or love for their fellow saints. There will always be conflicts in the church because we are sinners who have to daily fight against our sinful natures. We forgive one another for our sinful attitudes, words, and actions. Redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and indwelt with his Spirit and Word, we strive for, desire, labor, and pray for the peace of house of God.

“How good and pleasant is the sight when brethren make it their delight to dwell in blest accord;

Such love in peace and joy distils, As o’er the slopes of Hermon’s hills refreshing dew descends:

The Lord command his blessing there, And they that walk in love shall share, In life that never ends” (Psalm 133).

 

Read more...

PRC Synod 2020 - Day 4 (Friday, June 12)

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Aerial view of the host church, Trinity PRC (thanks to Nick Kleyn's drone!)

The PRC Synod of 2020 held its fourth and final session today at Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI.

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Officers of synod: Revs.R. Kleyn (V.P), R. Van Overloop (Pres.), C. Spronk (1st clerk), J. Engelsma (2nd clerk)

Synod 2020 Highlights Friday, June 12

Synod spent a large part of the day treating an individual’s appeal which contained several different parts. One part was declared not legally before synod, and after careful deliberation the other legal parts were not sustained.

Synod approved the work of the Special Synodical Committee to Assist Hope PRC, declared that they had fulfilled their mandate, and disbanded the Committee.

Regarding the work of the Domestic Mission Committee, Synod did the following:

• Approved the work of Byron Center PRC Council and the DMC, and expressed appreciation for the work of our home missionary, Rev. Spriensma.

• Mandated the DMC to report to Synod next year with ways that it has increased their efforts to establish a concrete field of labor for the missionary.

• Expressed thanks for the work of Chuck Terpstra and Alex Postma on the website.

• Mandated the DMC to report to Synod 2021 with concrete plans and budget for professionally updating and maintaining our website.

Synod approved “Affirmations Regarding Marriage, Sexuality, and Gender Identity” for the greater legal protection of our denomination.

Synod approved the work of the Stated Clerk, Rev. Van Overloop, and thanked him for his work.

Synod approved the emeritation requests of our emeritus ministers and the widows of ministers.

Synod approved subsidy requests from 7 congregations.


Synod expressed thanks to our Synodical Treasurer, Don Offringa, and Bookkeeper, Pamela Bos, for their labors.

Synod adopted a budget for 2021 and set synodical assessments at $750 per family, down $25 from 2020. Synod carried out annual elections for various committees. Synod set June 8, 2021, as the date for next year’s synod, to be held at Georgetown PRC.

The President, Rev. Van Overloop, concluded by expressing appreciation for the exemplary way in which the delegates worked together on behalf of the churches, and the Vice-President, Rev. R. Kleyn, led the delegates in prayer, thanking God for the strength to do the work and asking for his blessing upon it.

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Committee I

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Committee II

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Committee III

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Committee IV

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Committee V

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Seminary professors

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 Thanks to John Van Baren for all the "official" synod pics!

PRC Synod 2020 - Day 3 (Thursday, June 11)

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The PRC Synod 2020 held its third session today, Thursday June 11, at Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI.

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One of the great traditions of synod is the opening devotions, including the singing, sometimes accompanied, sometimes acapella.

It was photo day during coffee break this morning. Below is a couple of sample of the group picture.

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Group pic 1

Here is today's summary of synod's work:

This morning Synod dealt with the report of the Theological School Committee.

• Synod approved two men being admitted to our seminary this coming school year. Both are seeking the ministry in our churches.

• Synod approved the request of the TSC that Prof. Huizinga be granted an additional year in his transition to teaching full-time so that he can take a two-year course of theological Dutch.

• Synod expressed thanks for the work of the five professors, Mr. Chuck Terpstra, and Ms. Sharon Kleyn in our seminary.

• Prof. Cammenga was appointed to a three-year term as rector.

• Synod instructed the Stated Clerk in his letter to the churches to include a notice of the urgent need for seminary students.

Synod also approved the work and disbursements of the Student Aid Committee.

Synod appointed a PRC Psalter Revision Review Committee of nine members of our churches. They were tasked with evaluating all the proposed revisions to the Psalter and making recommendations to synod regarding adopting these proposed revisions.

Synod had before it two protests of decisions of Synod 2019. Synod decided not to sustain both protests.

Synod approved several new memory work schedules for Juniors and Seniors catechism classes, and mandated the Catechism Book Committee to propose to Synod 2021 the layout of new catechism books implementing the approved memory work schedules. Synod thanked Prof. Cammenga and Rev. den Hartog for their careful and diligent work on these memory work schedules.

And a few other candid photos taken.

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Elder R. Gritters and brother Prof. B. Gritters

Elder JRegnerus

Elder J. Regnerus (Doon, IA - Is the coffee as good as it is in NW Iowa?)

WLangerak NKleyn

Rev. W. Langerak (who's texting me now?!)

Elders JLenting BLooyenga

Elders J. Lenting (Crete PRC) and B. Looyenga (Zion PRC)

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Coffee-break chat: Revs. R. Barnhill and J. Engelsma, elder B. Gritters (Hull PRC)

PRC Synod 2020 - Day 2 (Wednesday, June 10)

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This morning the 2020 Synod of the PRC continued its sessions at Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI.

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Synod's officers ready to work

The following is the clerk's summary of the day's actions and decisions:

Wednesday, June 10

  • Synod began the day today treating two protests of an individual against decisions of
    Classis East. Synod decided not to sustain both protests.
  • A protest against a decision of Synod 2019 was declared illegal.
  • Regarding the work of the Foreign Mission Committee synod:
    • approved the work of Doon PRC and the FMC in the Philippines
    • expressed gratitude to Rev. and Mrs. Holstege, Rev. and Mrs. Kleyn, & Rev. and Mrs. Smit and
      their families for their faithful service in the cause of the mission work in the Philippines
    • approved a six month furlough for the Holsteges
    • approved the work of the FMC in its work in Myanmar with Hope PRC (Walker, MI), and its work in
      India with Georgetown PRC
    • approved asking the churches to take 2 collections for foreign missions and 1 collection for the
      Philippine book fund in 2021
  • Synod approved the work of the Contact Committee in its work with the following
    contacts:
    • sister churches in Northern Ireland, Singapore, and the Philippines
    • the EPC in Australia
    • the BERG in Giessen Germany along with another congregation in Osnabruk Germany
    • the United Reformed Church in North America
    • in South Korea
    • in Mexico
    • in Namibia and South Africa
    • Synod approved the work of the Contact Committee in sending a delegation to the
      2019 meeting of NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council).
      Approval was also given to the recommendation to accept the invitation to send two
      observers to the meeting of NAPARC in 2020.

4 men CSRDRVOJE
Rev. C. Spronk, Prof. R. Dykstra, Rev. R. Van Overloop, Rev. J. Engelsma

four men SMBGGERK
Elder S. Miedema, Rev. G. Eriks, Rev. R. Kleyn, Prof. B. Gritters

DKregel GEriks
Elder D. Kregel and Rev. G. Eriks

PRC Synod 2020 - Day 1 (Tuesday June 9)

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This morning the 2020 Synod of the PRC convened in Trinity PRC in Hudsonville, MI.

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At the pre-synodical service Monday night, Rev. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC) preached from Micah 6:8, setting the theme for this year's body: "He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

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In the opening session the following officers were chosen: Rev. R. Van Overloop, President; Rev. R. Kleyn, Vice-president; Rev. C. Spronk, 1st clerk; Rev. J. Engelsma, 2nd clerk.

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The new chair then addressed the delegates.

RVO address delegates

The Committee of committees was appointed to divide and assign the work of synod.

Committees report

BLooyenga CGriess

Elder B. Looyenga and Rev. C. Griess

clerka Spronk Engelsma

The Clerks - Rev. J. Engelsma and Rev. C. Spronk

EGuichelaar RBarnhill

Revs. E. Guichelaar and R. Barnhill

GFeenstra JLaning

Elder G. Feenstra and Rev. J. Laning

 Here follows the report of the clerk on Day 1:

  • Rev. Garry Eriks, president of Synod 2019 led the pre-synodical service last night, preaching on Micah 6:6-8, “What Is Required of Synod 2020.” This morning he led synod in opening devotions and declared synod properly constituted, after the credentials of the delegates were read and approved.
  • Delegates of synod are Revs. Eriks, Griess, B. Langerak, Spronk, & Van Overloop and elders Rick Gritters, Nick Kleyn, Dave Kregel, Brendan Looyenga, and Sid Miedema from Classis East. Delegates from Classis West are Revs. Barnhill, J. Engelsma, Guichelaar, R. Kleyn, & Laning and elders Glenn Feenstra, Brian Gritters, Jim Lenting, Jim Regnerus, and Alan Van Bemmel.
  • The officers of Synod 2020 are President—Rev. Van Overloop; Vice President— Rodney Kleyn; 1st Clerk—Rev. Spronk; 2nd Clerk—Rev. Engelsma.
  • Present at synod as advisors are Profs. Cammenga, Dykstra, Gritters, Huizinga, and Kuiper.
  • Chairman Rev. Van Overloop noted with regret that because of the restrictions due to Covid-19 synod is not able to enjoy the fellowship and advice of delegates from sister churches.
  • Approval was given to the work of the Board of Trustees in assisting Trinity PRC in determining that synod should meet because “the meeting of the synod of the PRCA is essential for the execution of the business of the Protestant Reformed Churches in America as a denomination.” The ground given for this determination, which allows synod to meet even though the Executive Orders of Michigan’s governor only allows for meetings of 10 people or less, is that the By-Laws of the PRCA designate synod to be the only body which conducts the business of synod.
  • Synod also approved a recommendation to adopt restrictions proposed by Trinity PRC. One of the restrictions mandates that attendance in the facility is restricted to delegates, advisors, the staff of Trinity PRC, the appellants and protestants, numbering no more than 35 persons.
  • Synod declared the protests against decisions of Synod 2019 of two individuals regarding Psalter Revision to be legal.
  • Synod declared an appeal against Classis East to be legal.

Seize the Little Foxes That Spoil the Vines!

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

Meditation - "Seize the Little Foxes That Spoil the Vines!"

Song of Solomon 2:15 - “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.”

 

It is springtime; not only now in Michigan, but also in this passage of God’s Word. “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over, and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of the birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land” (vs. 11,12). I love Spring! Sitting the other morning on my front lawn, I saw a fox walk out of the woods with its prey in its mouth. A beautiful, sly creature, it crept across the lawn, looked around, and then continued on its way.

Why is God’s Word warning us to “take up the fox that spoil the vines”? What does that have to do with the love poem of the Song of Songs? Solomon is comparing his love and devotion for the Shulamite woman to his love and care of his vineyard. A lot of planning, work, and tender care is expended in the marriage relationship, and so also in the care of a vineyard. These both are earthly things that God has created to be a picture of his relationship to his church in Jesus Christ.

Often the church is compared to a vineyard. Just a couple of examples from the Old and New Testament are Isaiah 5:1-7 and Matt. 21:33ff. God expects the fruit of judgment, righteousness, and thankfulness from his church. In Old Testament Israel, instead of grapes there were only wild grapes. In the Matthew 21 passage, the Old Testament prophets as husbandmen did not bring to God the fruit of the land. And when he sends his own son, the Pharisees kill him.

Now in our text, the bridegroom says, “Take us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vine.” The vine is the church. Little foxes spoil the vines, especially the vines that are blossoming with buds. What are these foxes? Most commentators see these foxes as false teachers who undermine the fruitfulness of the church. We read in Ezekiel 13:4, “O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the desert.” This most likely refers to jackals, scavengers; the simile stresses the selfish, greedy, and callous nature of the false prophets. Yes, false teachers and doctrines are indeed a tool of Satan to bring destruction and disarray in God’s vineyard. But the text speaks of “little foxes.” It is springtime, and there are these cute young little foxes. How fun to watch them dart around and roll in the grass. Surely, little foxes cannot be so dangerous. Little foxes are symbolic, representing all that would spoil and damage the church, so that they do not bring forth the fruit that is expected. The power of darkness wants to destroy the work of God in his vineyard. While the church will not be destroyed, it can be damaged by the little foxes.

Do you see in the church how pride could be such a little fox? How can you put your finger on it? It is not a censurable sin. How about a critical attitude, is that so bad? Let us go on to see and recognize other little foxes: covetous thoughts, slander, bitterness, envy, wrath, a combative attitude, too high an opinion of self or one’s own thoughts, condemning others, self-love, personal agendas, or anything that disrupts the unity of the church. How the devil delights to take these sins to bring saint against saint, church against church. Is sabbath desecration or the entertainment that you watch or listen to leading you to distance your self from the fellowship of the church? While in our homes in the past months, one could listen to a sermon with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cinnamon roll in the other. How easy it was. Now that we can finally return to worship in church, will it seem to some that the leeks and garlic of Egypt are preferable?

The calling of Christ to us is to seize those foxes in our lives and in our families. Maybe it is friends that are leading us astray. We must cast out of our homes, lives, and churches whatever hinders the fruit that we are to bear.

What do we do to one another in the church, and especially to the blossoming vines, the young children? Do we speak evil of other church members or voice church disagreements that we might have in front of our impressionable children? How little foxes can damage the roots of the vines or knock the blossoms off from the vine! What a terrible witness we can be at a time when we are trying to evangelize and bring others to Christ!

The words, “Take us” in our passage is one word in the Hebrew which means to seize, to catch, to take up, trap those little foxes and remove them from the vineyard. Around the outside edge of the vineyard would be hedges to keep others from intruding or harming the vineyard. In the center of the vineyard would be a tower with a watchman inside to guard the vineyard. Are we being watchful? What things are bringing ruin and being destructive for Christ’s vineyard? As the husbandman must care for the vineyard lest the weeds take over, so we also need to weed out, seize, grab, and catch these little foxes that spoil the vineyard. These little foxes can be so elusive and so stubborn, not easy to catch and remove. May the elders in the church be diligent watchmen in removing the little foxes that disrupt the life of the church.

Diligent prayer, a searching of the Word of God, and a searching of our own hearts and lives are necessary. Cast out whatever hinders us from being a well-tended vineyard that produces the abundant fruit of thanksgiving. There will be grapes to harvest in the way of repentance and God’s forgiveness of us and our forgiveness of one another. Oh, that is easy to say, but it is so hard to do! How we need to fly to Jesus Christ our Savior! How we need to mortify our flesh, putting off all these: “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” How desperately we need humility and the denying of self. “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Col. 2 12-15).

 

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, June 7-13, 2020

Philippians 4 7Today, June 7, is the twenty-third Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun worshiping publicly again, though it still be with tight COVID-19 restrictions (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). As more of our churches re-open for public worship and others wait for permission (especially our sister churches and the saints in India), we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to be content in His way. And may we together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit continue to worship our unchanging Father, whose grace is sufficient for all our needs.

Psalm 42:1,2,5 - As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

God reveals in His Word and sacraments His great love to us. By faith, we know that love. Faith is a sure knowledge of all that God reveals in His Word, and a hearty confidence, that not only for others, but for me also is by His grace forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and the hope of eternal life. There is certainty because it is Christ that brought me to the banqueting house. It is not I who with a fickle love chose Him. It is not I who by my own beauty allured Him. It is not by my works performed that drew His attention. No, He, by His grace and mercy, sought me and bought me and brought me to His house of wine. By faith, I experience this love and break forth in singing! There is no doubt or fear in the child of God regarding Christ’s love for us. It is certain!

~ Rev. A. Spriensma in "His Banner over Me Was Love," his latest special meditation

***********************

  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, these PRCs are live-streaming services (whether full or partial). You are encouraged to worship with one of these congregations: Byron Center PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM (EST); Calvary PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM CDT;  Crete PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM CDT; Doon PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM; Faith PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST); First PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); First PRC-Holland at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM; Georgetown PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Grace PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM EST; Hope PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Hope PRC-Redlands, CA at 10 AM and 5 PM (PST); Hudsonville PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST; Hull PRC at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM; Loveland PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM MST; Lynden PRC at 10:00 AM PST; Pittsburgh PRC at 9:30 and 5 PM EST; Southeast PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM EST; Southwest PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 (EST); Trinity PRC at 9:30 and 5:00 (EST); Zion PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST).

  • Rev. J. Mahtani was installed this morning as the thirteenth pastor in the history of Hope PRC-GR (Walker). Rev. C. Haak led the service. Tonight Rev. Mahtani will preach his inaugural sermon.

  • Today Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC) declined the call to Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN).

  • Rev. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC) is considering the call to Kalamazoo PRC (received May 18).

  • Last Sunday Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) declined the call to First PRC of Edmonton, AB.

  • The Council of First PRC, Edmonton has formed a new trio: Revs. G. Eriks, N. Langerak, and J. Engelsma. The congregation plans to call June 14 from this trio.

  • The Council of Unity PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. G. Eriks, C. Haak and E. Guichelaar. A congregational meeting is scheduled for June 17, 2020, 7:30 PM, Lord willing.

  • The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio for minister on loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). Due to continued restrictions in Singapore, the CERC has asked that the calling of a new minister on loan be put on hold for now.
  • Did you know... that
    • Hope PRC (Walker, MI) met in Covenant CHS gym today so that the whole congregation may worship and witness the installation and inaugural sermon of her new pastor, Rev. Jon Mahtani, and still maintain social distancing?
    • Zion PRC (Jenison, MI) returned to public worship for the first time today, while Doon PRC (IA) has expanded to two-thirds (from one half) the number of congregants who may attend each worship service?

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

TrinityPRC new sanctuary 2018
Trinity PRC, Hudsonville, MI, host of PRC Synod 2020

PRC Synod 2020:

  • The Board of Trustees and the Council of Trinity Protestant Reformed Church (the convening church for Synod 2020) have been forced to make restrictions on the meetings of the synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches which begins its meetings on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic and the consequent Executive Orders of Michigan’s governor make it necessary to limit the attendance at synod’s meetings to “those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary” (Executive Order 2020-77) to conduct the business of synod, i.e., the delegates, the advisors, the staff of Trinity PRC, the appellants and protestants, which number shall be no more than 35 persons. Those who attend must observe COVID-19 safety protocol. Attendance at the pre-synodical worship service on Monday, June 8, is limited to the delegates, the advisors, the Council members of Trinity PRC and their spouses, but it will be live-streamed. We accept this as the will of our heavenly Father for the meetings of this year’s synod, and ask that you remember the meetings of synod in your prayers.
  • Watch for daily reports on Synod's work at this page of the PRC website.

Sem front May 2020 1

PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and has entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements, but there are other activities that are hoped can still be carried out. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as they continue their labors this spring and summer.

  • Now that the stay-at-home order has been lifted in Michigan, the seminary is open daily for any needs our members and friends may have. Feel free to call or email the seminary if you wish to have your needs fulfilled in other ways.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf and epub) form only at present. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced. 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!

  • Seminarian Josiah Tan and his family plan to return to the States this week. Plans are for him to begin his internship July 1 in First PRC under Rev. C. Griess.

ephesians 4 3

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • We are now in the phase one of the post circuit breaker period and the authority has not lifted the restrictions on public worship and overseas travel. As these measures continue to affect our pulpit supply, our calling of MOL and coming together again physically to worship, pray that we have a quiet and peaceful heart to wait upon the Lord to bring to pass all these restrictions. Pray that God will sustain us in our waiting and that we put our trust in the Lord and His mercy, knowing that His will is always good for us.
    • Pray for journey mercies for brother Josiah and his family as they leave Singapore for US on Thursday, 11 Jun 20, this week. Brother Josiah will soon begin his internship under Rev. Cory Griess, in First PRC of Grand Rapids. Pray that God will use this internship to further develop his gifts and grant him a profitable experience so as to prepare him for the ministry of the Word.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted recently. You may find it on this page.

~ Berean PRC: Rev. D. Kleyn 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 live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila is under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) [started June 1]. The guidelines are as follows: distancing with Face masks, 21 yrs. old below and 60 yrs. old above still under the 24-hour curfew, for other people the curfew hours from 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The permitted transportations are Cars, Pickup, SUV, AUV, Van, and Buses.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. Holstege will livestream for our morning family worship today (https://youtu.be/SnquWdDGMXE). The elders have sent a link to a worship service with a sermon by Rev. Rodney Kleyn for our afternoon family worship.

Next Sunday (June 14), Lord willing, we will have one regular worship service at 9:00 am for those who are able to attend according to the IATF guidelines for modified GCQ. The worship service will also be livestreamed for those who cannot attend. Rev. Holstege will preach for us, DV.

The Essentials of Reformed Doctrine class will resume today at 1:30 on Zoom.... All the youth should prepare to join on their computer or other device at home. They will learn Lesson 12.

~ The PRCP Classis is scheduled to meet in our church building this Friday, June 12, but in compliance with the requirements of the GCQ.

~ 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.

Faith Practice SKey
Do you desire to know more of what the PRC holds to doctrinally and practically? Read this valuable resource to learn more!

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Are you interested in the PRC? Would you like to learn more about her? 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.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. 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 is making plans to re-open soon - stay tuned for details! 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.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday - on a radio station near you or on Sermonaudio wherever you are!
    • Beginning this month, Rev. A. Spriensma (PRC home misisonary) will deliver the messages, with a special focus on missions. Today's message is titled "The God-Sent Ones" based on John 17:18. 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!

 SS June 2020 cover
June 2020 issue of Salt Shaker magazine has just been released!

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.

  • The newest issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the June 2020 issue here.
  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still being tentatively planned for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. The facility director thinks that the camp will be open and running by then. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • 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'.

Matthew 28 19 20

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.
    • 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. You may find those here.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently 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.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published last month (May). You may find that here.

Philippine Missions:

  • Berean PRC News: This congregation continues to work in Gabaldon, Nueve Ecija (the saints join Berean PRC services via live-stream during this time of confinement).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores plans to lead 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  quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • 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 are experiencing severe restrictions too, besides a recent locust infestation and more.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: Likewise, do continue to pray for the saints in Kolkata as they are still in the midst of the lockdown imposed by the Indian government and as they recover from the aftermath of the cyclone three weeks ago. Pray that God will provide all the necessary means for our missionary pastor, Rev Singh, to care for His people in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • We 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.
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His Banner Over Me Was Love

This special meditation has been prepared by PRC home missionary, Rev. Aud Spriensma.

His Banner Over Me Was Love

Song of Solomon 2:4 - “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.”

 

Many of us have been cooped up in our homes, unable to socialize or worse, not able to enjoy the fellowship of the saints worshiping together in God’s house. Oh, how good it is now that we can once again go to church twice on Sundays.

This book is a song sung between King Solomon and the Shulamite. As they sing together of their great love for each other, they are a picture of the love between Jesus Christ and His church. It is an intimate love, longing for each other and delighting in one another. The bridegroom’s left hand is under her head, and with his right hand he caresses her. He whispers his love to his bride, and the bride expresses her love to him. We have a celebration of Christ’s love for His church and every individual believer personally. “His banner over me is love.”

Can we know this love, not only intellectually but also experientially? Do you know it? We can! He tells us of His love. That is what make worship so joyful. At the beginning of the worship service, He says to his bride, “Beloved.” The gospel is preached, and He tells us that though we are black, we are comely (Chap. 1:5). We are black or dark with sin. We are black with suffering persecution, as one forced to work long under the hot sun; compared to the dwellings of nomadic Arabians in the desert. Outwardly, the true church is not glorious but suffers in this world, especially from hypocrites; yet she has true, inward beauty. She is washed from her sins, delivered from the power of sin, clothed with the righteousness of Christ Jesus.

The relationship between Christ and His people is not merely one of faith or service, important as these are. Believers are loved by Christ , and they in turn, love their Lord. We know that love because the gospel reveals it. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:9,10). We know it through the preaching of the gospel. We know it when we celebrate the sacraments. Oh, how we love coming back again to worship in church!

“He brought me into the banqueting house.” How did he bring us? He chose us in eternity to be the bride of Christ. Christ Jesus suffered and died to purchase us as His bride. By His Spirit and by His Word He draws us to Himself in faith and love. The literal wording in Hebrew for “banqueting house” is “house of wine.” Wine is the symbol of joy, happiness, fullness, and exuberance. The wife of Solomon says, “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love” (Chap. 2:5). This expression means ‘love sick’—being full of and satisfied with His love. This must be the song of Christ’s bride, the church, and every individual believer within her.

God reveals in His Word and sacraments His great love to us. By faith, we know that love. Faith is a sure knowledge of all that God reveals in His Word, and a hearty confidence, that not only for others, but for me also is by His grace forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and the hope of eternal life. There is certainty because it is Christ that brought me to the banqueting house. It is not I who with a fickle love chose Him. It is not I who by my own beauty allured Him. It is not by my works performed that drew His attention. No, He, by His grace and mercy, sought me and bought me and brought me to His house of wine. By faith, I experience this love and break forth in singing! There is no doubt or fear in the child of God regarding Christ’s love for us. It is certain!

But we do not always walk on that high plain, do we? There are times that we wonder and even question His love. The Shulamite woke up in the night and did not find Solomon in bed with her. She stated “I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.” So also, the Church and individual believers at times question, “Where is my beloved?” It seems that He is gone from us, gone from the bed of intimacy. When we walk in the way of sin, we will not experience God’s favor or love. He will seem far from us, just as we do not feel the sun’s light and warmth when a cloud covers it.

David surely experienced this when he was walking in sin. By withdrawing from us, Christ causes us to seek Him, to seek Him diligently.

How delightful is knowledge of Christ’s love for His bride, the church: more lovely than the earthly love of a husband for his wife. We read in vs. 5 and 6, “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.” The result of knowing Christ’s love is comfort, satisfaction, joy, and peace. Completely satisfied, more so that any other comfort can bring. We go up to God’s house feasting, feasting on Christ Jesus in the word preached and the sacraments portrayed and enjoyed. May you and I be overwhelmed as we worship and live before Him.

Read The Song of Solomon. The expressions used in this wonderful book speak of physical love and describe the gestures and attitudes that are familiar to us in our human understanding of marital love. God has seen fit to represent His love for His people in the institution of marriage (Eph. 5:22-33). Yet the love of God in Christ Jesus transcends all earthly relationships. His love is eternal, infinite, and unchanging.

Experiencing Christ’s love for us, my we sing:

Thy love to me, O Christ, Thy love to me,

Not mine to Thee I plead, Not mine to Thee.

This is my comfort strong, this is my joyful song,

Thy love to me, thy love to me.

 

Thy record I believe, Thy word to me;

Thy love I now receive, full, changeless, free-

Love from the sinless Son, Love to the sinful one,

Thy love to me, Thy love to me.

 

 

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This Week's PRC and Sister-Church News, May 31-June 6, 2020

John 14 16Today, May 31, is the twenty-second Lord's Day of 2020; we may note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, sister churches, and mission fields.

Today is also Pentecost Sunday, the day we mark our ascended Lord's gift of the Holy Spirit (and all the riches of His grace) to us His church and people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. May we celebrate this event with the joy of the Spirit, magnifying our Savior for all the treasures of salvation He has obtained for us and bestowed on us through His Messenger.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. ~ John 14:16-18

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We rejoice with those PR congregations and fellow saints who have begun and may begin worshiping publicly again, though it be with tight restrictions yet (smaller numbers, social distancing, masking, etc.). More of our churches are beginning for the first time today (and in the weeks ahead), while in other parts (Indiana, Iowa, and Loveland, CO, and in Canada, for example) some are continuing with varying numbers of the congregation.

As many of our congregations and fellow believers (including our sister churches in the UK, the Philippines, and Singapore) continue to experience the temporary loss of this freedom, we pray for grace to wait on the Lord and to be content in His way until these restrictions are removed. And may we together - from church sanctuary and from home - through Jesus Christ and by His Spirit continue to worship our unchanging Father, whose grace is sufficient for all our needs.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Now what does all this have to do with Pentecost? Or perhaps we should put the question this way: what does Pentecost have to do with all of this? 

The answer is that it was on Pentecost day that all that we have described concerning the office of believers became reality through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the exalted Christ upon the church. This is pointed to specifically with respect to the office of prophet by the Apostle Peter, according to the passage in Acts 2 which we quoted at the beginning of this discussion. When the Spirit was poured out as the Spirit of the exalted Christ, the prophecy of Joel 2 was fulfilled. The effect was that all God's people became prophets—sons and daughters, old men and young men, servants and handmaidens. And the same was true with respect to the office of priest and king. 

This marked a tremendous change in the life of the church. It introduced something which was heretofore unheard of and never before experienced. We are accustomed to the fact that all Gods people have a three-fold office—perhaps too accustomed sometimes. For that reason, too, we probably do not always appreciate Pentecost as we should.

~ Homer C. Hoeksema in "The Office of Believer and Pentecost"

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  • For those who may still be limited to house worship, these PRCs are live-streaming services today (whether full or partial). You are encouraged to worship with one of these congregations: Byron Center PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM (EST); Calvary PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM CDT;  Crete PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM CDT; Doon PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM; Faith PRC at 9:00 AM and 5:30 PM (EST); First PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); First PRC-Holland at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM; Georgetown PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Grace PRC at 9:30 AM and 5 PM EST; Hope PRC-GR at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM (EST); Hope PRC-Redlands, CA at 10 AM and 5 PM (PST); Hudsonville PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM EST; Hull PRC at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM; Loveland PRC at 9:30 AM and 6 PM MST; Lynden PRC at 10:00 AM PST; Pittsburgh PRC at 9:30 and 5 PM EST; Southeast PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:00 PM EST; Southwest PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 (EST); Trinity PRC at 9:30 and 5:00 (EST); Zion PRC at 9:30 AM and 5:30 PM (EST).

  • Rev. R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC) is considering the call to Cornerstone PRC (Dyer, IN; (received May 17).

  • Rev. C. Haak (Georgetown PRC) is considering the call to Kalamazoo PRC (received May 18).

  • Rev. E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC) is considering the call to First PRC of Edmonton, AB (received May 3)..

  • On May 3 Rev. J. Mahtani accepted the call to Hope PRC-GR. Lord willing, he will be installed on Sunday June 7, with Rev. C. Haak leading the service.

  • The Council of Unity PRC has formed a new trio from which to call a pastor: Revs. G. Eriks, C. Haak and E. Guichelaar. A congregational meeting is scheduled for June 17, 2020, 7:30 PM, Lord willing.

  • The Council of Grandville PRC has formed a new trio for minister on loan to Singapore: Revs. G. Eriks (Hudsonville PRC), E. Guichelaar (Randolph PRC), and R. Kleyn (Covenant of Grace PRC). From the CERC in Singapore's bulletin we find this update: This past week, we have written to MOM to enquire about New Employment Pass (EP) application for foreigners during this COVID 19 Pandemic period. MOM replied that they will not issue any New EP during this time. Session has sent a note to Grandville PRC to request them to put on hold the extension of call for Minister on Loan (MOL) to Singapore. Let us continue to pray that the Lord, for the sake of His church, will bring to pass this Circuit Breaker period so that we can resume to request for a MOL to serve in Singapore.
  • Did you know... that
    • Edgerton (MN) PRC's Evangelism Committee "decided to broadcast the sermon series on the Lord's Prayer on KDWC 99.3 FM on Sundays at 2 PM. A new sermon will be played each week for the next several weeks. Do what you can to let others know about the opportunity to listen!"
    • the Reformed Witness Hour is available on your favorite podcast - Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes? Visit these sites and search for the RWH!

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS:

Special note re PRC Synod 2020: The Board of Trustees and the Council of Trinity Protestant Reformed Church (the convening church for Synod 2020) have been forced to make restrictions on the meetings of the synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches which begins its meetings on Tuesday, June 9, 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic and the consequent Executive Orders of Michigan’s governor make it necessary to limit the attendance at synod’s meetings to “those whose in-person presence is strictly necessary” (Executive Order 2020-77) to conduct the business of synod, i.e., the delegates, the advisors, the staff of Trinity PRC, the appellants and protestants, which number shall be no more than 35 persons. Those who attend must observe COVID-19 safety protocol. Attendance at the pre-synodical worship service on Monday, June 8, is limited to the delegates, the advisors, the Council members of Trinity PRC and their spouses, but it will be live-streamed. We accept this as the will of our heavenly Father for the meetings of this year’s synod, and ask that you remember the meetings of synod in your prayers.

Front May 2020 3PRC Seminary News:

  • The seminary has completed its second semester and has entered its spring/summer break. Some of the plans the professors and students had for the summer have changed due to COVID-19 cancellations and postponements, but there are other activities that are hoped can still be carried out. Continue to pray for faculy, students, and staff as they continue their labors this spring and summer.

  • Due to the COVID-19 restrictions (stay-at-home order now entended to June 12), seminary is open only for essential operations at this time. The staff can try to assist you with any needs, however. Call or email the seminary with your important needs.
  • The Spring 2020 issue of the PR Theological Journal is now available - in digital (pdf and epub) form only at present. Our printer has informed us that it will be a few weeks before the print edition can be produced. 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!

ProvidentChristianChurch 2014
Provident PRC in Marikina, the Philippines

SISTER-CHURCH NEWS:

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted from her bulletin today:
    • Bro Josiah Tan will bring his last message this morning. We are thankful to God for providing us, our brother to lead in worship and to speak a word of edification. Let us continue to pray for him and his family as he prepares to return to US to start his Internship and complete his seminary training. He will be leaving on 11 Jun 2020. This afternoon service, the elder will be reading a sermon based on this Psalm under the theme “This God is our God and our Guide”.
    • This past week, we have written to MOM to enquire about New Employment Pass (EP) application for foreigners during this COVID 19 Pandemic period. MOM replied that they will not issue any New EP during this time. Session has sent a note to Grandville PRC to request them to put on hold the extension of call for Minister on Loan (MOL) to Singapore. Let us continue to pray that the Lord, for the sake of His church, will bring to pass this Circuit Breaker period so that we can resume to request for a MOL to serve in Singapore.
    • The April 2020 newsletter - Reformed News Asia #59 - was published and posted recently. You may find it on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC,  the following may be noted:
    • Rev. A. stewart continues to lead the services via live-stream.
    • Read the latest CPRC newsletter - February 2020!
    • Read the new May 2020 issue of the "Covenant Reformed News"!
    • Sadly, given the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus (in God's sovereign decree), the British Reformed Fellowship (BRF) Conference has been rescheduled to (basically) the same week next year. Thus the BRF Conference will not be taking place in 2020. Instead, it is rescheduled to 10-17 July, 2021. Same venue: Castlewellan Castle (http://castlewellancastle.org/). Same theme: Union With Christ. Same speakers: Prof. Engelsma and Rev. Lanning (USA), with John Perkins (England) giving the special lecture. For more on the BRF, see https://www.britishreformed.org/

  • 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. 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.

~ PRC of Bulacan: The consistory began public services again today, with limited numbers of members present per government guidelines. We rejoice with these saints!

~ Maranatha PRC: Rev. D.Kleyn will lead us in both Worship Services live-stream via Facebook . Maranatha Protestant Reformed Church at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. D.V. Metro Manila will be under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1, 2020. The guidelines are as follows: distancing with Face masks, 21 yrs. old below and 60 yrs. old above still under the 24-hour curfew, for other people the curfew hours from 10:00 PM - 5:00 AM. The permitted transportations are Cars, Pickup, SUV, AUV, Van, and Buses.

~ Provident PRC: Rev. D. Holstege will livestream for our morning family worship today (https://youtu.be/IrzdVU5XIfM). The elders have sent a link to a worship service of Lynden PRC with a sermon by Rev. Rodney Kleyn for our afternoon family worship. ...The Council has decided to begin regular church worship services again starting on June 14, Lord willing, in compliance with the IATF guidelines for GCQ and with the following arrangement: There will be one church worship service on Sunday mornings at 9:00 a.m.

~ The Consistories of PRCP churches are consulting with one another to convene the scheduled Classis Meeting on June 12, 2020.

~ 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.

good news afflicted
Do you desire some good gospel comfort in these troublous times? Read this resource for peace and hope in Jesus Christ.

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Are you interested in PRC doctrines and practices? Would you like to learn more? 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.

  • Psalter 1912 2Psalter music available FREE: the entire collection of Psalm Choir videos and CDs is currently available free. With many PRC members and fellow saints worshiping at home due to the present pandemic, these are a valuable resource. You may find the playlists on YouTube here. And, all volumes of the Psalm Choir CDs may be found here. 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 is temporarily closed 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.

RWH Logo 2019

  • Listen 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) has some special messages based on the end of Hebrews 10. Today's message is titled "The Necessity of Church Membership" based on Hebrews 10:25. 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!

 SaltShakersLogo

ESPECIALLY FOR PRC Young People and Young Adults:

  • PRYP Convention News: With heavy hearts Georgetown PRC and the Federation Board have decided to postpone the 2020 Young People’s convention until next year. Due to the current conditions in our country, getting 500 -600 people together in one location does not seem wise at this time. The Fed Board would like to adhere to the guidelines put out by the government and we do not want to have the parents weigh the benefits of sending their child to the convention against the risk of exposing them to this virus. Georgetown PRC is planning to host the convention next year.
  • From the Beacon Lights staff: Due to our printer not being able to print the magazine right now because of COVID-19, we have decided to put the May issue of Beacon Lights on our website, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to read the month’s issue. Visit us at beaconlights.org to read the May issue.

  • A new issue of the young peoples' magazine, Salt Shaker, is available (from Singapore!). Find the April 2020 issue here.
  • The Western Young People's Retreat - Update! Lynden and Spokane Young People's Retreat is still being tentatively planned for July 14-17, 2020, at Camp Sanders in Tensed, Idaho. The facility director thinks that the camp will be open and running by then. For registration information or other questions please contact Rev. Rodney Kleyn by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • Colorado Retreat: Registration for the August 3–6 Colorado Young Adults’ Retreat has opened at www.lovelandprc.org/retreat. Registration will be open for one month, or until capacity is reached. Post-high young adults are welcome to join us August 3-6 for a young adults retreat in the Rocky Mountains. 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'.

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.
    • 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. You may find those here.
  • Limerick Reformed Fellowship News:
    • Rev. M. McGeown continues to lead the services via live-streaming during the UK's lockdown. He recently 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.
    • A new Limerick RF Newsletter was published this month (May). You may find that here.

    • (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. ...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 live-stream during this time of confinement).
  • PRC of Bulacan News: The Consistory reports that they have begun public services again in the PR Fellowship in Albuera. Rev. J. Flores plans to lead them by Zoom today (morning service only).
  • Maranatha PRC News: 

    The missionary work in Sipalay, Negros Occidental is temporarily cancelled due to the Enchancement Community Quaratine (now extended through May 30). 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  quarantine. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to carry on as best they can and be encouraged in all their labors.

India:

  • 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 are experiencing severe restrictions too, besides a recent locust infestation and more.
  • Let us pray for our sister church's work (Covenant ERC in Singapore) in Kolkata, through Rev. E. Singh. The body of Christ in that place is also deeply affected by the pandemic. Let's be in prayer for these fellow saints too. This update was in CERC's bulletin today: Do continue to pray for our brethren in Kolkata as they assess the damage suffered due to the recent super cyclone. Pray for our missionary pastor, Rev Singh as he cares for the saints in Kolkata.

Myanmar:

  • We 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.
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