The Clarion magazine issue of March 9, 2018, has a report about the recent meeting of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC) held in Jordan, Ontario. Among the many interesting things reported is a note about the four delegates of the Free Reformed Churches of North America (FRCNA) approaching the four Canadian Reformed (CanRC) delegates with the question why the FRCNA and the CanRC are no longer talking (at the level of synod and/or ecclesiastical committee). It led to the eight brothers having lunch together and agreeing that more formal effort should be put into connecting with each other. Talks petered out long ago and the eight brothers agreed it was time for them to be resumed.
This is great news. The FRCNA and the CanRC are both members of both the ICRC and the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) At the grass roots level we have come to know each other better through organizations such as ARPA and CARDUS. Hopefully we will, before long, officially recognize each other for what we surely are, sister churches. That will smooth the way for acknowledging one another's preaching, worship, and discipline as faithful to the Word of God.
We live in a post-Christian context where we increasingly need one another. We hope the brothers who met informally will be able to encourage our respective ecclesiastical contact committees to reach out to one another and to submit good recommendations to the two synods. May God bless the new talks and contact for the edification of the church of Christ!
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Thursday, March 08, 2018
Monday, March 05, 2018
Thursday, March 01, 2018
Since I published this piece I learned some more about the Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen, where my grandfather, Taeke van Popta, died of dysentry. I learned it from this web page, which is actually about my paternal grandmother, Sara Regina van Popta (nee Bruinsma), the wife of Taeke van Popta. What follows is my translation of a paragraph about the camp.
Sachsenhausen was a notorious concentration camp where between 30- and 50,000 people died of exhaustion, illness and ill-treatment. In mid-January 1945 [at the time my grandfather died there--gvp], 35,000 prisoners were crammed together in the bunk houses. A survivor later wrote that "hitting, berating and kicking" by guards was a daily occurrence. The prisoners suffered constant hunger. Harsh penalties were meted out for the slightest reason. Twenty-five or fifty strokes as punishment was not unusual. Or a time of sports would be declared, which meant that hundreds of men had to trot, jump, roll, or skip in the rain, snow, and mud for hours on the inspection field after a tiring day of work, in the wind and without food. Sometimes prisoners would be made to stand on the inspection field, for a few hours, or until midnight, even through the night and, on occasion, for two or three days. [I don't have the stomach to translate beyond this. Man's capacity for cruelty is fathomless--gvp]
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
The Canadian Reformed Missions Association (CRMA) is an association of all Canadian Reformed Churches which have mission projects at home or abroad, from Prince George to Papua New Guinea, from Manitoba to Maragogi, from Hamilton to Huangshan....
Since we sent the Rev. H. Knigge to Butiptiri, Irian Jaya, in 1960 our churches, in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, have been commissioning missionaries to preach the gospel to those who have never heard it and to those estranged from it.
One of the most important things that we at the home front can do for our missionaries is to pray for them. To help us pray knowledgeably for the work, the CRMA has created a blog on which missionaries can have information about the various projects posted. You are encouraged to consult it often to learn about the weal and the woe, the highs and lows, the joys and the fears of our missionaries and their families.
Please bookmark reformedmissions.net in your browser and subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter. Should you have any questions, please direct them to me at email@example.com.
|Student housing at Reformed Bible College in PNG. (Credit: Gerhard Visscher)|