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If your curiosity should ever prompt you to consult a map of the United States of America in order to locate Manhattan, Mon­tana, you would very likely dis­cover that to all appearances this certainly must be a very small place. For many maps do not even take the trouble to indicate the spot, and the rest are satisfied to identify it by a small dot and very small-sized letters. But, after you did discover the location of Man­hattan you would also notice that we are surrounded by mountains, which would, I suppose, make you conclude that it must be a region inhabited by “hill-billies”. That seems to be an idea generally held by our people back east.

Well, it is true that Manhattan is a very small town. We are will­ing to admit that fact gladly, es­pecially because in reality Man­hattan is not the center of our “Holland Settlement” at all. The greater majority of the “Dutch­men” in our Gallatin Valley sel­dom come into Manhattan, but do most of their business in the near­by city of Bozeman. Two small communities called “Church Hill” and “Amsterdam” serve as the re­ligious and business centers for our people. Manhattan is merely our mailing address.

As to the idea that we are all “hill-billies” we say: “Nix”. Even though we might be isolated geo­graphically we are not in need of pity. The main line of the North­ern Pacific Railway runs through our valley as well as Transconti­nental Highway No. 10. Nor are we far distant from the Yellow­stone National Park, which brings many people from the eastern part of our nation to our vicinity. We insist that we catch on to their peculiarities rapidly. In fact, since we are some four or five thousand feet higher than most places back east, we are apt to feel a bit exalted rather than anything else.

There are two churches on “Church Hill”, the Christian Re­formed and our own Protestant Re­formed. We were organized, as you will remember, just a few years ago with eleven families. At the present time, we number about seventeen families, while our Sunday services are very regularly augmented by other families. An increase in membership was also our experience in our Young People’s Society. Our first meet­ings were attended by about four­teen members, while at the present time our roll lists thirty members. Our church is also blessed in that there are many small children, all of which means that we have good prospects of future internal growth.

Our society is very active. We meet Sunday evenings in the Church auditorium. Our meetings are usually run off in the following order: the period before recess is devoted to discussion of the Bible lesson outlined by Rev. P. De Boer in “Beacon Lights”, after recess we have our business matters, and a program. The program differs from week to week, except that regularly one program each month we have what is called “Question Week”. On this occasion, our pas­tor, Rev. H. De Wolf, answers the questions found in our “Question Box”. Otherwise an essay, read­ing, impromptu speeches or a musi­cal number fill up that time. Just recently we have introduced the idea of critics to our program. Two members are called upon to offer their criticisms after the program. This seems to be working out very successfully. I should add that we meet through-out the year, without a “vacation”. During the summer months, our Bible discussion is con­cerned with some book of the Bible. This past summer we covered a good portion of the book of Nehemiah.

Within the next few weeks we hope to render our annual Pro­gram. This is to take place in our church auditorium, and the general public is invited to attend. This among other miscellaneous num­bers. During the summer months, we sponsored a series of four lec­tures by our pastor, which were enjoyed very much. Rev. H. Hoeksema also spoke for us when he was here last Spring. All of these things keep us quite busy, but we like it. “Semper Fidelis” is not only the name but also the ambition of our society.

This past summer we have also joined the PRYPF. This, in our opinion, has been one of the most worthwhile things we have done. Our delegation returned home from the Third Convention at Oaklawn, Illinois with such encouraging re­ports that we are determined more than ever to keep our place in the Federation. The true Christian fellowship which we felt there will not soon be forgotten. It has made us feel more keenly that we are one body in our Lord Jesus Christ. May God continue to bless our Federation together with its “Bea­con Lights”. We find our magazine to be very inspiring, not only, but also very educational. Rev. De Boer’s Outlines are truly interest­ing.

Several of our young people have left us for the winter months, and are now working in various places. Perhaps you have met some of them. However, we hope to see them all back again in the Spring.

As we take a look backward, we can rejoice in the fact that the Lord has blessed us in many ways. It is our hope and prayer that He may continue to bless us, and will enable us to be in truth “Semper Fidelis”.

At the business meeting of our last Convention a transaction of major importance was made which I did not like. I hope hereby to air my personal opinions, and, if possible, to hear further comment by other young people.

The matter in question is in re­gard to the joining of leagues with our Protestant Reformed Young People’s Federation. Frankly, I am wholeheartedly in disagreement with the proposed idea that would allow a league of societies to join our Federation as a league. It is my impression that in respect to this matter a “mountain is being made out of a molehill”. For, after all, in reality there is in our circles only one “League” at the present time. The distinction made be­tween “east” and “west” cannot be applied to the situation as far as the Federation and the Western League are concerned today. The admission of Manhattan, not to mention Pella and Oskaloosa, nor even South Holland or Oaklawn, eliminates the possibility that the term “league” could be applied to our Federation.

The suggestion our northwestern Iowa and Minnesota societies had in mind, namely, that two leagues be formed and the two leagues to­gether should form a federation is therefore impossible. This might be a good suggestion if it were pos­sible for all of our societies to join a league of that description. But, as things are today, where do our outlying societies come in? Dis­tance makes it impossible for Man­hattan, Redlands, Bellflower, Pella, and Oskaloosa to effectively belong to such an organization. It cer­tainly is not fair to ask us to hang on to the apron strings of a Federa­tion composed of two leagues lo­cated in northwestern Iowa and in the vicinity of Grand Rapids.

To admit a league of societies as such into our Federation means that many difficulties will arise that would make a simple problem a very troublesome one. For ex­ample, how is this league to come in, as a league only, with its repre­sentation based on that fact, or will it have a voice in the common af­fairs both as a league and as it is composed of different societies? Neither way would prove satisfac­tory.

There is, as it appears to me, only one way in which this thing can be worked out. Our Federa­tion should consist only of our different societies, and from them should come the delegates to our annual Convention. As individual societies, we should all join the PRYPF. Then, let us form as many leagues as is desirable. But these leagues are not to be given any voice in the Federation. If there is a request or suggestion a certain league wishes to bring to the attention of the Federation this could be done in the form of advice brought by letter or by committee.

I am sure that some plan of this sort would work out very favor­ably, and would prove to give jus­tice to all. I would like to suggest that the committee which has this matter in its hands presents a plan of this sort at our next Convention. In the meantime, let us have more discussion on this subject. Per­haps someone has a still better plan. The discussion could be con­tinued throughout the summer, if necessary by means of Our Church News.

There is one thing that 1 would like to reemphasize. That is the fact that all of our societies should be represented in the Federation of Protestant Reformed Young People’s Societies. There is no reason why this cannot be done. Come in, Bellflower and Redlands! It is not only pleasant to go to the Convention, but it is also our duty to go. There is nothing that can bolster our feeling of unity as Pro­testant Reformed Churches more than by taking an active part in the activities of our own Federa­tion.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

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