One of the weightiest matters to be presented before the next Convention of the Protestant Reformed Young People’s Federation is the matter of the Federation paper.
Beacon Lights is here to stay. It has made its first appearance and has met with a hearty reception, far above our fondest expectations. By this time, it has gained for itself a definite place in the society life of our Protestant Re¬formed youth, besides supplying them with edifying reading material. Yet, as was said at the outset, these first five issues were merely an experiment from every point of view.
The publication committee appointed by the last Convention received the mandate to find ways and means of calling into existence a Federation paper. This mandate has been carried out even to the extent that we now have our own periodical. From that aspect, the work of the committee is finished, so that they are already busy preparing a report of their labors for the next Convention. That report will naturally raise the question: How are we to proceed in the future?
In order that all of our societies may be acquainted with this matter before it appears on the floor of the Convention, may give it some serious thought and may instruct their delegates accordingly, the committee deems it expedient to present some of its findings at this time. We would suggest that every society spend one after-recess period on the discussion of this important matter.
Fully conscious of the fact that an experiment of this kind must be marred with many imperfections, the committee has always had an open ear for criticisms and suggested improvements. More than likely the Federation can profit from these findings. To be frank, nothing escaped the critical eye of our ever ambitious youth. It has been a constant joy to the committee that our young people were so ready to view their own paper critically and offer their suggestions. Remarks have been made concerning the name, the form, the contents and the administration, which we now gladly pass on to you for your consideration.
As you may know, the present committee did not decide on a permanent name for our periodical. Out of the various suggestions offered the committee centered its attention upon two, namely, “The Beacon’’ and “The Young Protestant”. The main objection raised against this name was, that it does not express the distinctive character of our paper. Possibly a name can be found that will fill this lack. So, it remains the task of the next Convention to decide on a permanent name.
As to the form, the suggestion has been offered, that the dimensions of the paper be reduced one half and the number of pages be doubled. That would give us a paper of about four and one half by six inches, having 32 pages, and could readily be carried either in a coat pocket or in a large purse, especially convenient for those who like to take their copy with them to the society meetings.
A more weighty question will be the matter of contents. As you will have noticed, the editor has deliberately made no serious effort to write editorials on important issues, timely topics and other weighty matters. The experimental nature of these first issues made this practically impossible. Yet that does not mean that the newly appointed editor in chief will not see himself faced with that task.
The discussion of the Sermon on the Mount is also finished in this issue, bringing the matter of the Bible Outlines for the next season very concretely before the assembly. The Federation Board would do well to give this their immediate attention in order to present the Convention with some very definite advice. It will be too late to look for a subject and for an editor of the Bible Outlines after the Convention, especially if there is to be no delay in the appearance of the first issue next fall.
There is still sufficient material available on the Canons, which Rev. Hoeksema so willingly supplied during the past months, but if this material is to be used, the necessary arrangements must first be made.
As to all the other editors, so also the editor of the Book Reviews considers his work finished at the appearance of this last issue.
Moreover, if the Convention should so desire, the present contributors will have to be continued, and possibly others added. In this connection, it could be added, that we should have more contributors from among the young people themselves. Would it not be well to add some of our capable young people on the list? And we should have a public forum, a department in which our young people can air their views on important issues under the supervision of the publication committee. Our societies might even desire an outlet in the paper for their contributions.
Finally, the present publication committee suggests that in the future all the work of publication be placed in the hands of the Federation Board. There are many things to be said in favor of such a move. First of all, it would centralize the work in one representative body. Secondly, the Federation Board is located, at least always in part, in Grand Rapids, where they can readily contact the printers at all times. As anyone can understand, it is very essential for the publication committee and the printers to be able to contact each other, even on short notice. During the past months, the Board was always ready to serve the publication committee and thereby stood us in good stead. If the Federation should so decide, the Board can henceforth have full control of the paper, even to the extent of appointing editors, determining the contents, choosing the serial story, and deciding on any other relative matters.
In the meantime, an inquiry is being made by the present committee to determine how many subscriptions can be expected for the coming year. Need it be said that we anticipate an even better periodical for next year? And we also expect all the societies of our denomination to get behind this venture with a one hundred percent subscription. If the response of our societies is at all favorable we see no reason why the club rate for nine issues cannot be kept down to one dollar, and possibly even less. You can help by favoring the committee with an immediate response of your full cooperation. The cause of our Protestant Reformed youth needs your continued and wholehearted support.
We take this occasion to thank all the editors who so willingly and faithfully gave their services during these past months. Also, the contributors for their part in adding to the interest with their timely and edifying contributions. We are sorry that some contributions had to be withheld for a few months because of lack of space. And no less do we thank the subscribers who gave us their confidence and support. But above all, we thank our Covenant God for giving us this invaluable guide.
In conclusion, the publication committee ex¬presses its sincere appreciation for having been able to serve you during the past months. Willingly we acknowledge the deficiencies which marred our work, but are happy in the assurance that we have not labored in vain. We can readily say, “the pleasure was all ours”. And hereby we take our leave.
May God’s blessing continue to rest upon our youth and may that blessing also be experienced at our coming Convention.