Are busy ever.
How true it is as we look round about us.
Not so long ago the trees stood newly adorned with young buds and fresh leaves, the verdant fields were alive with the cheery voice of the birds. The summer season was at hand and many seasonal church activities were drawing to a close.
It seems hardly possible, but it is not less true that the summer has once more flown. The trees are preparing to shed their leaves, the birds are collecting in flocks to make their scheduled trek to the south, and the fields have lost their former freshness as they await the coming frosts of winter. Soon we may expect the fury of the north-wind, killing frosts and ice, hearty clouds releasing their burden of snow, and inviting the home-fires to keep out the biting cold. Winter with its long evenings lends itself to society life and other seasonal activities. Soon our church meetings will once more be in full swing.
There will be changes in all of our societies this fall.
The outstanding change will be felt by those societies that count young men among their members. By this time practically every church has seen some of its young men called into service, and some have even seen their ranks definitely depleted by this call. It will seem strange to meet without them, yet our thoughts will often be with them. And our prayer will continue to be, that wherever they may be, they may be preserved in the power of God through faith from every evil power to manfully fight the battle of faith against all the hosts of wickedness, that the trial of their faith may prove to be unto praise and honor and glory at the appearance of Jesus Christ.
But there will also be a marked change in our attitude toward many things. No one can entirely succeed in erasing the thoughts of war, horror and destruction, suffering and economic disorder from his mind. Nor is this necessary. The Christian is not afraid to face the reality of things and to freely discuss them as they are. But this should and will make an impression upon us and will influence our attitude toward life in general. More than likely our discussions in the society will turn repeatedly to the war and all its attending problems. Also then the Word of God must be our only guide, the only safe and sure lamp before our feet and light upon our pathway. We should be particularly careful that we are not deceived by the fancies of men and the philosophies of the world, but learn to see the reality of things as they are revealed to us in the Scriptures. Particularly in times like these, ours is the calling to serve as home guard within the church. This makes our society life doubly important.
And so we set out into a new season.
Although some will be absent from our midst, society life will mean even more to us than it has in the past.
Beacon Lights once more deems it a privilege to spread its rays over your society activities. You will notice a few changes in our paper this year. The Rev. De Wolf has been asked to write on “Current Events”, and Walter Hofman will have charge of the “Letters from our Soldiers”. Mr. De Boer has been asked to continue his articles on “Science” and John Piersma will once more take charge of the “Digest”. The Rev. P. De Boer has consented to once more write the Bible Outlines, and the undersigned is glad to continue his “editorials”. Assured of your hearty reception as in the past, we enter a new season, well aware of the responsibility that rests upon us even now, and prayerfully seeking the approval and blessing of our Lord.
May this season prove both interesting and profitable for all of us who are called to serve in the church as home guard.
And may God bless our societies.
Who would have thought it possible just one year ago, as our annual young people’s conventions disbanded in Oak Lawn, that that would be the last convention of our Federation for some time to come?
Who would have dreamed that so many of our boys would be called into service, would have left the States and even be on foreign soil, even before another convention could be called?
To whom had it occurred that there might be a rubber shortage and that tire rationing would reduce travelling to a minimum?
In one word, who could have imagined that it would be possible for the war to so soon make such inroads into our lives that the Federation Board would deem it advisable to call off the 1942 meeting, even while the plans were in the making?
But nothing is so uncertain as life itself.
That we were disappointed need hardly be said.
As the time for the prospective convention drew near we began to realize that things were not the same as a year ago. It would have been foolhardy to shut our eyes to the reality of things, for our country is at war, and we know it.
We realized that some of our more distant societies would not be able to send the usual number of delegates, partly because many of their members are engaged in the all-out defense program, partly because of the rubber shortage.
We knew that some societies had their ranks depleted by the call to service.
We were well aware that war with all its horrors is a terrible thing and that our spirits tend to be depressed on account of it.
But we were disappointed, nonetheless.
We felt that in times like these a convention is fully as important as in normal times, for spiritually we need each other now possibly more than ever.
Many young people had been making plans to attend and disappointedly waved these plans aside.
We may rest assured that the Board felt even as many of us did when they finally passed their decision.
Be that as it may, the annual convention of our young people’s Federation is now out of the question for some time to come.
Yet that does not mean that our societies in and near Michigan cannot arrage for a mass meeting to be held sometime this fall.
There is much to be said in favor of such a mass meeting. With the consent of the societies in the Federation this mass meeting could receive authority to hold an annual election for board members. Normally that would be quite out of order, but circumstances being as they are, allowance could be made for such an action. This meeting could even discuss matters pertaining to our Beacon Lights and other Federation activities.
It would make a splendid occasion for organizing a league of the Eastern societies as a first step in extending our Federation activities.
This would not necessarily be a long meeting, such as our Conventions. The time of the year and the nature of the gathering would rather favor a meeting limited to one afternoon and evening.
It would serve to strengthen the spiritual tie that unites us as Protestant Reformed young people, at least in as far as our young people are able to attend.
We are sorry that our Western churches cannot be present, but we are sure that they will not begrudge us this privilege.
The Board has informed me that plans are under way for such a mass meeting. The time and place will be announced in our church papers.
We hope that these plans may be carried out to a successful conclusion.
Watch for announcements of further developments in our church papers.
And if at all possible, the Lord willing, we’ll see you there.
Mass Meeting Preview
Plans are in the making for a Combined Meeting of all our Young People’s Societies, to be held on Thursday, November 12, 1942.
The tentative arrangement is to hold an afternoon meeting, beginning at 2:00 at the Roosevelt Park Pro. Ref. Church. The afternoon program looks very interesting: a song service, a short talk, and a free-for-all discussion! We hope that many of you will be able to be present at this afternoon get-together.
And, of course, we expect everyone at the banquet in the evening, at the Fuller Ave. Church basement. There are many more interesting details which cannot yet be disclosed. So watch the Church News and bulletins for further announcements. Lodging will be provided for out-of-towners who desire it.
We realize that everyone is busy these days because of the war effort, but we also believe that a meeting of this kind can and will be very profitable to those who attend, especially because these days are so filled with serious problems due to war activities.
So, Young People, let’s all plan to meet one another in Grand Rapids on November 12!
The Executive Board