Dear brothers in Christ,
As everyone is aware, these are very different and trying times for the church of Jesus Christ. In writing this letter to you a Hymn and a Psalm come to mind. The Hymn is called, for my Savior loves me so, “He will Hold me Fast”. The Psalm is Psalm 46 in which the psalmist starts with “God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble” and ends with verse 10 and 11, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. In this we hear the promises of God that encourage us to live in confidence and assurance that He will continue to guide, defend and preserve his church. We are thankful that we are still able to continue as Voice of the Church albeit at a different pace. We have had to make a few adjustments.
1) Since our long-time producer, Harpert VanderWel, has had a compromised immune system for several years now, self-quarantine takes on a whole new meaning for him. Therefore, the ministers who provide meditations are being asked to only send their meditations to him and he will read them, produce the programs and upload them for the radio stations. Meditations continue to be uploaded to our own VOTC website as well as to SermonAudio. We pray this will only be for another month or two.
2) In addition, we have been unable to use the facility where we record our podcasts. We do not know how long this will be for so we decided that for now this provides the opportunity to prepare for producing podcasts this coming fall, for the release of these videos in 2021. Since November 11/19, we’ve actually had 1,091 views on our YouTube channel! We also have 48 subscribers who’ve asked to be notified when we upload a new video. We are also using this time of partial shut-down to evaluate the podcasts we have already produced. The objective being to fine tune how we do them and what the future focus will be. We are pleased to report that we have a total of 1,525 views since we started the podcasts. The numbers are only from SermonAudio and YouTube and therefore do not include what we have from our website. We are thankful as well that some have been shared by Dr. Bill DeJong and on Facebook by Rev. George Van Popta on behalf of the Canadian Reformed Mission Association. In addition, we will be spending time on updating and upgrading our website over the next few months, making it easier for visitors to navigate our site. We ask for your patience as that project is near completion.
As for the meditations, we have a full schedule established to the end of the year with the exception of the month of August. We are thankful that ministers from our brothers and sisters in the URCNA have been found willing to participate in providing content for Voice of the Church. We hope to continue to encourage further participation from them. Since October of last year the meditations have seen a dramatic increase in MP3 downloads from an average of about 225 per month to over 800 per month through Sermon Audio. Although it is not possible to know how many people listen by radio, the radio stations collectively cover a listening area of over four million people.
We hope this letter finds all of you in good health and spirits as we continue to look forward to the coming of our Lord Saviour Jesus Christ.
On Behalf of the Board
Bill Van Huisstede,