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A Reason for Hope

With colors of orange and sage green, scarlet, lemon, and light blue, the distinguished scholars donning mortarboards, flowing robes, and academic hoods, came from Harvard and Yale, from Central and Northwestern, from Wheaton, Calvin, Olivet, Cornerstone, Baylor, and Samford to walk the center aisle of Dimnent Chapel in their academic regalia.

Representatives from over 50 universities, colleges, and institutions came to participate on Friday in the inauguration of Dr. John Knapp as the 12th president of Hope College. What a joy and privilege to be present and share in this special commemoration and occasion.

Presidents Gordon Van Wylen and Jim Bultman participated in the inauguration, and Dr. Knapp has their solid leadership foundation upon which to build the next chapter of the future of Hope College. As I reflected, I'm grateful for the commitment of both of these presidents to Christ-centered education, the integration of faith and learning, and a Reformed worldview as they provided leadership for Hope for 29 of the last 40 years.

Hope graduates, as well as those who have graduated from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, two additional RCA colleges, have been significant contributors to the mission of the Reformed Church in America – in ministry, in the marketplace, and in offering their gifts and passions for the benefit of the common good and the glory of God.

Our colleges are key partners for raising leaders who will courageously live out their faith and influence for Jesus Christ in the next generation. Many of our current pastors and missionaries have their foundational and formational roots in our RCA colleges.

I look forward to developing a deep and collaborative relationship with John, as I have grown in my affection and appreciation for Mark Putnam at Central and Greg Christy at Northwestern and the relationship we continue to nurture. As we move into a new chapter of Transformed & Transforming together, it is recognizing the providential partnership we share and the common mission that God has called us to.

Please be in prayer for Dr. Knapp, and his wife, Kelly, as they transition into this new role at Hope. Pray that the motto of Hope College: Spera in DeoHope in God – will be the wellspring from which they draw in the days and years ahead. May they find comfort and confidence in Psalm 42:5, the verse found on Hope's seal, and the insignia of the office of the president:

Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise, him,
my Savior and my God.

Hope can be focused in many places, and placed in many things, but we live as people of hope who put our hope in God. It gives us reason to praise, to celebrate, and to share the hope that is in us: Jesus Christ.


1) Please prayer for our three RCA colleges and their presidents: Hope – Dr. John Knapp, Central – Dr. Mark Putnam, Northwestern – Dr. Greg Christy. Pray for their students, faculty, and staff and the focus on a next generation of faith that would be greater than the current generation.

2) This weekend I am participating and sharing with the African American/Black Council. I look forward to a time to share how God is leading the RCA in Transformed & Transforming, and how that vision recognizes the gifts, contribution, and participation of all people. Pray for our time together and pray for the RCA's continued growth toward our multiracial future.

3) In the coming week our General Synod Council will be meeting in Grand Rapids. A key component of our gathering will be the development of ends policies and accountabilities for which the General Synod Council holds me accountable as General Secretary. These have focused on Our Call for the last 10 years, and now move into being focused on Transformed & Transforming. Pray for wisdom, discernment, and unity as we work together.


Posted 10/07/13

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