The Banner

We Are Counting on You!

Department: Author: Dear Banner reader,The Banner is more than simply a magazine; it is a ministry that impacts lives. From the teenager who learns about vocation and calling to the senior who is encouraged by news of the denomination’s mission work, The Banner aims to bless and to connect members o

Speaking with a Reformed Accent

Department: Author: Steven TimmermansThe pamphlet Who We Are and What We Believe is a great reminder of our identity as the Christian Reformed Church. This pamphlet is available through Faith Alive and can also be accessed through the Digital Library in English, Korean, Spanish, and Chinese. We wo

He Is Risen: Rocks Tell the Story of Easter

Department: Author: Sonya VanderVeen Feddema Patti Rokus, creator of A Savior is Born: Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas, has produced another remarkable children’s picture book combining her visionary rock sculptures, engaging narrative, and Scripture texts to tell the story of Jesus’ healing an

Tides of a Teardrop

Department: Author: Otto Selles In this gorgeous album, singer-songwriter and mandolinist Andrew Marlin travels through variations of longing and loss, particularly when considering the death of his mother. Emily Frantz provides perfect harmonies and takes the lead at times, offering variety to t

In Memoriam: Rev. Roger Earl Van Harn (1932-2019)

Department: Author: Janet A. GreidanusDuring his 42 years as an ordained pastor of the Christian Reformed Church, Roger Van Harn estimated he preached 3,000 sermons. His ministry over those years was impacted by several major events in American history. Van Harn died on Feb. 9. He was 86.A graduate

Digital Life

Department: Author: Dean R. HeetderksMapping our family’s genealogy online started out as simple curiosity for my husband but now it’s all he talks and thinks about. Should I be concerned?Some years back, USA Today claimed genealogy was the second most popular hobby in the United States. What was t

Trying to Do ‘the Right Thing’

Department: Author: Lindsay Vander HoekI am always amazed when I see a cross-cut of a purple cabbage—intricate white and magenta waves glistening with juice. And when I pull a bright carrot out of dark black soil, I can’t help wondering: How did it get so orange?Our faith encourages us to delight i

Life Beyond Limits

Department: Author: Christina Brinks ReaAt one of the stores where I shop, there was a product display with the slogan “Life without limits.” The product was some brand of headphones; the idea was that the sound quality is so good that it gives consumers the power to hear beyond the usual human abi

Banner Staff Changes

Department: Author: Alissa VernonThis spring The Banner is saying goodbye to two longtime staff members and editorial contributors Judy Hardy and Kristy Quist. Hardy, the magazine’s associate editor, began working with Faith Alive, the former publishing division of the Christian Reformed Church, in

In Memoriam: Rev. Gerald (Jerry) Frens (1943-2019)

Department: Author: Janet A. GreidanusJerry Frens loved being a chaplain. He was still working part time as an on-call chaplain at Northwest Community Hospital when he died unexpectedly and tragically on Feb. 15, after being struck by a vehicle’s sideview mirror. He had been cleaning leaves out of

Iowa Church Hosts Praise Band Fest

Department: Author: Kyle HoogendoornOn Feb. 15, a stormy Sunday evening in Le Mars, Iowa, Calvin Christian Reformed Church hosted its 15th annual Praise Band Fest, welcoming about 160 people to worship. Three bands, as has become tradition, participated in this year’s event: “All for Him,” from Cal

Captain Marvel

Department: Author: Emily StrobleFull of dazzling interstellar visuals, a touch of 90s nostalgia, and a truly powerful hero, Captain Marvel is as wholesome as it is clever, action-packed, and fun.After smashing through orbit and the roof of a Blockbuster Video store, Vers (Brie Larson) introduces h

We Hope for Better Things

Department: Author: Lorilee CrakerOver the course of 150 years, three strong women from the same Michigan family are drawn into racially charged relationships and confront different kinds of racism in this potent debut novel.In the present, Elizabeth loses her journalism job at a Detroit newspaper

What Should Christians Do about Gentrification?

Department: Author: Melissa KuipersAs I Was Saying is a forum for a variety of perspectives to foster faith-related conversations among our readers with the goal of mutual learning, even in disagreement. Apart from articles written by editorial staff, these perspectives do not necessarily reflect t

Reformed Identity and Worship

Department: Author: Joyce Borger“Is there anything in our worship that we have in common?” Some variation of that question has been asked multiple times during Worship Ministries advisory committee meetings. You might not guess that the Korean pastor, the African-American worship leader who embodie

Presence (Live from Toronto)

Department: Author: Paul DelgerCatch the Fire Music, an outreach ministry of Catch the Fire World, has produced a powerful debut collective album—Presence (Live from Toronto). The 10 songs highlight various songwriters from across the world, including Catch the Fire artists Chris and Summer Shealy,

Cancer Just Is: Convictions of a 20-Something Exploring His Illness, Faith and Culture

Department: Author: Jenny deGrootCancer is no respecter of persons, not of one’s age, gender, class, education, nor religion. When a 20-something receives a diagnosis of a rare, incurable pediatric cancer, one expects “Why me?” to be one of the prevailing questions.Not so much for 27-year-old Morga

Reply All

Department: Author: Refinements for SynodA recommendation I suggest is that synod commit to scheduling overtures and appeals on Mondays so that geographically distant synod attendees can attend without missing seven days of work (“Task Force Recommends Refinements for Annual Synods,” Feb 2019). Cur


Department: Author: Christin Baker You’ve probably played hide-and-seek outside with your friends. But did you know that some animals are great at hiding too? A walking stick insect can blend in with its surroundings by pretending to be a stick. But some animals can hide by changing colors! Here


Department: Author: Douglas J. SchuurmanShould we know what choice God is calling us to make before we decide what path to take?God calls us in remarkably diverse and unpredictable ways. Because this is so, there is no simple or generalizable formula for discerning what task, career, or domestic po