The way we were
On June 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

 

In June of 2016 the Clarion magazine published an article about the ILPB. This article was written by Elsa DeGelder, and gives a lovely overview of the way we were.  Even though our name has changed since the article was published, the integrity and care that we take to fulfill our mission remains unchanged. 

 

Life gets busy.
And it can be so distracting.
And yet, it is vitally important—perhaps now, more than ever—that in our lives as Christians we take the time and care to immerse ourselves deeply and fully in the study of the immense riches of the Bible. God has indeed preserved a treasure of incalculable wealth for his people through the ages, so that we—in addition to knowing him through his Creation—may also the more fully know our God and Creator through his Holy Word. The Inter-League Publication Board (ILPB) has, over the years, actively held it as their mission to publish accessible Reformed study materials to help us mine the great riches of God’s Word.

In the early years of our churches, God guided members to recognize this foundational need, and establish Study Societies. The Young People’s Society members, especially, realized the necessity of having Reformed study material in English to work with. This led to the Young People’s group publishing their first work, Reverend Selles’s book on Hebrews. Its initial printing in the Autumn of 1963 saw nearly 200 copies sold by December 14 of that year; an especially spectacular number in the context of the size of the church federation at that time. Shortly after the Selles book was published, the Men’s Society League also published an outline, this one on Haggai. Realizing the wisdom and the economy—both in terms of labour and financial resources—of working together on something this mutually beneficial, on October 17, the Young People’s League and the Men’s and Women’s Society League met together in London, Ontario. There, they officially joined to make one publishing group, the Inter-League Publication Board to, as their Mission Statement sets out, “provide Reformed Study Material of the highest quality to Bible Study Societies and other interested people.”

In those critical fledgling years of our Federation, much of the ILPB’s work involved translating Dutch material into English. It’s been nearly ten years now since we’ve last done so. Our work these days is mostly with manuscripts, or tailoring sermons to fit an outline format. In fact, two of our latest books—Rev RJ Sikkema’s study guide on the Beatitudes and Rev W Bredenhof’s book on the Covenant of Grace—both originated as a sermon series. The ILPB regularly sends out queries—mostly to ministers in our Federation—asking if they are interested in writing something for us, giving them the option of reworking a sermon series. There is an admittedly broad range in how authors treat their work; some prefer to be closely involved in getting their manuscript to print, while others are content to simply hand us their sermons, saying “do as you please.” Still, we’re always conscious of making sure that the author, regardless of his approach, stands in full approval of what we intend to send to Printing; it’s this kind of integrity that builds good author-publisher relationships, and helps keep them strong.

From its inception, the ILPB has been a non-profit organization of volunteers, and over the years it has operated under the auspices of the Men’s, Women’s, and Young People’s Societies. Though most of these Societies as official entities have since been dissolved, the ILPB continues on; there is yet much work to be done. Our headquarters have also shifted; based originally in the London, Ontario area, we’ve since moved to Fergus, Ontario, and continue to be well-served by a highly capable and talented group of volunteers.

We also have a great contingent of volunteers who are ILPB Representatives for their local church. Having familiarized themselves with the ILPB books, they are in an excellent position to give suggestions to Bible Study groups and church members about our books. These Reps may also organize a book club in their congregation, where book club members automatically receive every newly-published book from the ILPB at a 25% discount.

The ILPB has been richly blessed by God in all that we’ve undertaken, and standing with feet firmly rooted on our original Mission, we have also adapted to meet many changes and requests you’ve made. Though the ILPB has always focused strongly on Bible study books, in response to the growing interest in workbooks over the years, we have broadened our scope to include those as well. Our Bible study guides of more recent years have also been adapted to accommodate the growing popularity of study questions to act as a guide and a springboard for lively discussion at Bible Study meetings. Additionally, as our older books sell out, we review the text, update the English for readability, revise the Bible translation to reflect the current version, add study questions where possible, and also revitalize the format and the cover. The cover graphics of our most recent study guides, including those on Daniel (Rev A Souman), Luke (Rev Cl Stam) and Haggai (Rev W Bredenhof), have a delightfully modern and fresh appeal to them; an appeal reflected also in dazzlingly brisk sales.

Equally modern is our website; the next time you’re at your computer, take a few moments to browse it  and  see our latest offerings–we’re set up with PayPal for easy on-line payment, or you can download our book catalogue for easy on-hand reference. More recently, some of our newer books have been made available in e-book format as well; simply follow our e-book link under the book description on our website for download. In addition, we’re looking forward to changes just beyond the horizon; a name change, a new website, as well as a refreshed logo.

In all the growth and changes since the beginning of the Inter-League Publication Board all those years ago, God has continued to guide us and keep us, also as we strove to be faithful to his infallible Word, and to be in accordance with The Three Forms of Unity; points that are every bit as inviolable now as they were back then.

 

Elsa DeGelder

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