We have another new sister in the family of our Protestant Reformed Churches. Our baby sister was born on February 9, 1984. The vital statistics are that the congregation numbered 25 families and 5 individuals; and among these families there are numerous children and infants (my informant did not furnish me an exact number). 

Most of the charter families of the new Grandville Protestant Reformed Church came from Hope, Walker. Hope’s auditorium has been overcrowded for a long time, and it was clear that something had to be done to relieve the overcrowding; this was a natural move. In fact, Hope’s auditorium is now just nicely filled, as I noticed when I was there recently to supply their pulpit. 

Congratulations, sister-church! We wish you a long and prosperous ecclesiastical life, and also a healthy growth—not merely numerical growth, but growth and establishment in the truth. And may you be a faithful witness of our Protestant Reformed heritage in your community. 

For those who are unacquainted with the geography of this region, Grandville is a far southwestern suburb—though a city in its own right—in the greater Grand Rapids area. Coming from the west or southwest, you will find Grandville located on M21 or Interstate I96. At present the congregation is meeting in the auditorium of the Grandville High School, located on Wilson Avenue, Grandville’s main north-south street. 

From Elder David Harbach, who is also our Church News Editor, I received an account of the early history of the new congregation (plus some pictures of the new congregation and their temporary meeting place). To this report I may add that the congregation chose as their official name, “Grandville Protestant Reformed Church.” They have extended a call to the Rev. J. Kortering, of Loveland, Colorado. 

Here is Mr. Harbach’s report, accompanied by the pictures: 

On August 18, 1983 the Consistory of Hope Protestant Reformed Church called a meeting of interested members in the church with a view to determining the interest in organizing a congregation in the Grandville area. All interested persons, both men and women, were welcome to attend. At that meeting there were 26 heads of households who showed interest in establishing a congregation; of these, nine volunteers to serve on a committee to work toward that end. 

Beginning Sunday, October 9, worship services for the proposed Grandville Church were held in Grandville High School’s auditorium, 3535 Wilson Ave., at 9:30 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. At that time there were 19 families from Hope Church who were committed to the organization of a church in that area. Due to the illness of Pastor Flikkema, Prof. Hanko conducted the first worship services. Two elders and one deacon from Hope Church attended these services. 

While the future congregation of Grandville was meeting prior to their organization, four births and two baptisms took place: Jordan Gise, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Van Baren; Melissa Lee Engelsma, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jon Engelsma; Jonathan Daniel, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Key; and Jacob Richard, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Peterson. During this period a signed petition requesting permission to organize into a congregation was sent to Classis East in January, 1984. Prior to organization, an Adult Bible Class was begun under the leadership of Prof. Hanko. The class meets on alternate Tuesday evenings at the Seminary and is studying the book of Judges. 

On January 11, 1984 Classis East considered the request to organize and approved the organization of a new congregation in the Grandville area. The Consistory of Hope Church was appointed as the committee of Classis to implement that decision, with the Rev. Flikkema appointed to serve as moderator for the congregation until such time as a minister would accept a call to be undershepherd at Grandville. 

On the February 5 bulletin of Hope Church, the consistory made this announcement: “We rejoice with these fellow saints as their goal to be established as an earthly manifestation of the body of Christ is, D.V., about to be realized. With confidence we commend them to the care and blessing of the King of His Church. II Cor. 13:11, 12, 14: ‘Finally, brethren, farewell. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.'” 

Therefore, by God’s grace, the Grandville Church was organized at a Thursday evening divine worship service, February 9, 1984, at Hope Church. Prof. Hanko preached the sermon, “The Church, The Pillar of the Truth,” using I Timothy 3 as the Scripture reading. Professor Hanko preached on the Identity of the Pillar, the Purpose of the Pillar, and the Importance of the Pillar. After the encouraging word of God by Prof. Hanko, Rev. Flikkema presented the membership attests of the charter members—25 families and 5 individuals. A Declaration of Hope’s Consistory was read, after which three elders and two deacons were chosen by free election and duly installed in office. 

Rev. M. Joostens preached the first sermon to the newly organized congregation on February 12, on Lord’s Day I, Q. and A. 1, “Our Only Comfort.” Since organization two more baptisms have taken place. 

As of this writing, a trio has been announced: Rev. J. Kortering, Candidate B. Gritters, and Rev. D. Engelsma. At a congregational meeting on March 13, a call will be extended and a name will be chosen from the following list: Grandville, Covenant, Bethel, Good-Will, Charity, and Trinity. (see note above, HCH).