Set back a bit off 40th Avenue in Grandville, Michigan, along a lovely tree-lined drive is Grandville PR Church. The Grandville PR Church building does not pierce the sky with a steeple, nor does it boast those rich medieval stained-glass windows. But, I have always thought its spare, spacious architectural design to be aesthetically pleasing and conducive to worship. The original building committee also insisted on good acoustics. The gradual sloping floor helps make the pulpit visible to all the congregation.
The sanctuary features a high-peaked ceiling braced with heavy wooden beams. Its clear-paned windows near the top one-third of the sanctuary on the east and west sides let in lots of natural light. Before the power-controlled window shades were installed, it was possible—on a rare sunlit Michigan morning—that the entire sanctuary was bathed in sunlight from the eastern windows. The presiding minister, unfortunately, who was also enveloped in this glorious light, was seen to be briskly stepping side to side behind the pulpit to avoid the intense rays glancing off his eyewear, Bible, sermon notes, and water glass. During the evening service (5:30), out of the corner of one’s eye one could glimpse great mounds of fluffy clouds drifting by the western windows. And, so, for these and other indeterminate reasons, window coverings were installed. On a given Sunday, it is fascinating to watch all sixteen of these shades on both sides of the sanctuary descend together in perfect synchronism. Innovations such as this prompted one well-known American author to lament: “Why does progress look so much like regress?”
Grandville PR Church began its existence as a daughter church of Hope PR Church in Walker, Michigan. In February of 1984, they were established as a congregation of 26 families. This newly formed group met in the auditorium of Grandville Public High School while the present church building was being built and readied for occupancy in 1990.
At an eighteen-minute congregational meeting (a record for brevity according to some) held at the Seminary, the small band called Rev. J. Kortering to be its first pastor. To their delight, he accepted the call. Rev. Kortering labored for eight years in this fledgling congregation. He preached, taught catechism, wrote articles and pamphlets, and visited the sick and elderly along with other myriad duties. Little did he know that his pastorate here would also require him to kill a struggling, trapped mouse for a distressed, neighboring parishioner whose husband was unavailable for rodent rescue. Coming straight to her house from a church meeting, still wearing his three-piece suit, Rev. Kortering took care of the matter, adding this accomplishment to his long and distinguished resume.
For the next 25 years, Rev. A. Spriensma (1992-2002) and then Rev. K. Koole (2002-2018) faithfully carried on the work of “feeding, guiding, protecting, and ruling the flock” (Form of Ordination for Ministers). During these years Grandville experienced growth both numerically and spiritually. Currently, Rev. Nathan Decker is minister here. As of today, four ministers and one professor (retired and actively serving) and their families have made Grandville PR Church their home church.
Grandville is a moderately-large congregation with about 100 families and a total membership of just under 400. With thanks to God, it is a full-orbed church with Bible study groups for every age, all of which are well-attended. Many children continue to be instructed in the catechism classes. The long-standing Evangelism Committee is diligent in its efforts to expand the witness of God’s truth. A group of compassionate women prepare meals for new mothers, the sick, and injured. Most importantly, peace and harmony, by God’s grace, continue to prevail.
Throughout the years, the various Building Committees have worked to ensure that everything is functional, attractive, and up to date inside and outside. In 2007, a handsome portico was added to the building. This structure provided protection from the capricious Michigan weather for the women and children as they exited their vehicles. Recently, the parsonage was renovated and the council room, minister’s study, and nursery were modernized. However, with all these material changes and improvements, there is one constant: Sunday after Sunday the same, age-old, glorious gospel is proclaimed.
The worship services are held at 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. If you are inclined to visit Grandville PR Church, the first evening service of each month would be a fine time to come. At 5:20, pre-service, the congregation comes together to sing a few Psalter numbers; the spirited singing will surely thrill your heart and prepare you, as it does us, for the worship service.