Rev. Koole is pastor of Faith Protestant Reformed Church in Jenison, Michigan.
February, 1993 is a significant month for our Faith Congregation. It marks 20 years of existence. Faith was organized on February 22, 1973, Prof. Hanko preaching the sermon “The Church – the Pillar of Truth,” based on I Timothy 3:15 b. Nineteen families organized as charter members.
Also, fifteen years ago (1978) February was the month that Faith dedicated its then newly built sanctuary to worshiping God in a Reformed and biblical manner. Worthy of note is that, of the three members of that original building committee, two (Ernie Miedema and Dale Mensch) have since been taken to glory, and the third, Dave Ondersma, served on the committee for the new addition as well. James Rau served as general contractor.
Since its organization in 1973 Faith, by God’s good providence, has grown from nineteen families to its present count of ninety-two families (420) souls. This growth necessitated the present building expansion. The sanctuary originally was built with this expansion in mind. Pews were installed with a seating capacity of ‘only’ 380, and the back of the sanctuary was filled with temporary meeting rooms for catechism, the council, and nursery. It was more than adequate but had its inconveniences due to the slope of the floor (as those who sat on the ‘down-side’ of the tables during societies know). Of late, Faith’s numbers became too many to be held comfortably either by the sanctuary or by the meeting rooms.
The present addition consists of an expanded narthex and two wings coming off the narthex to the west. The sizable ‘wings’ have more than doubled the size of the structure.
The northwest wing consists of a large fellowship hall with a partially furnished kitchen and a room which is designed to be a spacious pastor’s study, but serves well presently as a storage room.
The southwest wing houses a large consistory room, a double nursery, and two large meeting rooms which can be divided into five smaller rooms each with its own door. These are a great improvement over the former rooms, which were becoming extremely cramped.
Once the temporary meeting rooms were removed, the sanctuary could be renovated. Those familiar with Faith’s ‘old’ sanctuary should realize that the pictures (courtesy of Mrs. Dorothy Noorman) show rather extensive renovation. Fifteen years of use made new carpeting necessary (a light-green fleck) as well as the reupholstering of the pews (in dark green). Additional pews were added to fill the sanctuary. The seating capacity is now 575. As well, a sandstone wall was erected behind the pulpit replacing the temporary wooden partition.
And last, but not least, by means of a generous donation the organ was upgraded with computer stops; larger speakers in the front, placed on shelves behind the stretched cloth; and antiphonal speakers high in the back of the sanctuary, to balance the sound in the enlarged auditorium.
The renovation was completed with a flurry of activity just in time for the area Reformation Day lecture held at Faith Church this past October 25. The structure has been in full use since November and is much appreciated.
The Thanksgiving Day service focused on the goodness of Jehovah God who made the building addition necessary (through growth of families and our young people staying by means of their confession of the Reformed faith) and possible (through the material means provided). A most appropriate word was found in II Chronicles 29:28-31 .when Hezekiah rededicated the people to the sanctified use of the re-opened temple, and then called the people “to sing unto the LORD with words of David, and of Asaphtheseer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.” So we put the ‘new’ organ and sanctuary to use by singing the same ‘old’ psalms of David and Asaph as Hezekiah and the saints did so long ago. Some things should never change because they are always ‘new.’
With its new facilities Faith was able, for the first time, to host Classis East, in January of this new year.
May the God of the everlasting covenant keep us faithful, and may praising Him by Psalms of thanksgiving never cease to fill the sanctuary.