At this writing, there are a number of calls outstanding from a number of our churches. Rev. Dale Kuiper has received the call to serve as pastor of our Hope, Walker, Michigan congregation. Rev. Wayne Bekkering has received the call to our church in Redlands, California. Our church in Lynden, Washington, has extended a call to Rev. James Slopsema of Edgerton, Minnesota, to serve as home missionary in the Northwest Washington area.
Rev. Arie den Hartog was installed into the office of missionary in a morning worship service in Doon, Iowa. (The South Holland bulletin says this occurred on November 18. The Wyckoff, New Jersey bulletin says November 11.) Rev. den Hartog then preached his inaugural sermon in the evening (afternoon) service. Rev. den Hartog plans to leave for Singapore as soon as all the legal paperwork for work permits and visas is completed.
Rev. Ronald Hanko was installed as pastor of our Covenant Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey, on Friday evening, November 9. Four generations of Hankos were present and three participated in the installation service on this rather joyful occasion. The ‘new’ Rev. Hanko was ordained by his father, Professor Herman Hanko, and his grandfather, Rev. C. Hanko.
In mid-November Rev. Ronald Van Overloop, who is serving as home missionary in Birmingham, Alabama, informed his calling church (South Holland, Illinois) that he has been able to rent a building in which to conduct church services. Now that a ‘regular’ place has been found to conduct services, Rev. Van Overloop plans to do more in the way of public advertising of services in Birmingham. The rented building formerly served as a church.
Rev. David Engelsma, pastor of our church in South Holland, exchanged pulpits with Rev. Carl Haak, pastor of our Southeast Church in Grand Rapids, on October 21. Rev. Haak is a ‘son’ of the South Holland congregation.
This is the time of year when most of our churches hold their annual congregational meetings. Officebearers are elected and a budget established for the coming year. Some times there are additional proposals presented to the congregation for approval. Hope Church in Walker, Michigan decided to give $5,000 each to the buildings funds of our churches in Houston, Texas, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
A special congregational meeting was held in First Church, Grand Rapids, on November 15 to consider a proposal relative to the future location of the church. The proposal read as follows; “The Consistory of the First Protestant. Reformed Church of Grand Rapids proposes to list for sale our property at 1145 Franklin (church) and 1 139 Franklin (old parsonage), including the parking lot, and purchase 22 acres of land adjacent to the northwest corner of East Paris and Burton SE for the sum of $130,000.” The proposal was approved by 73% of those present at the meeting. This property is in the City of Kentwood and is just east of Calvin College and north of Woodland and Eastbrook Shopping Centers. The grounds for this proposal included the following: A. To give direction to the young people of the church. Since the present location of the church is not in a desirable neighborhood, young families do not move near the church, but rather locate near one of our other churches and transfer their membership. B. The congregation has decreased considerably in size during the past 15 years. C. The location of the church is not desirable—high crime area, poor accessibility, and few of the members live near the church. D. The building is in need of extensive and costly repairs and remodeling. E. The existing church building is too large, resulting in large utility and maintenance costs for the size of the congregation. Thirty years ago the congregation numbered in excess of 500 families. Today there are 124. The down payment on the property will be made with funds presently available. A cash drive will be conducted in the congregation in December. The balance will be borrowed over two years, the payments to be made through weekly per family assessment (added to the general fund budget).
We would extend to you and yours best wishes for a blessed holiday season.