Ben wigger is a member of the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.
With this issue of the Standard Bearer we begin a series of church profiles. The idea is to have all of us get better acquainted with each other. So from time to time the news column will contain a short profile of one of our churches. We begin with Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Wyckoff, N.J.
The inception of the church dates back to the early 1970’s, when a copy of The Standard Bearer fell into the hands of Mr. & Mrs. Charles de Groot. Favorably impressed, they read it thoroughly and passed it around to several of their friends, who, like them, were at the time experiencing difficulties with various aspects of Christian Reformed doctrine and practice. Meanwhile, somehow or other, the Reverend David Engelsma had gotten wind of the interest in the Protestant Reformed church in that part of the country. And in April, 1973, he arranged a meeting with several couples, including the Charles de Groots, their son Clarence and his wife, and Mrs. Thomas Nelson. After this meeting, Rev. Engelsma promised to send them one of the denomination’s pastors to preach for them for a month. In due time Rev. Robert Decker arrived and preached his first sermon at the home of the Charles de Groots. Throughout the summer of 1973 various ministers and seminary students preached for them. Later, after their request to organize as a congregation was granted, the Reverends H. Veldman and C. Hanko arrived, and on Sept. 11 their organizational meeting was held in the Prospect Park Veterans Hall. The first congregation consisted of five families. Two elders and one deacon were also ordained at that time.
About one year later, they got their first minister: Candidate Arie den Hartog, who was ordained by Professor Hanko on Oct. 6, 1974.
In July, 1976, they changed their name from the Prospect Park Protestant Reformed Church to Covenant Protestant Reformed Church. They chose this name because it reflects the glorious truth of God’s covenant of peace which had become so clear to them as a result of their fellowship in the Protestant Reformed churches.
In 1975 they purchased a parsonage and property for a building on Squawbrook Road in Wyckoff. After various problems, both administrative and legal, they finally obtained a building permit from the town, In June, 1979, more than a year later, the foundation of their new building was laid. And although much progress has been made, to date they have not progressed to the point where the municipality will permit them to worship in the as-yet-incompleted building.
In 1979 they changed their temporary meeting place from Prospect Park Veterans Hall to the United Methodist Church of Franklin Lakes.
Rev. den Hartog stayed with them until November, 1979 after which he was succeeded by Candidate Ronald Hanko, who was ordained by his father on November 9 of the same year.
In 1983 a group of people in the northern suburbs of Philadelphia asked their church to sponsor them as a mission field, and in June, 1984, this was approved. On September 23, 1984, Rev. K. Hanko was ordained by his father as their missionary there.
In February, 1986, Rev. R. Hanko accepted a call from Trinity Protestant Reformed Church in Houston. After eight months of supply pastors and struggling along by themselves, Rev. Richard Flikkema arrived to be their new pastor in October 1986.
The congregation is comprised of largely middleclass people of the type one would expect to find in a large metropolitan area: a mix of blue-collar and white-collar workers concentrated largely in the service industries; some small businessmen and maybe one or two professionals. Here are specific examples: cabinet maker, carpenter, landscaper, draftsman, librarian, milkman, computer technician.
The congregation is also especially thankful that by joining forces and working together evenings and weekends, they were able to renovate the parsonage and have it ready for their new pastor, Rev. Flikkema, when he arrived with his family last September. By utilizing the many talents and skills of the members, they were able to do a professional-looking job on it.
They would also like to mention in this connection, that they managed to keep almost all the regular activities of the church functioning during the eight months they were without a regular pastor.
In other news: During the Christmas season now past, many of our schools presented programs.
The band and choir of Adams School presented a program on December 18.
Hope School in Walker gave a band concert December 3 at Covenant High School.
Heritage School presented a combined band and choir concert at Heritage, December 11.
Covenant High joined in with a band and choir concert December 17 at First Church.
Over the past several months many of our churches have taken collections for our sister church of Wellington, New Zealand. As many of you know, the congregation there is small and therefore not able to pay all the expenses of supporting their own minister and they have asked our churches to help them in this. The figure that we must raise comes to approximately $13,500 per year. The Contact Committee reports that as of December 2 more than $15,000 has already been collected to help out the Wellington congregation.
The Reverend A. den Hartog has accepted the call to Randolph, Wisconsin.