Ben Wigger is an elder in the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.
We now continue our church profiles with a look at the Hope Protestant Reformed Church of Redlands, California.
Hope Church originated when a request was sent to Rev. H. Hoeksema for advice and assistance by some forty families in Redlands who were burdened by circumstances in their mother church in 1932. After their organization, their first pastor was the Rev. G. Vos, who served them for eleven years and left a lasting imprint upon the fledgling congregation.
Soon after organization, the members constructed a new church, which was soon followed by their own Christian day school, the first in the denomination.
By the late 1940’s the congregation had grown to nearly eighty families. Then came the 1953 controversy. Due to divisive pastoral leadership, the congregation was dealt a near death blow. Of the original seventy-five-plus families, only eleven families rallied under Rev. H. Hoeksema, re-organized, and continued on. But everything materially was lost—church, parsonage, and school. The group met in some unlikely places; not exactly barns, but not much better. One place was an American Legion Hall. The older members still speak of the place reeking with the smell of liquor from parties the night before. The members sometimes had to provide janitor service before they could worship.
In time a little white church building on the corner of Webster and Clay was purchased, and a parsonage. One of the ironies of history was that just before they built their present structure, the congregation was renting the church building they themselves had originally built and lost in 1953. It had become the property of a Mexican Seventh Day Adventist group.
Since their reorganization in 1953, the congregation has been faithfully served by the Reverends H. Kuiper, H. Veldman, C. Hanko, M..Kamps, and J. Kortering. Following Rev. Kortering’s departure, Redlands extended eighteen calls before receiving an acceptance from their present pastor, Rev. K. Koole.
The congregation celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary, some four years ago by dedicating their present newly constructed building. Adding to the sentiment of the occasion was the fact that the congregation, under the direction of Mr. G. Joostens, had spent two and one half years constructing the church themselves. Some of the men still claim to have “sander elbow”.
At present Hope numbers some forty-seven families, with a total membership of one hundred ninety-five. An interesting feature of Redlands is its number of elderly members. Fourteen of its members are over eighty, with a number in the high seventies. They are a great spiritual asset.
Once again the members support their own elementary school. Enrollment is steadily climbing. The congregation is busy in missions and the work of evangelism. Redlands, by God’s grace, is thriving. It also remains an excellent place to visit in the winter months.
In other church news, First Church in Grand Rapids has called to serve as missionary to Jamaica the Rev. K. Hanko, presently Home Missionary in Norristown, Pennsylvania, from a trio including Reverends K. Koole and B. Gritters.
Holland Church has called Rev. K. Koole, presently of Hope, Redlands, to be their pastor, from a trio including Rev. T. Miersma and Rev. G. Van Baren.
On Sept. 22 the Mr. and Mrs. Adult Bible Societies League Meeting was held at our Holland Church. The topic “Christian Family Finance” was presented by Rev. W. Bekkering and Mr. David Ondersma.
The Church Extension Committee of our church in Loveland, Colo. has been able to secure a radio station in the Denver area for the broadcast of the Reformed Witness Hour. They hoped to begin broadcasting the first Sunday of October over radio station KRKS (99 AM) from 4:30-5:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoons.
South Holland’s Council called a special meeting September 23 for those family heads who signed a letter of survey to form a new congregation. Other men, family heads and individuals, who wanted to become a part of this group were also invited to attend. And another meeting was held October 8 for this same group for the purpose of appointing committees.
The Building Committee of Covenant Church in Wyckoff, New Jersey is progressing toward their sanctuary completion. Presently they have plans to make the heating system operational, to finish the woodwork, and to finish painting the interior.
Byron Center’s congregation held a Request Program Sunday, September 27. The idea for this program was dreamed up by their Program Committee. It was a kind of talent program from their own church. The members could request others or volunteer themselves to sing, play an instrument or “whatever.” Refreshments were served afterwards.
Edmonton’s latest batch of bulletins contained one which had a notice to remind the congregation that Thanksgiving Day Services were to be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, October 12 and not at the usual 11:15 a.m. time. That is no mistake. Canada celebrates Thanksgiving Day the second Monday in October. We in the United States celebrate it the last Thursday in November.