Mr. Wigger is an elder in the Protestant Reformed Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.

History of Southwest

On September 23 of this year, the congregation of our Southwest Church in Grandville, Michigan met to dedicate the sixth building they have used for the worship of our God. Besides worshiping in six different places, Southwest has also had four different names over the years, while the body remained the same.

Southwest P.R.C. (Second P.R.C., Roosevelt Park P.R.C.) was first organized as the Roosevelt Park Protesting C.R.C. on July 12, 1926 by sixteen families under the sponsorship of Eastern Avenue Protesting C.R.C.

Southwest’s first meeting place was above what is now the Jurgens and Holtvluwer Dept. Store on Grandville Ave. in Grand Rapids.

In 1929, Rev. B. Kok, then a candidate from our seminary, accepted the call and became Southwest’s first pastor. In that same year the congregation moved into a building on Roosevelt Ave. and thus changed their name to the Roosevelt Park P.R.C.

These were the years of the Great Depression. The pastor was called on the basis of a $1500.00 a year salary. This amount decreased steadily until in 1936 the salary was reported to be $1400.00 and the total budget was $3500.00, or $1.20 per family per week.

In 1936 Rev. Kok left to become our churches’ first Home Missionary, and in 1937 Rev. R. Veldman became Southwest’s second pastor.

In 1938 Southwest began to build a new church building at a total completed cost of $9,000.00.

After Rev. Veldman left, God sent Rev. M. Schipper to take up his labors among the congregation.

In 1942 Southwest again found it necessary to change their name, this time to the Second P.R.C.

In 1945 Rev. Schipper left and Rev. S. Cammenga took up his labors. When he in turn accepted a call, the congregation welcomed Rev. J. Blankespoor in 1949.

In 1953 Southwest faced a difficult time. Only two of their deacons remained faithful to the truth of God as taught in our churches. They left the Blankespoor group to continue the congregation started 27 years earlier: Southwest dropped from 85 families to less than 40. They lost everything but the truth. They began meeting in a Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Rev. M. Schipper returned to become their pastor and lead them through these difficult years.

In 1957 the congregation moved into their fifth place of worship, a building purchased from the Beverly C.R.C., and they changed their name to the Southwest P.R.C.

After Rev. Schipper’s departure, God sent next Rev. G. Lubbers. After he became missionary to the island of Jamaica, God sent Rev. H. Veldman.

It was during his pastorate that a committee was organized to investigate the possibility of building. In 1978 construction began on the first phase of this long-range building project.

After Rev. Veldman’s retirement in 1978, Candidate M. DeVries was ordained and became Southwest’s 9th pastor.

In 1985 he left for Minnesota and Rev. M. Kamps became their next pastor and by God’s grace serves there today. In 1986 the go-ahead was given to make plans to build the final phase of their building project. And in September of this year the new sanctuary, along with a new Rogers organ, was dedicated to the Faithful King of the church.

Today Southwest is made up of over 75 families, with more than 120 young children, and it also has two dozen single adults. Its constituency ranges from many younger couples to a couple in their 90’s. Retired couples, widows, and widowers are also counted among their number.

The areas in which their members are employed covers a broad field: salesmen, the building trades, office work, medical fields, factory workers, and over a dozen teachers. There are also several members who are college students.

In other church news for this issue:

Church News

Our congregation in South Holland, Illinois has formed a new trio of the Revs. R. Dykstra, B. Gritters, and M. Kamps.

The congregation in Faith Church in Jenison, Michigan formed a trio which included Revs. Gritters, Joostens, and Van Overloop. The call went to Rev. Gritters.

We also found that our Domestic Mission Committee voted to concur with our Wyckoff, New Jersey church in granting approval of our Covenant P.R. Mission Church in Norristown, Pennsylvania to organize formally as a Protestant Reformed Church. This request will now be sent on for final approval by Classis East.

Congregational Activities

Late news from our Pella Church in Pella, Iowa. On October 21, Prof. Hanko presented a lecture on creation (the same lecture he gave earlier in Grand Rapids). Pella’s auditorium was filled to overflowing.

In connection with the above I quote a portion of a letter received by the Evangelism Committee of our Southeast Church, sponsors of that first lecture:

“I praise God when His truth is proclaimed and I thank Him that He raised up men in these last days who are not ashamed to speak, ‘Thus saith the Lord.'”

The Hope Young People’s Society sponsored a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at Covenant High School in Walker, Michigan. All ages were invited to play. Proceeds were for the 1989 Young People’s Convention.

On November 20, our congregation in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada met for the first time in their new church building.