Rev. Ken Hanko is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Norristown, Pennsylvania.
In early October of 1983 the Mission Committee of the Protestant Reformed Churches sent Ken Hanko, who had just graduated from seminary and was a candidate for the ministry, to the Norristown, PA area to work with a group of eight people who were interested in establishing a Protestant Reformed Church. Pastor Hanko was ordained home missionary in September, 1984, and has worked since that time with the group in Norristown. Though five of the original eight left, the group grew, and was organized in January of this year with six families and four individuals. Because Prof. Hoeksema was instrumental in getting the work started and continued to be closely associated with the works afterwards, he and his wife came from Australia for the organizational meeting. Prof. Hoeksema preached onPhilippians 4:1, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.”
The congregation is very diverse, a manifestation in miniature of the catholicity of the Church. The people come together on the Sabbath from three states: Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, and all directions. Because well over half of the congregation drives at least 45 minutes to church, the worship services are at 10:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and the people eat lunch together at their meeting-place. They come from Roman Catholic, Fundamentalist, Presbyterian, Reformed, and charismatic backgrounds. Some in fact endure mockery, misunderstanding, and disdain from family, friends, and fellow workers. Some are first generation immigrants; the families of others have been in this country for generations. They have Italian, English, African, Polish, Dutch, Spanish, and German blood. There are seven children ranging in age from a few weeks to eight years, and adults from late teens to mid-fifties. There are single people and married, families with children and families without. And these have come together in the Protestant Reformed Church in Norristown because they believe and confess one faith.
The members first met in the kitchen in one of the homes, and Pastor Hanko used the kitchen counter for his podium. They then moved for a little while to a historic building owned by the township. When the township received objections to a religious group meeting in a public building, they rented a classroom in a Christian school. About a year later they moved to the community center in a nearby town. They have met there for about three years.
God has richly blessed this congregation in many ways. Not the least of these blessings has been that, though small, it has been able to be self-supporting since early 1984. Though synod oversaw the financial affairs of the group during all these years, it did not even have to pay the salary of the missionary. Furthermore God has brought together there people who are thoroughly instructed in the Reformed Faith, and committed to living by the Word of God in spite of great loss.
Recently the congregation called Pastor K. Hanko to be its pastor.
The members rejoice in being organized as a Protestant Reformed Church, and take this opportunity to thank the denomination and its people for the prayers and help given over the last five years.
Any of you who read this and have opportunity to be in our area are cordially invited to visit with us. For the time being anyway you may contact Pastor Hanko at 215-630-0491.