Mr. Lotterman is the clerk of the Consistory of Grace PRC.
For the third time in the past 22 years the Hope Protestant Reformed Church of Walker, Michigan has conceived and brought forth a daughter congregation. Due to the growth of the Hope congregation, and the resultant scheduling of a number of members to the monitor room in the basement for each worship service, a small group consisting of nine families and one individual met in January, 1994 to discuss the possibility and the feasibility of forming a new congregation. After receiving the results of a survey taken by the Council, this group sent a request to the Consistory that we begin holding services in the greater Standale/Tallmadge Township area with a view to establishing a daughter congregation.
With the approval of the Consistory we began separate services, which were held in the Grand Valley Orthodox Christian Reformed Church at the corner of Lake Michigan Drive and Eighth Avenue, where we continue to meet at the unusual time of 1:00 P.M. for our first service. The group began slowly to grow, until in March of 1995 we could request of Classis East permission to organize. On May 10, 1995 this request was granted, and Hope PRC was appointed to carry out the organization. In harmony with the decision of Synod, 1994, Hope’s Council proceeded to make nominations for three elders and three deacons as requested by the group.
Our goal was accomplished on July 6, 1995, when we were organized as the Grace Protestant Reformed Church. Rev. Peter Breen preached on I Thessalonians 2:13, “Preaching as a Means of Grace.” The business part of the organization was conducted by Hope’s pastor, Rev. James Slopsema. The officebearers were duly elected and installed in their respective offices. Elders elected and installed were John Kuiper (Vice-president), Don Lotterman (Clerk), and Gerrit VanDenTop. The deacons are Gerald Dykstra, Dave Hanko (Treasurer), and Gilbert Schimmel.
We have potential for growth both from the area and also from within. We are a congregation of 23 families and nine individuals, consisting of 55 confessing and 52 baptized members. Our ages range from infants to several elderly members. We have 34 catechumens, including 17 in the two older classes, ages from 15 and older.
We want publicly to express our appreciation to the ministers in the West Michigan area for their willingness to supply our pulpit during the time of our holding separate services and since our organization. It should be noted that many of these ministers preached three times a Sunday during this time: They preached at their morning service, at our 1:00 P.M. service, and again at their evening service. There were others who came to us after their 5:00 P.M. evening service to help us at 7:00. We want to express our appreciation especially to Rev. Breen, who has been faithfully supplying us at our evening services three times a month, preaching from the Heidelberg Catechism; to our mother church, Hope Protestant Reformed Church, not only for her help and encouragement in our organization, but also for the financial assistance; and to our God. May He be praised for this token of His faithfulness.