Sadness indeed filled the hearts of us as congregation when we were informed by our former pastor. Rev. H. De Wolf, that he felt called to leave Manhattan and go to the First Protestant Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
On Sunday, August 27, 1944, the Rev. De Wolf preached his farewell, .sermon based on the passage from: “Finally, brethren, farewell.” On Wednesday morning of the same week he and his family left us for their new field of labor.
After their departure the consistory faced the problem of again obtaining a pastor. After extending a call to two of the Lord’s servants who did not feel that the Lord called them to Manhattan, a third call was extended, and this time to Rev. C. Hanko of Oak Lawn, Illinois.
After sincere and prayerful consideration of the call, he informed us that he felt it to be the Lord’s will that he accept the call extended to him, and that he would come over and minister to the flock here in Manhattan.
It was indeed with thanks in our hearts unto the Lord that we received the glad news.
However we must not fail to mention that for almost four months we might have in our midst Candidate J. W. Van Weelden, who diligently labored among us, performing such pastoral work as preaching the Word, instructing in the Catechism, and leading the societies. He even had occasion to conduct a funeral service for a young girl who met with a sudden, accidental death.
It is but fitting that we express a word of appreciation to Candidate and Mrs. Van Weelden, as also to our counselor, Rev. M. Gritters, for the work they faithfully performed among us.
On Sunday, January 7, Rev. M. Gritters preached the Word of Life to us, and on Wednesday, January 10, at about 7:00 P. M. our pastor, Rev. C. Hanko and family arrived safely in our midst.
On Friday evening the congregation came together to welcome our pastor and family. We met in our church building at 8:00 and a nice program was rendered under the pleasant and able leadership of our beloved counselor. We might indeed experience an evening of joy and fellowship, the fellowship of saints and the joy of brotherhood, for although we were total strangers to each other, we might at the same time feel that there is a tie that binds us together.
So after songs, speeches of the different societies and refreshments which were served by the Ladies aid, and after greetings were exchanged we might return homeward with happy hearts and with thanks to our God. On Sunday morning, January 14, Rev. Gritters preached for us on, after which he installed our new pastor, and our pastor pronounced the benediction. In the afternoon our pastor preached his inaugural sermon, based on , “Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
So now we are again Pastor and Flock.
Thanks be to God that we might again receive a pastor so soon who may by the grace of God lead us in the green pastures of His Word.
Our wish and prayer is that the Lord may richly bless him and his family and cause his labors to be blessed in our midst, and that we as congregation and pastor may receive the blessing of the Lord, to His honor and glory. To God be all the praise.
H. P. Van Dyken, Clerk.