The beginning of our congregation was peculiar in many ways.
There were several people in the vicinity of Lansing and South Holland who were not satisfied with the “Common Grace” theory. So they wrote Rev. H. Hoeksema and he consented to come and speak for them. At this time the hall in Munster, Indiana was rented. We publicized the coming of Rev. H. Hoeksema by putting up posters, etc. Of course, the interest of the people was so aroused that the hall in Munster, Indiana was refused and the only place that could be obtained was Bock’s Hall. It was a place where the Ku Klux Clan used to meet. Scheduled dances were held in this hall and some families lived in the same building often causing disturbances to the meetings
At first large meetings were held. In fact, we had such big crowds it was unbelievable. But gradually the meetings got smaller. When finally our church was organized on August 24, 1926, there were only seven families left. We had only two in the consistory, one elder and one deacon. Yet these seven families, through the grace and help of God, decided to build a church, for certainly Bock’s Hall was not the ideal place to meet. Land was secured in South Holland and it was there that the church was built.
For seven years we had no pastor. But we were helped through the efforts of the first students who served us nearly every Sunday. In all these years the Lord was with us and blessed us. We were indeed grateful and appreciated the work of these students.
In 1932, Candidate P. De Boer was granted the call to our congregation and accepted it. He labored among us six years. Our growth in number was very great and his work was richly blessed throughout his ministry. It was during these years that our Young Peoples Society, Men’s Society and Catechism classes were organized and led by our capable pastor, Rev. De Boer. But in June, 1938, he received a call of our congregation in Holland, Michigan and he accepted it. Thus, again, we were left as a flock without a pastor.
In September, 1938, Rev. L. Vermeer came over to help us and his stay in our midst was about six and a half years. The Lord richly blessed him and us together thru his ministry with us. We did not increase in number, but rather, lost many families. This growth was to the welfare of the congregation. By it, we can see that God’s ways are not always our ways, but that His ways are higher than ours. These families went out from us because they were not of us and caused much strife and difficulty. Yet, this has led to the welfare of the congregation, knowing that we have learned that the church is God’s and not man’s. It was during his laboring in our midst that the Ladies’ Society was organized and we also built a parsonage. Rev. Vermeer was also very faithful to the purpose in which he was called, instructing and leading us in the Reformed truth. In February, 1945, with sorrow in our hearts, we bade farewell to Rev. Vermeer and his family. He left for Pella, Iowa, where he became pastor of that congregation.
In May, 1945, Rev. Schipper accepted the call to become our pastor and leader of our congregation which had had so many difficulties, yet he was not afraid, but heeded the call to come over and help. Now our congregation again experiences a normal growth. We again have peace and harmony in our midst. All our services are now conducted in English. Our church and parsonage are also debt free. We have a flourishing Young Peoples’ Society, a prosperous Ladies’ Society and a thriving Men’s Society.
I think a word is in place here for our radio broadcast, “The Reformed Truth Hour”, which is on the air every Sunday evening at 9:30. Rev. Gritters and Rev. Schipper alternate every Sunday, over station WJOB, 1230 kilowatts. We also have our own radio choir with Mr. Jurjaanz as our director. We are thankful to God that two small congregations as ours have this great privilege to have our own broadcast. We are grateful to God that we may proclaim the truth of God’s Word over the network.
May the grace of God richly bless our congregation and may we, by the grace of God, remain faithful to our high calling to show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.