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Churches Celebrate 100th Birthdays

First Christian Reformed Church in Edmonton, Alberta, and Holland Center CRC, Lodge Pole, S. Dak., both celebrated their 100th anniversaries in 2010.

In Edmonton, First CRC began when a Dutch family read in the local paper that another Dutch family had recently lost two children to scarlet fever and came to pay their condolences. Until then, most of the Dutch immigrants in the city were unaware of each others’ presence. October 23, 1910 marked the first official service for the small congregation, and included four baptisms and the Lord’s Supper.

Jon Winkelaar, 99, is a lifelong member of the congregation. He was the first person to be baptized when the congregation moved into its first building in 1911. “I have been informed on several occasions that I was the first person to be baptized [there],” he said. “I was there, but I don’t remember it.”

As a part of each worship service during 2010, First CRC invited particular members to share a story while lighting a “century candle” at the front of the church. “We have been rewarded and inspired by the stories of young members, old members, and new members,” said Ron Knol, a longtime member of First CRC. “The stories, in many cases a testimony, have been a benefit and a challenge to all,” he said.

Along with the church’s own celebration weekend, a centennial celebration was held on October 17th at the Winspear Centre in Edmonton to mark the anniversary for the 31 congregations of Classis Alberta North. The event drew close to 1,700 CRC members.

In Lodge Pole, S. Dak., Holland Center CRC also celebrated 100 years. Five former pastors joined 150 members on the anniversary weekend in October.

For quite a few of them, Holland Center was their first church, said Jim LeFebre. “They all pretty much indicated that they couldn't have found a better place to start,” he said.

The celebration included a Sunday meal and a hymn sing. The Wesleyan congregation from nearby Prairie City canceled its morning service to attend the celebration at Holland Center.

“There was much prayer that everything would go well; and it did,” said LeFebre.

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