While the whole denomination celebrated its 150th anniversary, First Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., also celebrated its congregation’s 150th birthday as one of the CRC’s founding churches.
Once a large church that was a CRC stronghold, First CRC has become a smaller but dedicated group of about 100 families that reaches out to its inner-city neighbors with a food pantry, a weekly outreach night, and a ministry center to which neighbors can come for advice and referrals, said Rev. William De Vries, pastor of First CRC.
Back in 1857 most members of First CRC walked to church. The congregation played a key role in the founding of Calvin College and Seminary in 1876. First CRC has six daughter churches, several of which have their own daughters.
The congregation celebrated their 150th with a “year of prayer,” children’s messages about their history, a neighborhood picnic, and a commemorative worship service.
Steve Leedy, an artist in the congregation, created a commemorative plaque, while others compiled an updated congregational history. De Vries said the congregation committed one-tenth of the funds raised for the celebrations to give to their neighborhood.
The anniversary theme was Committed to God, Recommitted to the City. “It was an excellent celebration where a lot of good things happened,” De Vries said.