Michigan Church Celebrates 125 Years

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“It’s your heritage. It’s your roots,” reflected Marie Huizenga, 72.

LaGrave’s choirs lead in worship at the anniversary service.

Photo by Peter Redder

Huizenga was baptized at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1939. Her grandparents came to the church over a century ago.

The church celebrates 125 years of ministry this year with the theme “Grow in Grace,” a reminder to continue maturing and reaching out to its community.

Since 1887, LaGrave has remained in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids and has grown to more than 1,700 members. It was the first Christian Reformed church to hold services in English instead of Dutch.

For the anniversary celebration, LaGrave hosted a historical display featuring the church’s typewriter from 1912, a Bible and pulpit from 1887, and several documents and photos.

In an anniversary service, pastors Stanley Mast and John Steigenga reflected on God’s faithfulness but also recalled difficult changes: an additional worship service, a new building, and discussion about the ordination of women.

“We live in rapidly changing times, and that does not bypass the church,” said Steigenga, who has been with LaGrave since 1978. “But by God’s grace, we have been able to enjoy stability—even through the changes.”

“The grace of Christ is the only constant in a constantly changing world,” Mast reflected. “It is the bedrock of the Christian life.”

Huizenga, meanwhile, continues to carry on her family’s legacy at the church. “It’s our job now to continue the work that [the first members] established.”

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley. 

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