Iowa Churches Celebrate 450th Anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism

“What is your only comfort in life and death?”

The first question of the Heidelberg Catechism holds special meaning for three Orange City Christian Reformed Churches that commemorated and celebrated the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism.

“What a celebration such as this says is that we are connected historically to the past—that past has helped shape us and given us some identity, “ said Mark Vande Zande, pastor of First CRC. “It unites us together in the present as a denomination where there are many different styles of worship and many different things that could divide us. And it also encourages us to stay together as the future unfolds.”

First CRC, Calvary CRC, Living Water CRC, and Immanuel CRC all participated in a six-week series focusing on the Heidelberg Catechism. Corresponding question and answers, most notably Question and Answer 1, were recited to set the mood and context for the service. As they celebrated the Lord’s Supper, the congregations were reminded that the bread and wine signify the work of Christ.

Why celebrate this anniversary? Vande Zande said in his sermon that various interpretations of the Lord’s Supper and other issues have divided the church for centuries, with Lutherans, Calvinists, and others holding on to their own ideas. But in the end, he reminded listeners, “we are all united to Christ.”

Vande Zande believes the Heidelberg Catechism should continue to hold a significant role in the Christian community today. “In a world where there is so much uncertainty and chaos, the Heidelberg Catechism, which summarizes Scripture, gives us some guidance, help, and strength in a personal way as we go through those uncertainties and that chaos,” he said.

About the Author

Kyle Hoogendoorn is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. He lives in Rock Valley, Iowa.

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