West Michigan Church Celebrates 100th Anniversary

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When members of Comstock Christian Reformed Church, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, celebrated the church’s 100th anniversary in November, it wasn’t just about them. They spent the year giving things away.

During the year leading up to the official celebration of the church’s 100th anniversary, the congregation collected 100 each of various items: 100 boxes of tissues, 100 bottles of hand sanitizer, and so on, said member Judy Joling. All of these were given to the Comstock Community Learning Center.

The church also celebrated with the compilation of a memory book, two special worship services, and a celebration dinner.

In keeping with their anniversary theme from Psalm 145:4, “One generation shall praise your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts,” pastor Benjamin Hulst had the congregation share their own stories of coming to faith and of God’s faithfulness. Hulst said, “Sometimes we get lost in the present, so it’s good to see once again the big picture and praise God for his faithfulness.”

The congregation was reminded that 100 years ago, many families living in the Comstock area who had grown tired traveling into Kalamazoo for worship began worshiping in the fall of 1913 with Reverend J.R. Brink. The morning service drew 106 people, and there were 130 at the afternoon service. By November this body of believers had formed Bethel CRC, now Comstock CRC. The congregation opened its first church in a basement on Higgins Street in 1914 and later constructed a sanctuary on the foundation. In 1987 the church built its current building with 5,000 hours of labor contributed by member volunteers.

Reflecting on the anniversary, Hulst said, “The realization that things have changed gives us encouragement that God's Spirit is doing new things every day.”

About the Author

Anita Ensing Beem is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. Retired director of education and outreach at North Hills CRC in Troy, Mich., she now resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is a member of First CRC.