Detroit Church Celebrates 100 Years

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City and suburb come together at First Christian Reformed Church of Detroit in Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. Kicking off the church’s 100th anniversary celebration in early June was a Detroit Symphony Orchestra chamber recital.

Pastor Ben Van Arragon pointed out, “Over the decades the size and demographic makeup of the church has changed. But First CRC’s commitment to bringing the transformative love of Jesus to its community has not.”

As the church’s anniversary booklet reflects, “With new members, new ministry partners, and an overabundance of resources, First Church is perfectly positioned to embrace its location, heritage, and identity: as a church for the city and the suburbs.”

Consistently choosing to remain at the border of Detroit, the congregation is involved in a collaborative service for local job seekers. Van Arragon provides coaching and counseling. A neighboring congregation has also joined them for worship services, “creating a new, more diverse worshiping community,” he added.

The anniversary booklet also notes that the church has been instrumental in beginning new churches and a campus ministry. For 74 years the church provided Christian education at their Christian day school; that commitment to the community continues through their God’s Kids Early Learning Center.

“We are fortunate to have inherited from those who served in this place before us . . . an unselfish willingness to pitch in to get the job done,” said Jack Kalmink, chair of the anniversary planning committee.

In 1970, First CRC was the convening church of the newly organized Classis Lake Erie.

The celebration week continued with a program featuring a strolling reception and speakers from almost every decade of the church’s history, along with a celebratory worship service. Still to come are a summer block party and an organ concert.

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.

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