Celebrating 50 years as a congregation, North Hills Christian Reformed Church in Troy, Mich., decided to honor God’s faithfulness by looking toward the future, establishing a scholarship to Calvin Theological Seminary, the CRC seminary in Grand Rapids, Mich.
According to Dan Asma, anniversary planning committee member and scholarship fundraiser, the church decided at the outset that a gift should be given “that would honor Jesus Christ and seek to provide a long lasting impact in his name.” In reflecting on the previous 50 years, Asma said, “We recognized how blessed our church has been by the gifts and talents of the ministers who have served North Hills and who have all been trained at the seminary.”
On April 16, 2016, during the church’s anniversary dinner, that scholarship, named the John Malestein Homiletic Award, was presented to CTS representative Dr. John Rottman, professor of preaching. Named for emeritus pastor Rev. John Malestein, who pastored the church for 20 years, the scholarship will be awarded annually to a seminarian entering his or her third year who shows special giftedness in homiletics.
Malestein, who was able to attend the dinner, said, “This is a complete surprise and has almost brought me to tears!” Although humbled that his service at North Hills would be remembered this way, he added, “This seems to be an appropriate thing for a church to establish on its anniversary, recognizing how important it is to promote the gospel.”
The first scholarship of $2,500 will be dispersed in the fall of 2016. The remainder of the $64,000 presented will be used to fund an annual award to future students gifted in preaching. Recipients must show a commitment to the Reformed faith and leadership in the Christian Reformed Church. The annual recipients will also be invited to preach at North Hills during their final years at CTS.
In June North Hills will serve as convening church for Synod 2016, the annual leadership meeting of the CRC.