On July 9, Austinville (Iowa) Christian Reformed Church celebrated its 100th anniversary with the theme “A Place to Belong and Grow Strong.” The day’s events included a morning service led by two former members of the congregation who have gone on work in ministry, Rev. Timothy Limburg, a chaplain in Virginia, and Rev. Aldon Schaap, pastor of Gateway Community CRC in Merced, Calif. The afternoon service included a message from former pastor Rev. George McGuire and greetings from other former pastors. A lunch was also served.
Dale Janssen, a member of Austinville CRC and part of the committee organizing the celebration, shared some interesting history about the church. Formed in June 1917, it was the first English-speaking Reformed church west of the Mississippi River. “A used pipe organ [that] was installed in 1926 for $850, is still in use today,” he said. This organ, according to Janssen, is one of only three similar working instruments in the world today.
“The thing that really hit home to me is how faithful God has been to this church in happy times and times of sadness,” Janssen said. “I believe God is at work in a mighty way. We are a small church but our people are the most loving, faithful, welcoming people you will ever meet. We believe that in the days ahead God will provide and help us to reach the unsaved.”
The church’s membership is listed as 124 according to CRCNA church statistics. Rev. Jonathan Spronk is the current pastor.