A traditional, steepled sanctuary is the home of Prosper Christian Reformed Church in Falmouth, Mich. Built in the early 1900s and replacing the original building for the congregation founded in 1894, it’s the setting for some of the congregation’s 125th-anniversary celebrations. With the kickoff May 5 and events through Sept. 8, celebrations have included a 1950s-themed car-hop dinner and drive-in movie, sermons by former pastors, and a tubing trip on the river. Welcoming the community into the life of the church has been a focus, said member Steve Ebels.
Ebels, whose great-great-grandfather was a charter member and whose great-granddaughter was just baptized at Prosper CRC, is excited by the church’s change of outlook.
“The last 15 to 20 years, our focus has been more outward [toward the community], than inward” he said. “We have the best news in the world … we can’t just sit on it.”
Ebels estimated he grilled more than 260 hamburgers at the recent car-hop event, which was attended by community and congregation members. Some of the activities planned for the anniversary might become community-engagement traditions in the future.
He reflected that in his grandparents’ era, Prosper, like many churches begun by Dutch immigrants in agricultural communities, was “very faithful, but they pretty much kept to themselves. … Now, (we look) toward being the salt of the earth. Be a little flavor.”
“We’ve got challenges ahead because our community demographics are changing,” Ebels said. “We used to be farmers. Who knows what the face of the church will look like (in the future), but as long as God’s Word is being preached, it doesn’t really matter.”