In October 2020, Coopersville (Mich.) Christian Reformed Church marked 100 years of ministry. The congregation celebrated with a service that included three messages focused on the past, present, and future. Lloyd Hemstreet, the church’s current pastor; Bob Zomermaand, a former interim pastor; and Steve Bussis, the most recent pastor to have served the congregation before Hemstreet, all preached.
Hemstreet said the service was a blessing despite it being “a little strange, due to COVID concerns and protocols.” The congregation enjoyed lunch together after the worship service, but Hemstreet said they opted for pre-packaged submarine sandwiches instead of a more typical potluck meal.
Zomermaand, an ordained minister in the CRC who retired in 2008, preached at Coopersville CRC from 2007 to 2009, while the congregation was without a pastor. He and his wife, Janine, remained connected to the congregation since that time and became members in 2016. He wrote a history of the church for a 100th-anniversary booklet.
Zomermaand noted setbacks and periods of growth over the church’s 100 years, including a split just four years after the church first formed, as it was trying to call its first pastor. “The church called a candidate who did not pass his classical ordination exam when questioned on his stance on common grace. ... The issue was a point of severe contention in the whole denomination that year, and many pastors and their churches left the CRC due to the position taken by the denomination.”
Zomermaand also noted that after the release of The Psalter Hymnal in 1934, “It took only five years for our congregation to adopt the singing of hymns in worship. There was one stipulation, however: there had to be no more than 50% of singing done from hymns (like most CRC congregations of the time, previously we only sang Psalms).”
Photos included in the booklet picture the congregation’s rebuilding after a lightning strike, remounting of vacation Bible school, and hosting a drive-in service during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020.
Related: Forging Ahead during COVID-19 (from CRC Communications)
Zomermaand concluded, “(100 years) is a significant milestone in recognition of God’s renewing grace from generation to generation. ... Through it all, this is not the story of a series of buildings or the pastors who were God’s ‘under-shepherds’ here. It is the story of God and of his saving power, which reaches from generation to generation.”
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