Throughout 2022 Bethel Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, Iowa, celebrated 100 years of ministry with a theme verse taken from Philippians 1:6, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The congregation hosted monthly hymn sings, displayed a collection of artifacts from the past 100 years at Bethel, and capped their celebrations with a Sunday anniversary celebration Oct. 16.
“Glory to God” was one of the hymns enjoyed in the times of singing. Sung by many generations of Bethel CRC members, it was included in the congregation’s first 1922 hymn sing, with both English and Dutch versions of the hymn available. This song became familiar to many in the congregation, according to Wanda Vande Kieft, who is an anniversary committee member.
Pastor John Lee, current pastor, along with Pastor Duane Tinkleberg and Pastor Bob Drenten, former pastors of Bethel CRC, were recognized during the Oct. 16 service. Lee preached a sermon on the Passover, reminding the congregation that while we are waiting upon God is when God is continuously working on our behalf—as when the Israelites waited upon God for their deliverance out of Egypt. Lynn Wielenga, a congregation member, prepared a poetic response to the song “Oh God Our Help in Ages Past,” and worshipers celebrated the Lord's Supper.
Other activities to commemorate the anniversary included planting a tree on the church property and enjoying a meal together. The tree points toward rootedness and future growth. “Anniversaries are milestones that invite us to look back as a testament to God’s faithfulness and call us to look ahead to God’s ongoing mission in the world,” Lee said.