“Do you promise to love, encourage, and support these brothers and sisters by teaching the gospel of God’s love, by being an example of Christian faith and character, and by giving the strong support of God’s family in fellowship, prayer, and service?”
“We do, God helping us.”
When a baby is baptized, their siblings in faith make vows to God and to one another to aid in the child’s faith formation. With God helping us, we promise to teach, lead, pray, and love.
Goshen (N.Y.) Christian Reformed Church is a “loving community church in the Hudson Valley” about an hour and a half north of New York City. This church opened its doors in 1934 and became a worshiping home for those seeking a spiritual and physical community of Christians around them. Goshen CRC sees community as a means of spiritual care and seeks neighborhood engagement. During the week, the building is bustling with multiple Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous groups, a free health clinic for people who are uninsured, and a special needs nonprofit organization. The congregation has also recently planted a Spanish-speaking church.
Come Sunday, Goshen CRC is an active and vibrant community of faith, gathered for worship and Word. Years ago it began regularly incorporating youth into its services, using teens’ budding musical talents to help lead worship. These teams of musicians, now adults, gather to practice at 8:45 Sunday mornings, and their young children come too.
Henry Doller is an elder at Goshen CRC who saw a need, remembered the promises he made at those children’s baptisms, and quietly stepped in to fill the gap. Most weeks Doller shows up to offer childcare while parents rehearse. There is no official program, and until recently most in the church did not know he was doing it. But Doller saw a concrete way to serve, and he did so faithfully.
“This almost unseen gift is one glimpse of God’s grace,” said Rev. Samuel Sutter, Goshen CRC’s pastor. “Henry is living out his baptismal promises through nurturing the young and equipping parents to participate in meaningful leadership. His actions embody our church’s mission to ‘show God’s love to people by building a diverse community, raise healthy families, and see his glory transform lives.’”