Highlights in the History of our Church
October 30, 1998 marked the first of a series of meetings, at which steps were discussed that could be taken to organize a new Reformed Church in the Strathroy area. The United Reformed Churches in North America soon was chosen as a federation with which we could identify
The seering Committee consisting of John Feddema, Jack Huizinga, Richard VanderDeen,Eko Poort, and Rick Boer was put in place and various items were investigated and presented. We were richly blessed to be assisted by the Council of Wyoming Covenant Christian Church. By December 14,1998,12 families had committed to join and a week later the number grew to 23. It was announced that due to the strong response, we would set the first Sunday worship date for January 3rd, Lord willing, less than 3 weeks away. Many memberships were transferred in trust to the Wyoming Council until the time we would be officially organized under our own Council. We were richly blessed to be assisted by the Council of Wyoming.
So many things to do and so little time to do it in - obtaining hymnbooks, purchasieng chairs, and putting a pulpit schedule in place. Someone said, "There's a used organ at the Salvation Army retail centre in Sarnia. It used to be the organ for the former Temple Baptist Church building and they want only $200 for it. Better check it out." It turned out that this organ was to serve us well for 4 1/2 years. We were grateful when Mrs. Grace VanderDeen offered to play faithfully from Sunday to Sunday. And then Mrs. Debbie Bork was able to help out as well. On January 3rd , 1999, in eager anticipation of worshipping together for the first time, we were greeted by a blinding snowstorm. In spite of many area churches canceling their services, our sanctuary was filled with over 100 very determined souls. We met in the upper room of the Strathroy Family Flea Market and it proved to be a perfect fit at the time. Rev. Stephen DeBoer of the Eastmanville URC, Michigan, led us as he preached God's word from Luke 9:57- 62 dealing with the cost of discipleship. As of this time, approximately 30 families were signed up as members. Various aspects that go along with church life had to be developed and confirmed such as collection causes, educational material and programs, charitable status, church records, pulpit supply, summer student pastor, facilities and supplies, URCNA affiliation, etc. - so many things to be established that tend to be taken for granted when one is part of an already established church.
On Feb. 8th, 1999 a congregational meeting was held and we decided to name our new church Providence United Reformed Church. An interim budget was approved for $93,750. The congregation elected 5 elders: John Feddema, Jake Feddema, Jack Huizinga, Eko Poort and Richard VanderDeen and 3 deacons: Fred Bork, Albert Looper and Gerry VanderHoek. Ordination of office bearers and our first Lord's Supper were scheduled for February 28, 1999, Lord Willing.
1 st Consistory Back row: John Feddema, Jake Feddema, Jack Huizinga, Richard VanderDeen, Eko Poort Front row: Fred Bork, Gerry VanderHoek, Albert Looper
From Sunday to Sunday we were tended to faithfully from the pulpit by many area ministers. Seminarian Ancel Merwin led us from the pulpit for the summer of 1999 and Candidate Mark Stewart led us from January to August 2000. During that time, our congregation was presented with four ministers for call. Two declined, the congregation turned down one, and one accepted. (It was noted that from January 3, 1999 until our first Pastor arrived in September 2000, we had only one reading service.) Ancel and Linda Merwin, Pulpit Supply Student, 1999
Ancel and Linda Merwin,
On April 2, 2000, we met for the first time in the Strathroy Community Christian School gymnasium. Again we were blessed. This building made us more accessible and allowed for growth. We became a church that was well versed in the specialty of setting up and taking down equipment for worship services
Back Row: Jake Pranger, Bert Bork, Jake Feddema,
On September 29,2000, Rev. Zekveld was installed as our first minister of the Word and sacraments.