Dennis Avenue Christian Reformed Church, 1893 - 1943

Includes Photos of the Church and Parsonage, 1943 Consistory Members,
50 Year History of the Church
List of Consistory Members for 50 Years
1943 List of Membership (in Progress)

     

Dennis Avenue Christian Reformed Church Building and Parsonage

1943 Dennis Avenue Christian Reformed Church Consistory

Bottom Row: D. Leestma, O. Bosscher, Rev. Oostendorp, G. Kuipers, R. Bolt, A. Postma
Middle Row: G. DeWitt, C. Keegstra, P. VanHerp, J. VanderBaan, L. Quist, J. Gillisse, T. Zeeff
Top Row: S. Heeres, G. Koster, H. VanEnk, J. Boermans, E. Huber, G. Prins

 

Early History of Dennis Avenue Christian Reformed Church

In the fall of 1891, the Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church announced that certain members residing in the east end were to have group family visitation. To that group visitation our present charter member, Mr. Verburg, objected. This visitation was to be at Mr. J. Doezema's house on an appointed evening. The result of his objection was a personal house visitation at a later date at his home. At this meeting with the Rev. Sevensma and an appointed elder, J. Doezema, the question of building a church was the object of conversation. It was brought to the Consistory of the above-named church in the year 1892. They finally consented to take the matter to Classis. The Classis approved the action of the Consistory and granted permission to organize a new church.

A meeting was called for all church members living in that particular vicinity to meet at 740 E. Fulton Street, then a vacant store. At that meeting on February 6, 1893, the church as such was duly organized. The meeting was led by Rev. Sevensma. Thirty-five family members enlisted that night. That same evening the election of officers was held and they decided to start with two elders and two deacons. Election results were: Elders - J. Doezema and M. Katsma; Deacons - R. Bolt and S. Tolk.

The following Saturday, Mr. Doezema appointed his son, John Doezema, temporary janitor. John awoke Sunday morning early according to his own statement and built the fire in the wood stove and performed his duty well by opening and closing the building three times that day. He also lit the kerosene lamps at night and saw to it that they were turned out, for gas and electricity were unknown subjects in those days.

On Sunday morning the scene was set with a common table, and a cheese box as a pulpit. Prof. G. E. Boer of the Seminary led the meeting and installed the first officers and preached three times that Sunday.

At once a Sunday School was organized of which the now Rev. F. Doezema and Mr. John Verburg were the first teachers. Decision was also made to organize a Young Men's Society of which the now Rev. F. Doezema and Reb. R. Bolt were named President and Vice-President respectively, The only remaining members which belonged to the original Society of our church are Gillis Van Den Berge, Nick Wilderom, Harry Dykstra and Jacob Van Den Berge. Rev. Doezema was at that time a student at the Theological Seminary in his first year of study.

Soon a congregational meeting was called to determine what could be done to get a proper church building. The members subscribed $375.00 for one. A committee was formed to look for a location. The mother church promised a subsidy of $500.00 toward the building. Rev. R. Bolt and Gillis Van Den Berge canvassed Oakdale Park and Eastern Avenue Churches for donations.

The building committee recommended purchasing four lots at the present Dennis Avenue site. At a congregational meeting, the name was changed from the Brickyard Church to the Dennis Avenue Church. Soon after it was decided to build a parsonage. After the basement was completed, we met on Sunday in what is now the Old Basement. There were no floors in it - just an excavation with a temporary roof over it. More effort was expected for there was no parsonage and no "dominie" to occupy it.

With this in mind, on April 2, 1895 it was decided to erect a parsonage as soon as possible. The cost for the structure amounted to $1,187.97. In the spring of the same year a trio was presented to the congregation with Rev. E. Vander Vries of Holland, Michigan being the chosen one to call. It took two calls before he felt called to come. Rev. Vander Vries and family arrived July 16 and was installed on July 24th. Many new families joined the church and by November there were 68 eligible voters at the congregational meeting.

It was soon discovered that larger accommodations were needed. In 1896 the superstructure was built. The pastor loaned the congregation $600 so they could complete the structure and move the worship services from the basement. Evening services were introduced.

Summer Bible school was held during vacations when the children were taught the fundamentals in the Holland language.

In 1902 Rev. Vander Vries left for Fisher Station which is known today as the Cutlerville Christian Reformed Church.

Rev. J. B. Hoekstra was called in February, 1903 by 108 male members and a letter of acceptance was received. During this pastorate a picket fence built around the parsonage was removed. After serving for six years, Rev. Hoekstra left for Midland Park, New Jersey in October, 1909.

After five unsuccessful calls were extended, Rev. J. A. Kett was led to shepherd this flock and his inaugural sermon was on August 28, 1910. Electric lights were installed replacing gas lamps, A mission society was organized which included both men and women. The church continued to experience growth and an addition to the horse-barn was built. Most of the membership papers received were from the Netherlands. The church building was enlarged.

There were some problems during the services and in some of the catechism classes. A policeman regularly attended the services.

Rev. Kett was called home to the Lord 22 Feb 1914 leaving a wife and two sons after undergoing an operation from which he never rallied.

The fourth pastor of the congregation was Rev. H. Danhof of Sully, Iowa who came in August of 1914.

Elder Paul Hoekstra, who served the congregation for 13 years as clerk, was the first consistory member who labored with the pastor in family visitation, using the automobile for transportation.

At this time there were three Holland services and introducing an English speaking service was discussed. Electricity was installed for the pipe organ as well as a telephone system.

During World War I, forty-five young men and one Red Cross nurse, Miss Olive De Boer left to serve our country. Three of the young men died in action. They were Cornelius DeJong, Peter Prins and Adrian Roodvoets.

In 1918 the church celebrated its 25th anniversary. Rev. Danhof announced his acceptance of a call to Kalamazoo and left at the end of July. In 1919, Rev. P. Jonker of Lebanon, Iowa accepted a call to be our pastor. Previous to his arrival the consistory had decided to have the evening service in the English language. The gathering of the collection was done with a long pole having a black sack attached to one end, known as the Busse. This type of collection was done only in the English service.

In 1921 a new heating plant was installed and an improved lighting system in the auditorium. At the congregational meeting, it was decided that four services would be held, two in Dutch and two in English. After a ministry of three years, Rev. Jonker left for Lynden, Washington.

The congregation called eleven times before the call was answered by Rev. William Kuipers from Oakland, Michigan. This was a time of transition and unrest. The Common Grace question confronted the church. As a result 45 families severed their connection with our church.

In 1923 a new organ was purchased. Also a lot was purchased in the Belmont addition by our Mission Society and a building was purchased and moved. This became known as Sunshine Gospel Hall. A weekly bulleting was supplied to the congregation and budge envelopes were adopted.

Rev. Kuipers received a call in 1927 to the Summer St. Church of Passaic, NJ which he accepted.
The Lord called him home in 1933.

Rev. J. L. Heeres, our seventh pastor arrived. The congregation decided to introduce a schedule of 3 services on Sunday. The morning and evening services in English and the afternoon service in Dutch. During his pastorate, his daughter, Barbara became ill and died. In his fourth year of serving our church on his 56th birthday, Rev. Heeres died after a brief illness leaving his widow and two sons, Lewis and Simon.

Rev. H. Rikkers followed in January, 1933 and after s years was called to be a missionary to the Indians in Shiprock, New Mexico.

Rev. Rikkers was followed by Rev. J. Weidenaar in 1936 who introduced a different method of Bible study for both home and congregational use. He remained with our church until May of 1942 when he moved to the Fuller Avenue Church.

Rev. L. Oostendorp of Battle Creek was called to become our pastor and is our present pastor for our church's 50th Anniversary celebration.

List of Consistory Members from 1893 - 1943

NAME

CONSISTORY

BENGELINK, M.

DEACON

BERGMANS, F.

DEACON

BERGMANS, J.

ELDERS

BEUKER, G.

ELDERS

BOLHOUSE, J.

DEACON

BOLT, O.

DEACON

BOLT, R.

DEACON

BOLT, R.

ELDERS

BOORSMA, J.

DEACON

BORDUIN, S.

DEACON

BOS, T.

DEACON

BOSHOVEN, J.

DEACON

BOSHOVEN, P. L.

DEACON

BOSSCHER, A.

DEACON

BOSSCHER, A.

ELDERS

BOUTERSE, G.

DEACON

BREAS, P.

DEACON

BREAS, P.

ELDERS

BROM, J.

DEACON

BRUINEKOOL, H.

DEACON

BUGUET, P.

DEACON

BYLSMA, D.

ELDERS

CAMMINGA, J.

ELDERS

CHRISTIANSE, M.

ELDERS

DAINING, A.

ELDERS

DE BOER, J. S.

DEACON

DE BOER, R.

DEACON

DE GEEST, H.

ELDERS

DE JONG, P.

ELDERS

DE JONG, R.

ELDERS

DE LOOF, G.

DEACON

DE VOS, A.

ELDERS

DE VRIES, W.

DEACON

DE WITT, C.

DEACON

DEKKER, J.

DEACON

DEKKER, P.

DEACON

DEN BRABER, M.

DEACON

DIK, A.

DEACON

DIK, A.

ELDERS

DOEZEMA, R.

DEACON

DOEZEMA, T.

ELDERS

DUIVEKOT, H.

DEACON

DYKEHOUSE, G.

DEACON

DYKEMA, M.

DEACON

DYKSTRA, A.

DEACON

DYKSTRA, H.

ELDERS

DYKSTRA, J.

ELDERS

GOOSSEN, H. W.

ELDERS

GOUDBERG, D.

ELDERS

GROENEVELT, L.

ELDERS

GUNTHER, G.

DEACON

HAVEMAN, J.

DEACON

HAZENBERG, E.

DEACON

HERTEL, W.

ELDERS

HOEKSEMA, D.

DEACON

HOEKSTRA, J(OHN) J.

ELDERS

HOEKSTRA, P(AUL)

ELDERS

HOLWERDA, J.

DEACON

HOLWERDA, J.

ELDERS

IMANSE, N.

DEACON

KARMAN, J.

DEACON

KATSMA, M.

ELDERS

KLUITER, D.

ELDERS

KONING, H.

ELDERS

KOOISTRA, H.

ELDERS

KOOPMAN, B.

DEACON

KOSTER, G.

DEACON

KUIPERS, P.

DEACON

LACHNIET, H.

DEACON

LANGELAND, D.

DEACON

LANGELAND, D.

ELDERS

LUIDENS, J.

DEACON

MERIZON, J. A.

DEACON

MULDER, D.

ELDERS

NAGELKIRK, D.

ELDERS

PRINCE, J.

DEACON

PRINS, P.

DEACON

PRINS, P.

DEACON

PRINS, R.

DEACON

SCAMEHORN, W.

ELDERS

SINKE, D.

ELDERS

SMIT, J.

ELDERS

SPREE, A.

DEACON

STOB, T.

ELDERS

STONEHOUSE, R.

DEACON

STONEHOUSE, R.

ELDERS

TEMPLE, J.

ELDERS

TEN ELSHOF, A.

DEACON

TIMMER, A.

DEACON

TOLK, S.

DEACON

VAN DEN BERGE, J.

ELDERS

VAN DEN BERGE, Y.

ELDERS

VAN EEUWEN, M.

DEACON

VAN GILST, P.

ELDERS

VAN HARN, H.

DEACON

VAN HERP, P. J.

ELDERS

VAN WESEP, N.

DEACON

VAN WYK, K.

ELDERS

VAN ZALEN, A.

ELDERS

VANDER BEI, F.

ELDERS

VANDER MEER, J.

ELDERS

VANDER MOLEN, H.

DEACON

VANDER MOLEN, J.

DEACON

VEENSTRA, R. J.

ELDERS

VELTKAMP, E.

DEACON

VENEMA, A.

ELDERS

VERBURG, D.

DEACON

WEEBER, H.

DEACON

WEEMHOFF, C.

ELDERS

WEEMHOFF, E.

DEACON

WILDEROM, N.

ELDERS

ZUIDEMA, P.

DEACON

ZWART, M.

DEACON

 


Transcriber: ES
Created: 15 Jul 2012; 4 August 2012
URL: http://kent.migenweb.net/churches/christianref/DennisAve.html