Rev. Henry Beets, L.L.D.

  REV. HENRY BEETS, L.L.D, a distinguished clergyman of the Christian Reformed church, a leader among the fine and large contingent of Michigan citizens of Holland birth and ancestry, and widely known as an editor and author, is a man who has translated into effective service the high ideals that have animated him and that represent the best in the scheme of human thought, motive and action. Since 1920 Dr. Beets has served as secretary and director of the missions of the Christian Reformed church in the United States, and since 1902 he has been stated clerk of the Christian Reformed church. He has his executive headquarters in the city of Grand Rapids, where his home is at 737 Madison avenue, southwest. Dr. Beets was born at Koedyk, near Alkmaar, in the Netherlands, January 5, 1869, and is a son of Jasper and Margaret (Smit) Beets. He came to the United Stated in the year 1886 and after spending the years of early manhood in Kansas came to Michigan to study at Grand Rapids, in Calvin College and Theological School there. He graduated as a member of the Seminary class of 1895, and October 20 of that year he was ordained a clergyman of the Christian Reformed church. In 1911 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Muskingum College, Ohio, an institution maintained under the auspices of the United Presbyterian church. From 1895 to 1899 Dr. Beets was pastor of the Christian Reformed church at Sioux Center, Iowa, and he then came to Grand Rapids as pastor of the LaGrave Avenue church of his denomination, where his zealous and fruitful service was continued until 1915. From that year until 1920 he was pastor of the church at Burton Heights, a suburb of Grand Rapids, and since 1920, as previously noted, he has been secretary and director of missions of the Christian Reformed church. In the period of 1902-1909 he was a member of the joint committee of the United State-Canadian churches to revise the metrical version of the Book of Psalms. In 1902, 1911 and 1923 Dr. Beets was a delegate to the General Synod of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands. Since 1904 he has been editor-in-chief of the Banner, the official weekly publication of the Christian Reformed church in America, and he has made many and valuable contributions to leading periodicals of religious and secular order, including the archives of Church History and the Michigan Historical Magazine. He is the author of the following named works: "Life of President McKinley", published, in the Dutch language, in 1901, "Life and Times of Abraham Lincoln", and "Truimphs of the Cross", which were published, in the Dutch language, in 1909 and 1914, respectively; "Compendium of the Christian Religion – Explained", with editions in 1915, 1919 and 1924; "History of the Christian Reformed Church, Its Work and Principles", was published in 1923 in part based on a larger work on his denomination which he, in 1918, had published in the Dutch language. A "Students Compendium of the Heidelberg Catechism", was published in 1925. Since 1915 Dr. Beets has been editor of "De Heidenwereld", a missionary monthly issued under the auspices of the Reformed and Christian Reformed churches. The Doctor is in the United States known as an exponent of lofty patriotism, and has been loyal and enthusiastic in bringing to the Holland element of citizenship a broader appreciation of the manifold advantages and attractions of the United States, as well as to have them gain a more comprehensive knowledge of the history of this country and its institutions. He has written numerous poems that voice his fervent Christian faith and also those that breathe of exalted civic loyalty and patriotism. He wrote the words for a beautiful poem that was set to music by J. M. Wilms, and that is entitled "Song of the Holland-Americans", with both Dutch and English metrical texts. The prescribed limitations of this publication prevent the full reproduction of this beautiful and noble song text, but one stanza is so notably significant that it is here given place:

"One special boon, our fathers’ God,
We crave from Thy right hand:
Make us a blessing more and more,
To our beloved land;
Infuse the best of all our past,
The noblest of our traits,
Into the life, into the deed,
Of our United States!"

On the 11th of September, 1895, was solemnized the marriage of Dr. Beets to Miss Clara Poel, of Grand Haven, Michigan, and they have three sons: Henry Nicholas Beets, M. A., is a graduate of the University of Chicago. He is now radiologist and physicist with a leading hospital in the city of Chicago. Albert Jasper, the second son, is engaged in business pursuits in Grand Rapids. William Clarence, youngest of the sons, is, in 1925, a medical student in the University of Michigan.

Transcriber: Evelyn Sawyer
Created: 21 June 2002