It is a rather daunting task to write the history of a church. At one level, it is straightforward by researching the factual information contained in the archives and by talking with charter members and former pastors. At another level, it is more difficult to capture the spirit of what makes this part of Christ’s kingdom we call Christ Memorial unique. I have attempted to be faithful to both aspects of this endeavor.
“Thy Kingdom Come,” the history of Christ Memorial Reformed Church, was written after the first 57 years of its existence. It highlights the key events over this period of time which help define what it is today.
One of the challenges of writing history is what to include and what to leave out. There is much more that could have been included but the result would have been too lengthy. Highlights from the writer’s perspective are included and, as with the writing of any history, reflect the bias of the writer.
The sources consulted for this effort included review of the material about Christ Memorial at the Joint Archives of Holland. My special thanks go to Cynthia Mokma who diligently forwarded relevant information to the Archives and to the staff at the Archives who gave me access to boxes and boxes of material. I also met with charter members Herm Bakker, Jerry Becksford, Eleanor Borr, Marilyn Houting, Sally Scholten John, Micky Riksen Nagelkirk, Dwayne and Sharon Oonk, Gary Scholten, K. Lois Van Lente, Jerry Van Lente, and Doug Van Lente. I appreciate their willingness to share their memories about the church.
I also met with four former senior pastors including the Revs. Edwin Mulder, Ron Beyer, Tim Brown, and Mike Pitsenberger. Their insights and remembrances were highly valued. Finally, I met with Rev. Wes Kiel and Ed Vander Kooy who, while not senior pastors or charter members, had helpful insights and information. Especially with organizations as large as Christ Memorial, it is difficult to know who to consult. I chose to limit it to senior pastors since they are the most significant leaders of the church by their preaching and teaching, and to the others as noted above. If in so doing I have offended anyone, I apologize.
Keith J. Van Zoeren
Any misstatement or error of fact is solely the responsibility of the writer.