Growing in relationship with God, with each other, & with our community.
Several years ago we decided, as a congregation, that this was our purpose and mission - so we gather. For worship on Sunday, of course, but also for Monday dinners and Tuesday Farmer's Markets, for random campfires and Saturday night birthday parties. We are a community of friends growing together... and you are welcome.
Rev. John C. Medendorp
Pastor John comes from a long line of ministers in the Christian Reformed Church.
A fifth-generation American, he was born in the Netherlands, grew up in the Dominican Republic, and went to high school in Houston, Texas before coming to Grand Rapids, Michigan to study at Calvin College and Seminary.
Pastor John was ordained as a minister in 2015 and has served churches in Kitchener, Ontario and Bellflower, California before coming to New Era to serve as interim pastor. He currently lives in New Era with his family.
Our Church History
FORMATION: The New Era Christian Reformed Church was first organized on January 5, 1884, in the home of Herman VanderVen. The church was originally named Holland Christian Reformed Church of New Era. Since these early settlers were of Dutch descent, the “Holland language,” as it was called, was used at the first meeting, and remained the common language until the turn of the century. Services were conducted in the Holland and English languages until June 4, 1937, when the congregation decided that all services would henceforth be held in English. This marked the end of the language controversy, which had extended over a period of almost forty years.
FIRST CONSTRUCTION: The first congregational meeting was also held on this date to consider the construction of a church building. Two lots on the corner of what are now Blair and Third Street in New Era, were donated by Joseph Zeek and the proposed building was to be twenty-four by forty feet. It would be four more years before a pastoral call was issued and accepted. In June of 1895, New Era Christian Reformed Church received its first ordained minister, Reverend J. VanderWerp, who served until May of 1898. During his ministry a new parsonage was built and in March, 1896, the first Young People’s Society was organized.
CHRISTIAN EDUCATION: The second pastor to serve this congregation was Reverend William Kole from July, 1898, to May, 1900. The Christian School movement in New Era can be traced to the days of Rev Kole. On June 19, 1899, the Consistory went on record favoring the principle of what was first called a Holland School. This functioned as a Christian Summer School until a Christian School Society with a view of providing daily faith based instruction for the children of the congregation was formed in December, 1916. However, it would take until 1953 before a Christian School building would actually be dedicated and classes held.
GROWING CONGREGATION: On October 27, 1928, the Montague Christian Reformed Church merged with our church and we welcomed ten additional families consisting of twenty-seven new confessing members into our congregation.
NEWMAN CHAPEL: In the summer of 1953, a mission Sunday School was organized seven miles east of New Era, at the Newman School. The initial enrollment was ten, but over the years the attendance increased greatly. In the summer of 1959 consolidation of the school left the school building vacant. The congregation voted to purchase the building, and in August, 1959, the mission Sunday School was renamed Newman Chapel. In June, 1980, Candidate George Mossel was called as the first full-time evangelist to serve the Newman Chapel congregation. The membership continued to grow and in 2008 Newman Chapel became the independent Newman Christian Reformed Church.
LATINO OUTREACH: During the summer of 1955 Dr Benjamin Vila was hired on a part-time basis to bring the Gospel to the many Latino agricultural workers in the area. In 1957 Dr Vila’s nephew, David Vila, took over this ministry on a full-time basis. During this time a Spanish service was held each Sunday afternoon throughout the summer months. Volunteers transported as many as 248 migrant workers from the area farms to the church for these services each week. Several men reached through this ministry went on to become pastors of churches in Mexico. The Christian Reformed Denomination’s interest and its witness to Mexico and other parts of Latin America is a direct result of the migrant programs begun in New Era during this time.
SECOND CONSTRUCTION: On April 12, 1959, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the construction of our current sanctuary and parsonage on Ray Avenue. On December 3, 1959, a Service of Dedication was held in the new sanctuary and on the following day a special 75th Anniversary Service was held.
125 YEARS: In August, 2009, our congregation celebrated our 125th Anniversary. One hundred twenty five years of spiritual blessings have been received from our faithful God. We reflect on the past with gratitude for His unfailing mercy and loving kindness. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
If you have any questions about our Congregation please ask.