Bethel
Christian Reformed Church
History
 

October 26, 1951, will always be a memorable date for the Bethel Christian Reformed Church of Lynden, Washington. Because of over-crowded conditions in the First and Second Christian Reformed Churches, their pastors and consistories urged the formation of a fourth church in Lynden. Peter Bulthuis, Chris Van Andel, Jr. and John Van Loo comprised the committee to seek permission from Classis Pacific to organize.

The organizing meeting was held at Second CRC and, on that Friday evening in October, twenty-six families and two individuals from First CRC, and thirty-eight families and three individuals from Second CRC, left their parent churches to form a new congregation.

In the business meeting that followed, the consistory of the new church was elected. William Heusinkveld, Edward Kok, John Orange, Louis Post, Arie Schouten and John Vander Haak were closen as elders. Peter Bulthuis, Ray De Vries, Kenneth Kornelis, Ray Terpstra, Howard Van Aalsburg and Hilbert Vogel were chosen as deacons.

At the first congregational meeting, the name of Bethel Christian Reformed Church was chosen with the prayer that we might truly become a “House of God.” For over fifty years, Bethel members have attempted to live up to that name.

Rev. Theodore Verhulst of Graafschaap, Michigan accepted our call, and was installed as our first pastor on July 25, 1952. Shortly after his arrival, we began our building program.

At a congregational meeting held December 8, 1952, the decision was made to build a church of colonial architecture. Edward Kok served as chairman of the building committee, which included Peter Huisingh, Arie Schouten, Jim Van Andel, Henry Vander Giessen, Hilbert Vogel and Gerrit Zoet as members.

On the afternoon of April 18, 1953, we met to celebrate the laying of the cornerstone and to hear a message based on Isaiah 28:16 — “I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation”. On December 8, 1953, we celebrated the completion of our building program and the dedication of our House of Worship to the service and praise of our God.

For over fifty years, the Word of God has been faithfully preached at Bethel Church. By God’s grace, our first pastor’s pledge “to preach Christ as the only hope and salvation of the sinner” has been carried out by all who have served our church — Rev. Theodore Verhulst (1952–1955), Rev. Alfred Hannink (1955–1958), Rev. Andrew Zylstra (1958–1965), Rev. Farquar MacLeod (1965–1968), Rev. John Hofman, Jr. (1968–1973), Rev. Robert Vermeer (1973–1981), Rev. Ken Havert (1983–1990), Rev. Gerard Van Groningen (1991–2001) and Rev. John Van Schepen, who became our pastor in 2002.