Celebrating 60 Years of God’s Goodness!

Here’s something I wrote up for Church News of the Canadian Reformed Churches in the Fraser and Okanagan Valleys of British Columbia about the recent 60th Anniversary celebration of Cloverdale Canadian Reformed Church, where I’ve been privileged to serve the Good Shepherd and this flock of his since 2005.  This blog post is slightly revised and includes many of the pictures that Paul Jubenvill took during the event.

Celebrating 60 Years of God’s Goodness

1954 —  March 7 — 2014

We may look back on a wonderful 60th Anniversary Celebration. The celebration was a rich tapestry of memories and thanksgiving, of giving praise to God and enjoying fellowship. Friends and former members joined us to celebrate with music and song, nostalgia and art, food and drink, laughter and conversation.

Our MC for the evening, Mr. Siebe DeJong.

Our MC for the evening, Mr. Siebe DeJong.

Our theme was:

“The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy!”
Psalm 126:3

Before the formal program the guests had an opportunity to view the gallery of artifacts representing life as it was during the early days of our congregation, including furniture, photos, and film; books and magazines; tools and toys; suitcases and telephones–even a wedding dress; and much, much more.

One of the many displays in the Vintage Gallery. This display features a wedding dress worn by a mother and later her daughter, both members of our congregation.

One of the many displays in the Vintage Gallery. This display features a wedding dress worn by a mother (Mrs. Geri B.) and later her daughter (Wendy M.), both members of our congregation.

During the formal program, guests were treated to a historical retrospective by Mr. Siebe DeJong and greetings from previous pastors and their wives, both in person (Dr. & Mrs. James and Willy Visscher) and from afar (the Mulder’s and the Moesker’s). We were told a humorous story that included all the last names of our present membership by ‘Wilhelmina.’

Rev. Dr. James Visscher, pastor from 1978 to 1987

Rev. Dr. James Visscher,
pastor from 1978 to 1987

'Wilhelmina' made it, too!

‘Wilhelmina’ made it, too!

There was also a rich variety of music. The young people sang a couple of songs for us. The Chinese Reformed Church Choir sang the Genevan Psalm 84, recently translated into Chinese, and “The Church’s One Foundation.”

         All the nations you have made           will come and worship before you, O Lord;           they will bring glory to your name.  Psalm 86:9

“All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name.”
Psalm 86:9

A strings, piano and wind variation on the Genevan version of our theme-song, Psalm 126, composed by Kent Dykstra, was performed by him and a small group of musicians, including a vocal solo by Esther L.

Janice (piano), Kent (violin), Heres (flute), Carlina (cello) and Esther (voice) perform Kent's composition on Genevan Psalm 126. The dreamy style reflected the words of verse 2: "We were like those who dreamed." The congregation joined in for the singing of stanzas 2 & 3.

Janice (piano), Kent (violin), Heres (flute), Carlina (cello) and Esther (voice) perform Kent’s composition on Genevan Psalm 126. The dreamy style reflected the words of verse 2: “We were like those who dreamed.” The congregation joined in for the singing of stanzas 2 & 3.

A cheerful set of anthems was performed by the Cloverdale Choir and children, and a Bluegrass version of our theme-song was performed by the catechism students with voices and instruments, both groups conducted by Marina Lodder. The congregation was invited to join the choirs and musical instruments at several points in the program. We also sang a rousing version of the national anthem, accompanied by two more of our church musicians, organist Richard Dykstra and pianist Ann Bysterveld.

Catechism students performing Western-Canadian artist Steve Bell's lively Bluegrass version of Psalm 126, arranged and conducted by Marina Lodder.

Catechism students performing Western-Canadian artist Steve Bell’s lively Bluegrass version of Psalm 126, arranged and conducted by Marina Lodder. Several catechism students played along with musical instruments.

Congratulatory messages were conveyed from our mayor in the person of Ms. Barinder Rasode, Surrey City Councillor, and from Ottawa with a letter from Mr. Russ Hiebert, M.P.

Ms. Barinder Rasode, Surrey City Councillor brings greetings on behalf of Mayor Dianne Watts

Ms. Barinder Rasode, Surrey City Councillor brings greetings on behalf of Mayor Dianne Watts

Special guests included three senior women who were members at institution, Mrs. Alice B. and Mrs. Bep V. who are now members in Lynden, and one of our own, Mrs. Jane B. She has been a part of our congregation since institution, and therefore was given the honour of unveiling the anniversary mosaic.

One of our senior members, Mrs. Jane B., a member since the church's institution in 1954, unveils the mosaic

One of our senior members, Mrs. Jane B., a member since the church’s institution in 1954, unveils the mosaic

The mosaic was a labour of love, crafted by a group of our church’s women under the skillful supervision of artist Sheila VanDelft. Many members contributed ideas and materials to the mosaic, and it is now on permanent display in our church foyer.

Jan tells us some of the stories that went into the making of this mosaic.

Jan tells us some of the stories that went into the making of this mosaic.

Afterwards, we enjoyed more conversation and fellowship with a rich variety of delicious appetizers and treats, finely prepared and presented by Mary Grim, Nora VanOene and the Ladies’ Aid.

A feast of tasty food and drink awaits... with lots more to come!

A feast of tasty food and drink awaits… with lots more to come!

Special thanks go to the organizing committee, Sarah Vandergugten, Sheila VanDelft, Cathy Kieneker, and Chris Schouten. A big thanks to everyone else who worked behind the scenes: Steve Schoen and custodian Mr. Bill Jongs and many other volunteers who spent many hours making sure that the church building and property were looking their best. Tyler Voorhorst volunteered a few evenings making sure everything was in order in the video/sound booth. Paul Jubenvill took pictures. And the list goes on and on.

Mosaic makers Jan, Cathy, Frieda, Sheila and Jenn.  The broken pieces that make up the mosaic were contributed by many members and former members. All the members were invited to contribute their ideas to the design of he mosaic, under the skillful direction of artist Sheila VanDelft.

Mosaic makers Jan, Cathy, Frieda, Sheila and Jenn.
The broken pieces that make up the mosaic were contributed by many members and former members. All the members were invited to contribute their ideas to the design of he mosaic, under the skillful direction of artist Sheila VanDelft.

As I write this, I find it so striking again how reflective such an event is of the spiritual functioning of the body of Christ. So many members are involved, and every member has a part to play. And like the anniversary mosaic that is now in our church foyer, each one of us, in all our fallen, shattered, broken humanity is brought together, bound together and made one by God and His Spirit, made whole and complete in Christ.

Anniversary Mosaic Broken people made whole in Christ

Anniversary Mosaic
Broken people made whole in Christ

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us,
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.”
Psalm 115:1

After all, it’s all about the LORD our God, and what he has done for us in Christ. “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with you!” (Ps 126:3)

Image credits: Paul Jubenvill

MORE PHOTOS

Guess who?

Guess who?

Sarah, daughter of Rev. Jules VanPopta (pastor from 1966 until his sudden death in 1968), one of the event organizers

Sarah, daughter of Rev. Jules VanPopta (pastor from 1966 until his sudden death in 1968), one of the event organizers

Memories of Rev. Jules and Nel VanPopta and family, who came to Cloverdale from Edmonton in 1968. Rev. Van Popta, the father of member Sarah V., and the grandfather and great grandfather of many of the church's present members, died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1968. Two of his sons, John and George, are serving as ministers of in the Canadian Reformed Churches in Burlington and Ottawa, Ontario.

Memories of Rev. Jules and Nel VanPopta and family, who came to Cloverdale from Edmonton in 1968. Rev. Van Popta, the father of member Sarah V., and the grandfather and great grandfather of many of the church’s present members, died suddenly and unexpectedly in 1968. Two of his sons, John and George, are serving as ministers of in the Canadian Reformed Churches in Burlington and Ottawa, Ontario.

The chair where Cloverdale's second pastor's wife, Mrs. Nel VanPopta, used to sit and talk on the phone.

Some furniture that belonged to Mrs. Nel Van Popta.

Anniversary Program

Anniversary Program

More artifacts from days of yore!

More artifacts from days of yore

Three of the original members in front of the mosaic in the foyer, where it is now permanently mounted. Mrs. Jane B. (centre) is still a member of our congregation. Mrs. Bep V. (left) has a daughter and many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren here. Both her and Mrs. Alice B. (right) live across the Canada-US border and worship at the Lynden American Reformed Church.

Three of the original members in front of the mosaic in the foyer, where it is now permanently mounted. Mrs. Jane B. (centre) is still a member of our congregation. Mrs. Bep V. (left) has a daughter (Mary G.) and many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren here. Both her and Mrs. Alice B. (right) live across the Canada-US border and worship at the Lynden American Reformed Church.

Dutch treats!

Dutch treats!

Houses of worship through the years

Houses of worship through the years (1)

Houses of Worship through the years

Houses of Worship through the years (2)

'The red-roofed church,' one of the first donation boxes, prominently displaying in Dutch and English:  "Preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). God's call to mission and evangelism remains a high priority 60 years later.

‘The red-roofed church,’ one of the first donation boxes, prominently displaying in Dutch and English: “PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE” (Mark 16:15). God’s call to mission and evangelism remains a high priority 60 years later.

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Published in: on March 15, 2014 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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