By Tom Arendshorst –
A neighborhood church, Bethel Reformed, on the corner of 19th and Van Raalte, was dedicated to serving the neighborhood for seventy-five years. In 1994 the congregation volunteered to operate the food bank of Community Action House while the non-profit was building its new home. At the same time, the members of the church were aging and the church was going to have to close their building. This was a sad time for them, but the congregation wanted their church home to live on in service to the Holland City neighborhood, even after the church closed and the people were gone.
They seriously considered their options: they could pass the church building on to another congregation that lacked funding to obtain their own building, or they could have sought some financial advantage. They prayed and sought God’s guidance, hoping that the building would live on as a neighborhood ministry, a major resource for the city neighborhoods that surround it.
At that same time The Boys and Girls Club of Holland was desperately looking for a new home of their own. The church location at 19th and Van Raalte was ideal for its youth development ministry. The people of Bethel felt called by God to pass their church home on to the Boys and Girls Club of Holland, and today, nineteen years later, the Boys and Girls Club remains a major neighborhood resource for its children and families—real evidence of the goodness of God’s love working among the people of Holland’s neighborhood community.