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Hancock Christian Reformed Church to hold centennial celebration

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Morris Minnesota 607 Pacific Avenue 56267

To coincide with the All-School Reunion weekend and 4th of July celebration, the Hancock Christian Reformed Church will welcome former pastors, former members, family and friends for three special events to mark her anniversary theme, "Celebrating 100 years of God's love and grace." The schedule is as follows:

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Friday, July 6, 7:30 p.m. Welcome and Sing-Along program. Everyone is invited to greet and join in welcoming former pastors, members, families and guests. John Ver Steeg will lead the program. Refreshments will be served downstairs with opportunities to personally greet former pastors and members.

Saturday, July 7, 10:00 a.m.. Annual 4th of July Program on the church yard. Guests are welcome to participate in the annual event with patriotic songs, skits, and speeches, hosted and led by Church Education Director Jerry Ver Steeg. Please bring lawn chairs for the outdoor program.

11:30 a.m.. Potluck dinner on lawn.

12:15 p.m. Games on the church lawn for both old and young.

Sunday, July 8, 10:00 a.m. Centennial Worship Service. The service will be led by Pastor Newhouse and attending former pastors. Rev. Carl Afman will give the message. Special music will be provided by a Choir under the direction of Karen VandenAkker.

Brief history of

the church

On June 21, 1912, a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a Christian Reformed Church in Hancock. Rev. Lambert Ypma of Prinsburg, Minnesota, and Rev. James Holwerda of Rock Valley, Iowa, were appointed by Classis Orange City to assist this new congregation. Rev. Ypma, who would be church counselor, was appreciated for his ability and good advice. He even assisted the young congregation financially.

Although the denominational name was officially "The Christian Reformed Church," historical documents and photos from the early twentieth century refer to the Hancock Christian Reformed Church as "The Holland Christian Reformed Church," the previous name of the denomination. The denomination made this official change in 1890.

Five families and a group of young people signified their desire to become members of the congregation. The members elected its first church consistory. Consistory was the term used for church council in our denomination for many years. Marcus Noordmans and Peter Van Schepen were the congregation's first elders. Sietse Hoekstra was the congregation's first deacon. Services continued to be held in homes in the Dutch language.

In 1913, three acres of land were purchased from local farmer Andrew McArthur for the building of a church. The basement was dug with volunteer labor. In 1914, the auditorium was erected. Until the congregation had an auditorium in which to worship, groups met in homes and in the German Lutheran Church.

On July 8, 1914, the church was dedicated to the service of the Lord. The parsonage was built in 1915.

Two horse barns, holding 24 teams each, were also built. To save traveling back and forth, members brought their own dinners and hay and oats for their horses and stayed for second service. The barns were sold in the 1940s.

The first pastor to accept a call was Candidate J. Cupido, who came to be the first pastor in October, 1916.

The depression years were difficult times for the church and everyone. The pastor's salary could not always be paid, but the farmers furnished Rev. Hoitenga's family with meat, flour, milk and eggs.

Up to January of 1946, some of the services had been in the Dutch language, but they were now discontinued. During this time, much time and effort was put forth toward either remodeling the old church or building a new one. Because of inadequate facilities for a kitchen, Sunday school rooms, and society groups, the church voted to build a new facility. A building committee was appointed. Members of the building committee were: Ray Ver Steeg, Mark Noordmans, John DeGier, Kenneth Evink, and Jake Van Eps.

In the fall of 1961, it was decided to dismantle the old church with volunteer labor. While a new church was constructed, services were held in the Hancock Public School.

On Thanksgiving Day, 1961, the congregation gathered at the partially constructed building for the cornerstone laying ceremony. The first worship service in the new church was on February 25, 1962.

During the late 1970s the parsonage was dismantled and a new parsonage was constructed by Baas Construction Company beginning in May, 1980.

In the fall of 1987 a fire broke out in the church. A fugitive from the law used the pastor's office to hide from law enforcement one night. Upon exiting the building, he threw a lit cigarette into the waste basket. A fire broke out. The office and part of the sanctuary sustained significant damage, but the structure as a whole was saved.

During repair of the fire damage, renovations were included in the project. The front of the church was extended with two new classrooms and a new council room in the church basement, and a foyer area and library on the main floor. That summer a roof was added to the southwest tower with a cross placed on top.

In the past decade the congregation has been richly blessed with new members and families. There has been an increase in young families and the births of children. The congregation has developed Kid Connection, a Bible learning program, ministering to children of the congregation and community. A new Young Adult Group has formed in the recent years.

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