60 Years On
December 16th 2011 marks 60 years since our church was instituted. We celebrated this special occasion on Sunday 18th December with a special photo presentation and by taking a church family photo.
Wollongong CRC — A Reflection on 60 Years
In Sydney is our mother church. It started with 10 persons coming together to hold reading services at home, and later in a room of the Free Presb. Church. They decided, with God’s help to call a minister from Holland. Rev. J. van der Bom was willing to accept the call and arrived in May 1951.
Our first contact with Rev. van der Bom was in July. 17 believers attended the meeting and decided to have their first service in Dutch in the Methodist church Corrimal. Later we could use the Sunday School Hall as our church home, situated at Carter’s Lane at Fairy Meadow. When Rev. van der Bom was not available we held reading services.
Dec. 16, 1951, was the historic date of the signing of the protocol that made the CRC in Sydney official. From Wollongong came Piet de Vries, Jan Wiersma and Albert Moerman to witness the event. 147 members from far and wide at the YMCA in Sydney signed it.
In Wollongong the group was growing fast. Coming to Sept. 1952 we were able to buy the land and Hall on it for £1000. There were only children’s seats, so boards were put over the seats to make a sort of pew, without a backrest. We had a Ping-Pong table for the Lord’s Supper service. The Hall improved greatly with voluntary labour of Br’s Tibben and Reitsema.
In Jan 1953 we became an independent church, and all our services were in Dutch.
After receiving some Psalters hymnals from the CRC Grand Rapids we tried to sing English for the opening hymn No. 468 and 463 as closing hymn.
Rev. van der Bom could not cope with all the work to be done and needed help. Sydney decided to call Arent de Graaf to minister to the Wollongong church, the only church with its own building! 3rd Dec. 1953, Arent de Graaf arrived in Sydney.
At the ordination service a collection was held for a motorcycle for the new minister and another one at the Christmas service in Sydney. Result was £65. The motorcycle gave Arent the nickname “the flying Dutchman”. 24th March 1954, Rev. de Graaf was officially called as our own minister. After some years of preparation, financially and otherwise, Rev. de Graaf laid the foundation stone of the 1st part of our permanent church in 1959. In Sept. ’59, Rev. de Graaf left for New Zealand and missed the opening of tour new building in Dec. ’59. Rev. van der Bom took his place and preached on Luke 22:32.
20 Feb. 1960 saw the installation of our 2nd minister, Rev. Jack Jonker, a man with great experience, wisdom and an outstanding preacher. During his time with us the 2nd half of our building was completed. The dedication service was held on the 11th Dec. 1971. Rev. Jonker was with us for 13 yrs, shared our joys and also our fears. The farewell message to his congregation was recorded and played in church on the 1st July, a very moving experience. One month later, 1st Aug 1973 the Lord took His faithful servant forever to be with Him.
Our third minister was Rev. Nick Hart, who resigned after 3 yrs for personal reasons.
(These facts were taken out of a booklet written by Albert Moerman).
Minister No. 4 was Rev. Jack Postma. He came in 1977 and it was a heart-warming relationship between church and minister. In that time there was an influx of Vietnamese refugees, who were helped to settle in at their arrival. The Postma’s left our church denomination for conscientious reasons in 1983.
2 months later we welcomed our 5th minister, Rev. Fred van der Bom, the son of our first minister. He served our church for 13yrs and left in 1997.
Richard Schoenmaker was minister No. 6. We enjoyed their time of fellowship for 8 yrs which ended when they left for Mt Evelyn, Vic.
Our current minister is Colin Grant with his wife Helen and children Matt, Heather and Wes. We pray that it is God’s will that they stay with us for many a year, as they are very involved with the goings-on in our congregation.
WCRC — 60 Years of Blessing
When we look back over all the years we see how many blessings God has bestowed on us as a church.
60yrs ago when we officially became a church: we owned a weatherboard hall to hold our services, Sunday school, catechism classes and choir practice. 8 yrs on we could build the front of the church building. 11 yrs later could build the back part. Thanks be to God for his goodness, guidance and provisions, so that we could finish the building in brick.
Now: we have Paul Muilwyk as our Youth Worker; we have Carter’s Kids playgroup, GEMS and Cadets, Youth Group, Home Groups, Ladies Bible study/craft group, Men’s breakfast, Homework Club, Holiday Kid’s Club, Scripture, Soccer club, International Student Ministry, Pastoral Care network, a P.A. system, disk ministry, website, shopping trolley.
We thank the Lord for all His benefits and grace over the last 60yrs … and we pray for His blessing in the future, that we may use these gifts to His glory.