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Another expansion of church facilities took place in October 1907 when a 50’X 50’ plot was purchased north of the church building for $1,500.

Denominational ties were extended during Rev. Pieneman’s ministry. The pastor and Elder Sporte visited Sheboygan, Wisconsin in December 1906 where they laid the groundwork which eventually led to organization. A visit to Paterson, New Jersey in January 1907 by the minister and Elder Merizon resulted in the establishment of the Haledon Avenue Church (now Franklin Lakes NRC). Another visit was made in April 1908 to install Rev. N. Beversluis as the first pastor of the new church. In May 1909, the Kalamazoo church joined the NRC.

The Hastings Street School, now known as the Plymouth Christian Schools

Under the leadership of Rev. Pieneman, the Hastings Street Christian School was established.

The consistory minutes of January 31, 1908, record the appointment of a committee consisting of a Mr. Post, J. Mol, John DeMeester, and D. DeBruyn. The committee met with the consistory on February 7, and were charged by the pastor to make a thorough investigation of the possibility of establishing a school for giving Christian instruction to the youth. Three weeks later, the committee brought in an encouraging report which prompted the consistory to call a congregational meeting on March 19 to elect a nine-member school board. The question of who should teach the children was brought up by the committee, but this was settled by Rev. Pieneman who suggested that Dick DeBruyn be engaged to teach English, and Mr. K. Winters of was Rotterdam be called to teach in the Dutch language. Mr. DeBruyn later declined this position, so Mrs. Kate E. Hogle was engaged to teach English. Mr. Winters accepted the call and arrived with his wife and two children on August 3, 1908. A school building was erected on Hastings Street during the summer. On Monday afternoon, September 7, 1908, the minister officiated at an installation ceremony to open the new school.At the next consistory meeting, permission was granted to a group of young women to gather regularly in the consistory room to sew items for the benefit of the school.

At the consistory meeting of October 1, 1909, permission was granted to a group of young men to use the consistory room for the meetings of a young men’s society. At this meeting, Rev. Pieneman announced that he had accepted a call to Charlois, The Netherlands.

The pastor preached his farewell sermon on November 16 and began his journey to the old fatherland on the next day.

Rev. H. A. Minderman

The Congregation’s pastoral vacancy after Rev. Pieneman’s departure lasted only two years. The seventh call sent out was accepted by Rev. H.A. Minderman (1856-1933), of the Christian Reformed Church, Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He was installed on November 19, 1911 as the sixth pastor of the Grand Rapids flock, whom he served for ten years to the spiritual benefit of many. Concerning Rev. Minderman’s ministry in Grand Rapids, the 100th Anniversary booklet notes:

”It was during Rev. Minderman’s ministry that the Division Avenue and the Turner Avenue Churches were united by denominational ties. Rev. J.C. Wielhouwer was the pastor of the latter congregation when this occurred. Throughout the years since the Turner Avenue congregation was organized it was recognized that the doctrine professed by both churches was the same. Many times throughout these years there were overtures sent and meetings held between the two consistories to effect a union, but without success. In December 1917, Rev. Minderman was called to attend the consistory meeting in the Turner Avenue Church where he informed them that the basis for unity would have to be subjection to the Church Order and to come without reservations. At a joint meeting of the consistories of both churches held in the Division Avenue Church on January 3, 1918, the union was ratified. This association lasted about thirty years when difficulties developed which caused a separation.”

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