Church holds 50th anniversary

It was a hectic week and weekend at the Christian Reformed Church.
First the VBS, followed by Missionary Day with Mark and Nancy Vander Wees and family from Haiti making an appearance at the morning worship service.
They presented reflections of their work in Haiti through a video. They’ve been in Canada since June,2001, and will be returning to the mission field end of August.
A potluck anniversary dinner had a smooth transition for everyone, plus two one-layer anniversary cakes. To top it off, the afternoon service was focused around the 50th church anniversary,and to celebrate and remember the Lord who first brought the founding members of CRC congregation together in July, 1951. Nick Veldhuisen highlighted some interesting stories of the past.
The history of the Emo Christian Reformed Church goes back to the late 1940’s, when immigrants from the Netherlands who were living in Manitoba heard of farming opportunities and jobs in forestry and mining in the Rainy River District.
Some of these families, as well as new arrivals from the Netherlands, began to settle in the area. Although the local churches greeted them with open arms, the language was a real barrier. The Christian immigrants began to meet in their homes and organized worship services in their open language to hear, and once again understand God’s word.
The Christian Reformed Church in North America, a sister church of the Reformed Church in the Netherlands, became a great help. The first Christian Reformed Church in Winnipeg became a parent church of the new congregation in the Rainy River District. July 29, 1951 is the day of the first official church service led by Rev. A. Disselkoen of Winnipeg. From that day on Sunday services were held in the Calvary Baptist Church in Emo.
By the end of 1951 the new congregation of seven families and three singles borrowed every penny to purchase the church building of the Knox United Church in Emo. They also bought eight pews from the Baptist Church for their new church.
The first service was held there on April 6, 1952 and on May 11, the congregation officially dedicated themselves and their church building to God. In the spring of 1953, the Christian Reformed Church in North America approved of the Emo group as an official congregation of their denomination. March 25, 1953 is the offical “birthday” of the Emo Christian Reformed Church.
Over the years, many changes were seen as the result of growth in numbers and ministry. The addition was added in 1955, and new pews replaced the old ones in 1964. The basement was added between 1968-72, but by 1992, it became clear that adding on and remodelling would be inadequate and uneconomical. Fundraising began in earnest.
The response was tremendous, and by 1995 even the doubters were on board. And where there was once a hayfield, now stands a lovely new church building, dedicated to the service of our God in the community.
At the time of building the new facility, Pastor Gerald VanSmeerdyk remarked, “We live in a world and community which desperately needs to hear and respond to God’s Word and the open arms of the Gospel of Christ. May the Lord use us and this facility as we continue to be part of the community and represent Christ to the people around us.”
Prior to the anniversary dinner, the congregation sang, “This is the Day the Lord Hath Made.” Pastor Gerald led in prayer. The trio of Geneva Veldhuisen, Carol Kaemingh and Dorothy Quibell presented the selection “Find Us Faithful.” The afternoon service concluded with the doxology, “Praise God from Whom all Blessing Flow.”