To know God and Make Christ known through The Holy Spirit by:
Worship, Fellowship, Education, Service and Evangelism
We in the Reformed Church in America believe God created humans perfect and free to make choices. They chose to disobey their Creator. Turning away from God, humanity fell into sin. All of the suffering and evil in the world is because of this sin.
Even though we have turned away from Him, God still loves all people and wants our lives to be full of joy and peace. Right from the beginning, God had a plan to make this happen.
God’s plan was to send Jesus, who lived a life of perfect obedience to God and who died to pay the price for all people’s sins. God raised Jesus back to life. He is in heaven now, but he has promised to return to earth someday. When he comes again, he will resurrect all believers and take them to be with him in heaven.
Believers are people who accept that Jesus Christ is God’s Son. They also believe that Jesus died for their sins and rose from the dead, and they do their best to follow his teachings and example. Together they form the church, which is called Christ’s body on earth, and have a responsibility to continue Christ’s work.
Living the Christian life is not always easy, but believers receive guidance from the Bible and from the teachings and example of Christ; and they receive encouragement and power from God’s Holy Spirit.
We believe in God’s covenant given to Abraham with the sign and seal being circumcision. The Early Church substituted Baptism for circumcision, therefore we do practice infant baptism…but we also celebrate believers baptism.
Communion is offered to all who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and the only way to the Father.
The Reformed Church in America accepts three confessional statements as expressions of its basic beliefs:
The Heidleberg Catechism. Formulated during the Reformation, and still important as a teaching tool in many churches, it has had by far the most formative influence on the life of the Reformed Church.
The Belgic Confession. Written in the sixteenth century by Guido de Bres, a pastor and itinerant preacher in southern Netherlands, it was intended to persuade Philip II of Spain that Reformed people did not hold heretical views. De Bres hoped to convince the king to stop persecuting the Protestants; he himself became a martyr for his faith in 1567.
The Canons of Dort were formulated in 1618 to resolve a dispute among Dutch theological professors on the issue of divine sovereignty in the work of salvation.
The Reformed Church also affirms three creeds that arose in the early church, the Apostles Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and the Nicene Creed.
In 1978 the Reformed Church approved Our Song of Hope as a contemporary statement of faith in its ministry of witness, teaching, and worship.
In the Reformed tradition, creeds are subject to evaluation in the light of Scriptures. They are always subordinate to the final authority of Christ.
Growing up as a PK (“Preacher’s Kid”), I never wanted to become a pastor myself. However, God has an interesting way of leading our lives. After graduating from Kalamazoo Christian and Reformed Bible College (now Kuyper College), my heart’s desire was to be a missionary pilot. I earned my commercial pilot’s license, but soon realized that God was guiding me toward local ministry.
In 1988, I graduated from Western Theological Seminary and moved to Willow Lake, South Dakota to pastor two wonderful rural congregations. After 11 rewarding years, my children and I moved back to Kalamazoo so that I could serve the congregation of Calvary Reformed Church as lead pastor.
In 2007, our lives changed once again as I married my best friend, Sue (Vandenberg).
Sue grew up in Kalamazoo, graduating from Kalamazoo Christian and Davenport College. After ten years of employment in human resources, she decided to switch gears and pursue her passion for working with young children by setting up an in-home daycare. Little did she know that God had plans for her to eventually meet and marry me. Sue is instrumental in the success of the church’s yearly “Ladies’ Tea Parties” and any other work I pass on. Sue also helps with our preschool program here at Calvary.
We are blessed with a large family that includes: Jesse (Kathy), Seth (Kari), and Ahna (Nick), Anna, Amelia and Alexis; and four grandchildren
Though I never became a missionary pilot, I do spend my spare time serving in the military as Wing Chaplain for the 110th Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek.
My favorite verse: Romans 1:16 (NIV) I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.
Stefanie is a graduate of Galesburg Augusta High School and Western Michigan University. At Western, Stefanie studied elementary education. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a double minor in English and Social Studies. Stefanie taught 5th grade for 10 years in Charlotte, NC. She lives in Paw Paw with her husband Ray and their 5 children: Emmy, Luke, Aiden, Ellie, and Rachel. Stefanie enjoys being outdoors, camping, fishing, crocheting, reading, and photography. Her and her family attend Red Arrow Ministries in Paw Paw.
Something you might not know about Stefanie is that her and her husband own a photography business. It gets busy around their house…but, they love it!
Her favorite verses are ‘At the name of Jesus every knee will bow’ Philippians 2:10 and ‘The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still’ Exodus 14:14
After graduating from high school in 2012, I spent two years volunteering as an intern with GEMS Girls clubs, helping to start The Esther School(for orphaned and under-resourced children) in Zambia, Africa. Upon returning to the states, I was really looking for a way to serve here and ended up getting involved with the Young Life ministry in Mattawan. When I heard that a local church was looking for a youth leader, I felt like God was putting that opportunity right in front of me. A couple months and a few interviews later, I was officially hired as Calvary’s High School Youth Leader in February of 2015.
Working with the youth at Mattawan High School and here at Calvary has been quite an adventure so far. Everyone I’ve met at Calvary has welcomed me with open arms and really made me feel like part of the church family. It’s been fun building relationships with the kids, talking about faith together, and dreaming about future plans, mission trips, etc. I am humbled that God would want to use me here and so excited to be a part of what He is doing with this youth group!
Heather Carlson leads the amazing Calvary Kids Preschool program. This is Heather’s second year teaching at Calvary. Previously, she has taught elementary education in Christian schools in Minnesota and Idaho.
Heather and her husband, Chet, have been married for 9 years. They have 2 beautiful children, Hallie (8), and Seth (5). They moved to the area from Idaho in August of 2014 to start a new church called Common Ground, a collaboration between the RCA and CRC denominations.
Heather loves spending time with her family and looks forward to opportunities when they are able to travel back home to Minnesota to see extended family there. As a teacher, Heather’s goal is to show the love of Christ to all of her students each and every day. As a child of God, Heather proclaims Psalm 62:6 as her life verse: “He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”
Calvary started in 1942 as the Bethany Mission. Until the official organization of Calvary in 1954, the Mission was served by various speakers, mainly Seminarians. In 1954 with the help of Kalamazoo Classis, the Mission was organized as Calvary Reformed Church. The congregation had outgrown the renovated school house on 6th and “RS” Ave. and with the help of Faith Reformed Church of Portage, Faith’s old church building was moved to West Crooked Lake Drive.
In March of 1955 Calvary called its first full-time call to Rev. Wayne Tripp. Youth were a focus of both Rev. Tripp’s and Rev. Donald Lam’s tenure through 1977. In 1978 the Rev. Vern Hettinga began a 14 year pastorate which culminated with the building of the first section of the sanctuary at 7829 S. 5th Street. Rev. Jonathan Brownson pastored from 1993 to 1997. During this time, the educational wings were added. At present Calvary is served by the Rev. Greg Van Heukelom who was installed on March 15, 1999.
The Reformed Church in America, which includes some of the best-known congregations in North America, was established on this continent l50 years before the Revolutionary War.
The word Reformed comes from the Protestant Reformation which swept across Europe in the 1500s under the leadership of such men as Martin Luther and John Calvin. Calvin’s reformation at Geneva spread to many countries, including, Scotland (where it became the Presbyterian Church) and the Netherlands (where it became our ancestor, the Dutch Reformed Church).
Our history is a long and colorful one which you may enjoy learning more about later. The Dutch Reformed Church established its first congregation in New Amsterdam in 1628. Although Dutch in origin, the Reformed church in America has for decades included peoples of many different races and nationalities in its congregations. The denomination currently has about 960 churches in the United States and Canada, with 201,000 active confirmed members.
Do you wonder what the history is of Calvary Reformed and the Reformed Church in America,
check out the Denomination’s website
We all watch YouTube, but try this site for a Faith filled change of movies. GodTube
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Raising children is not an easy task, but one of the most rewarding. Visit Focus On Your Childfor ideas to share your love.
Looking for Daily devotions? RBC Ministries
Looking for news which deals with a Christian perspective, check out Christianity Today