Remarks of Lambert Dykhuis on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Warren Park Christian Reformed Church [1949]

[Note: Lambert Dykhuis was the great uncle of Robert P. Swierenga, brother of his paternal grandmother, Grace Swierenga-Dykhuis. The Warren Park Church was the home church of the John Swierenga family.]

Dear Christian Friends and fellow members and friends of this now known as the (Warren Park Chr, Ref. Church) here assembled to commemorate the Fiftieth year or anniversary, will say that it is with reverence before our God that we are deeply moved with the spirit to speak a few words when we think of the days (not only days) but the years that have gone by. It is more than human mind or thought can (or dare) express when we think of what has taken place in the past and what he may have in store in the future.

When thinking in the years or days, that this church was organized as a congregation, permit me to say that the number of families signed a form that were willing to start a new church was 26.

As a boy at age 16, I heard a conversation from my father [Ralph Dykhuis] with his neighbor say in the Holland language, "do you think that we are able to start a new church out west here Fred?" Referring to Mr. F. Brands, long member of this church and now has gone to his eternal reward. This remark was something that I (at that time) thought so little of has grown to be something as we see and have it today. When thinking of those days that were, that it was not all gold that glitters, but that God has given the necessary ambitions and power through the Holy Spirit to go forward and to trust it all to him, and in Him whom we move and have our being.

The church today stands as a monument to the praise and glory of Our Triune God and also with the gifts and talents that were so needful especially in those days when we felt the need of the power of prayer and supplication. We have reason to thank our God for his manyfold blessings bestowed on this Militant church which also stands and means [remains?] for the church Triumphant.

I am writing these few lines to bring back our attention also for those that were put in office, to rule and to undertake their high calling put before them in their respective office. Elders Bulthuis, R. Dykhuis, and Mr. F. Brands; deacons Hoekstra, Slager, and Mr. Tinge being first in office.

The first pastor called and excepted [accepted] was Rev. F. Wielandt from Niekerk, Michigan. The Rev. De Leeuw (candidate) was next pastor, the Rev. Manni next. In those years the custom was to have one of the Elders as (Fore-lesser), this was done by opening services by singing a psalm and by reading of the ten commandments and also by reading the Chapters out of the bibel (sic) that were given by the pastor to the elder to read to the congregation in which the text would be found of the sermon preached. Also permit me to say that in those days the custom, at the time of celebrating the Lord's supper, was that members would gather around the table, this in turn would take 3 or 4 times to allow a certain number to come at one time. The Psalm 116 was frequently used during the time to change and come to the table. In many instances the Psalm 105 vers. 5 was used to sing at baptismals. Precious are the words sung in Holland language that had ever so deep a meaning, and which were and are even to many to this day, so meaningful to the soul. Not so long ago my wife and I walked through the cemetery and after spending a couple of hours there, it came to our minds of the many that were still with us praising in singing those psalms to the glory of our God, and that in turn we were still able to hear many voices singing and praising with the Heavenly angels to our God. This again reminds us of the first question in our compendium, "What is thy only comfort in life and in death? That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful savior jesus Christ, etc."

In changing, permit me to say in closing that to our God we owe it all to him, for without his sustaining Grace and divine power we would or could not as much as lift our hand or even the eye to look to him for further guidance.

To him be the Honor and praise now and forever more is our sincere wish for this his Church here on Earth, for time and eternity. How true it is when we sing the Hymn "Faith of our fathers, living still, etc."

May the God of our Salvation give us the guidance of his Holy Spirit to say be, thou our Gard [Guard], Guide, strength and Stay. Let us be true to our God as He is true to us in his spirit and word to go forward from generation to generation.