Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Installation of Rev. H. Van Essen: Minister in Retirement

Written by George Brink
August 25, 1998 was a very special day for the Chatham congregation. Along with many friends and relatives, and in the presence of God, we could witness the installation of Rev. Henry Van Essen as a minister of our congregation.

Rev. Van Essen was ordained to the ministry in the Reformed Church of America (RCA) 38 years ago and after his retirement 2 1/2 years ago, he moved to Chatham to be close to family. It was at that time that he, and his wife, Engelina attended one of our worship services (a reading service) and decided to come again, and again. A year later hey were welcomed as members of the congregation. Being still healthy Rev. Van Essen continued to preach occasionally in other churches (outside FRC) under guidelines agreed to with the consistory. Also, during this time he made pastoral visits in the Chatham congregation, particularly the elderly, since the Chatham congregation is without a pastor. As time went on, though, there was a growing desire on his part and also on the part of Consistory and congregation that he preach for us. After submitting to an examination by the Chatham consistory and the External Relations committee of our denomination in April 1998, he was given permission to preach until June, at which time we were required to seek approval from Synod to call Rev. Van Essen, as minister in retirement, on a part time basis. He was again examined by the delegates of our churches at Synod and approved overwhelmingly.

After receiving a unanimous call from the congregation, he duly accepted. Rev. H. Bergsma conducted the installation service preaching on the text 2 Timothy 2:15, using as theme, "Encouragement to the Workman." Rev. Van Essen chose for his theme, "Entering the Construction Site" based on the texts, "1 Corinthians 3: 7 and 1 Peter 2:5a".

Addresses were given by elder Nick Zuidema, chairman of consistory, Rev. C. Pronk, on behalf of the churches, Rev. Martyn Van Essen, (son of Rev. and Mrs. H. Van Essen), and also by others. Following the ceremony we could enjoy fellowship with one another, also in celebration of the 40th wedding anniversary of Rev. and Mrs. Van Essen, which occurred on August 30.

As a minister of the Chatham FRC, Rev. Van Essen has a limited charge, mainly to preach for us on occasion and do some visiting; we wish to honour the fact that he is retired. Installing Rev. Van Essen does not diminish our need for a full time pastor and teacher and we continue to pray that the Lord will graciously provide in His time. We do thank God for giving us Rev. Van Essen, who has already been a great blessing to us. His ministry is very much appreciated by us and we hope that the Lord will bless him and his wife with strength and health for many years to come.

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