Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Institution Service of Zion Reformed Church Wellandport, Ontario

Written by Hans VanDoodewaard
The institution service of Zion Free Reformed Church was held on the evening of June 26, 2002 at the Wellandport Orthodox Reformed Church in Wellandport, Ontario. There were a number of members from the Vineland Free Reformed Church congregation, other Free Reformed churches and also representatives from other Reformed denominations in attendance for this historic occasion. Rev. P. VanderMeyden from the Vineland Free Reformed Church led the worship service and preached the institution sermon.

The form for installation of office bearers was read and those seven brothers who were chosen as elders and deacons answered the questions in the affirmative. Brothers J. Coolen, F. Fousert, H. Otten Jr., and A. Veenstra were installed as elders and Brothers J. Fekkes, E. DeKorte and H. VanDoodewaard were installed as deacons. They were charged with the task to represent the ministry of Christ in the congregation and to know that it is both a responsibility and a delight to labour in His service. By virtue of the installation of these office bearers a new congregation was constituted. To God be all the glory!

Rev. VanderMeyden then preached his sermon, which was based on Psalm 132:8-11, with a corresponding focus on the remainder of the chapter. The theme was "A Prayer for Zion." The three points of the sermon were 1) God's Gracious Presence; 2) God's Merciful Power; and 3) God's Sanctifying Spirit. Rev. VanderMeyden's sermon posed the question: "Is it a matter of course that God's gracious presence will be with this congregation?" He stated that there is the promise that "where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20). This forms both the pleading ground and the rich assurance that this will be fulfilled according to GodÕs own good pleasure. Thus the congregation should pray the prayer of Zion, "Arise, O Lord, into thy restÓ (Psalm 132:8). He continued with an explanation of the passage and said that the ark was a symbol of God's merciful and holy power. God is a consuming fire. Does the congregation truly want the presence and power of God in their midst? May there continue to be changed hearts by the power of His grace and that as a congregation there is the desire to be sanctified by the Spirit and be "clothed with righteousness" (vs.9). In summary, Jesus Christ has promised not to leave them nor forsake His people (Heb.13: 5). Therefore, the church must plead this promise in Christ Jesus. This promise is fulfilled in verse 14 of the Psalm, "...here will I dwell, for I have desired it."

Letters of congratulation were received from the denomination and surrounding churches. Elder G. Bok, chairman of Vineland Free Reformed consistory, presented a historical perspective of the recent developments that led to the formation of this new congregation. As a token of remembrance the new congregation was given a gift of the Lord's Supper utensils. Rev. C. A. Schouls, on behalf of the Synod of the Free Reformed Churches, the Chatham congregation, and as the former pastor of the Vineland mother church, presented greetings of congratulations with the exhortation to walk in the truth of the gospel. Then this congregation will be Zion, a place wherein the Lord is pleased to dwell. Rev. C. Pronk expressed congratulations as VinelandÕs counsellor and gave an exhortation from Psalm 87:2, "the Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob." This was the text for the sermon preached at the dedication service of the church building of the Vineland FRC.

Rev. Dykstra of the Wellandport Orthodox Reformed Church, and Rev. Elshout of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Church, and Mr. VanTuyl from Riverside Christian Reformed Church also expressed their congratulations. Elder A. Veenstra of the new Zion Free Reformed Church gave some historical reflections going back to the institution of the Vineland FRC, held in December 1952 to show how the Lord has continued to bless. Elder H. Otten Jr. responded on behalf of the newly instituted Zion Free Reformed Church with a word of thanksgiving for what the Lord has done in this part of His vineyard through the guidance of the Vineland consistory and its current and former pastors.

Praise be to God from whom all blessing flow!

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