In a surprising turn of events, both pastors at Dutton United Reformed Church in Michigan preached farewell sermons on the same day.
At the morning worship service on August 21, 2011, Rev. David Klompien spoke on “To God Be the Glory” from 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. At the evening service on that same day, Dutton’s co-pastor, Rev. Richard J. Miller, used Psalm 9:1-2 to remind listeners of “God’s Wonderful Deeds.”
Rev. Klompien accepted a call to Preakness Valley URC in Wayne, NJ, while Rev. Miller accepted a call to Bellingham URC in Bellingham, WA.
Rev. Richard J. Miller received a phone call on August 1, informing him of the results of a vote taken at Bellingham on July 31. Having accepted the call, Rev. Miller preached his farewell sermon on Sunday, August 21, and his family moved to Bellingham on Wednesday, August 24. Since he and his wife, Maria, have two school-age children, Thomas (12) and Marie (16), they wanted to arrive in Bellingham before the start of the school year.
The Bellingham pulpit was vacant for a little over a year, since Rev. Kevin Efflandt accepted a call to Zion URC in Ripon, CA. Rev. Richard J. Miller was installed on September 23 and began his preaching ministry in Bellingham URC on September 25. Ministers participating in the installation were Rev. Chris Gordon (Lynden URC, WA), Rev. Mark Stewart (Burlington URC, WA) and Rev. Andrew Cammenga (emeritus, Escondido URC, CA). Rev. Cammenga spoke on “Called to Preach the Gospel.”
Bellingham URC began as a church plant in 2002 with a core group of about 40 people. It organized in 2003 and grew to a congregation of about 185. A unique opportunity allowed the congregation to obtain a building in 2009, but despite an innovative renovation the building remains a bit small for the growing group.
“The building is full to capacity,” says Rev. Miller. “As we look to the future, we are looking to expand the current facility.”
The congregation meets for worship on Sundays at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM, with church school classes at 10:30 AM. The church is located at 4454 Pacific Highway in Bellingham, east of I-5 between Bakerview and Slater.
“Our goals are to stay faithful to the preaching of the Word of God so that many will grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ,” says Rev. Richard J. Miller. “Also, we need to move out into the community more with clear dependence on the gospel as well as the Reformed distinctive of worship and piety.”
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on pages 16 & 17 of the October 26, 2011 issue of Christian Renewal.