At a congregational meeting on December 14, 2015, Immanuel URC in DeMotte, IN, voted to purchase a building and parsonage.
Immanuel’s Chairman of Consistory, Mark Van Der Molen, relates what led to the proposal. “As a bit of background, Immanuel has been evaluating plans for new construction for a number of years, and that door recently closed on us. At the same time we concluded new construction was not feasible, the Lord presented the opportunity to purchase this property, which more than serves our needs for many years to come.”
The proposal presented at the congregational meeting consisted of three recommendations. The first recommended the purchase of the current First Reformed Church facilities for $353,000 from Immanuel’s New Building Fund. The second recommended the sell of Immanuel’s current property, including a five-acre lot. The third recommended that the balance of the New Building Fund and the proceeds from the sale of the church’s property be designated as a Building Improvement Fund for the future. The vote required a two-thirds majority.
“The favorable vote well exceeded that amount,” Mr. Van Der Molen says. “The consistory unanimously ratified the congregational vote to proceed with the purchase.”
He adds, “I am again humbled to see how through these circumstances God extraordinarily provides for His church, all according to His good pleasure and timing.”
Immanuel’s present building was constructed in 1936. Its maximum seating capacity is 220. Immanuel currently has over 170 members with a number of regular visitors who are considering membership.
The original section of First Reformed’s facility was built around 1924. The structure has been renovated periodically and seats up to 600 people.
Mr. Van Der Molen says, “The immediate benefits are we will have abundant sanctuary space, a beautiful pipe organ, office space for our three ministers, double the number of classrooms, ample space for church fellowship gatherings, the ability to accommodate larger ecclesiastical or conference events, as well as allow consideration of further outreach ministry programs.” Two of Immanuel’s ministers serve on staff for Divine Hope Reformed Bible Seminary.
First Reformed Church is constructing a 39,000 square-foot facility, which it anticipates occupying by early summer. Immanuel hoped to move into the vacated building during the summer of 2016.
Although the newly-purchased church is on the west side of DeMotte and Immanuel’s current building is on the near east side, the two locations are only about five minutes apart. Immanuel is now at 207 9th St. SE, but will relocate to 9991 West 1200 North. Sunday worship services are held at 9:30 AM and 6:00 PM.
Rev. Tom Wetselaar says, “Our church has been blessed with a building that has met our needs for a long time. However, we have never thought of is as a permanent home. We now have that with our new building. The space alone allows for more fellowship, classes, meetings and programs to simultaneously occur where before we had to find times to meet and share space. We had the happy problem of interacting in tiny quarters. I have always been impressed with the way in which our congregation made that work. Now we can apply those lessons to our new home.”
He concludes, “The Lord is truly gracious to us and we look forward to the opportunities He provides. We continue to grow and are eager to put down roots in a facility that we intend to utilize to the glory of God.”
The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on page 14 of the February 3, 2016, issue of Christian Renewal.