Four years of church planting in Michigan

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Rev. Bob VanManen, Dr. Ted Vander Kooi, Rev. Vern Picknally, and Mr. Brian Guikema

On February 5, 2016, an OPC mission effort in Fremont, MI, became a particularized church and took the name Bethel Reformed OPC. The church installed Rev. Vern Picknally, who has served the work for over four years, and two elders: Mr. Brian Guikema and Dr. Ted Vander Kooi. (The latter is the brother of Rev. Joel Vander Kooi, pastor of Rock Valley URC in Iowa.)

Rev. Bob VanManen, pastor of Little Farms OPC in Marne, MI, preached on “Worship” from Hebrews 12:18-29, stressing the church’s central duty to approach a holy God with reverence and awe. Rev. Kenneth A. Smith, associated with Cedar Church (OPC) in Hudsonville, charged the congregation to love one another, drawing on 1 John 3 and Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17. Rev. Ken Klett, Covenant PCA in Holland, presented the charge to the officers from Colossians 1:3-14, stressing the importance of the pastor and elders praying for the church.

The session of Little Farms OPC has overseen the work at Fremont since it began in 2008. Dr. Norm De Jong served the group until his retirement in 2011, when Rev. Picknally was called. Rev. VanManen currently serves as moderator for the Presbytery of Michigan and Ontario, while Rev. Smith serves as its Clerk. Rev. Klett was a mentor to Rev. Picknally years ago in New Jersey, when he challenged the young man to consider the ministry.

Vern Picknally graduated from Mid-America Reformed Seminary in 1999. That same year, he served as Stated Supply for Bethel OPC in Carson, ND, becoming ordained as its minister in 2000. He pastored that congregation until being called to the work in Fremont in 2011.

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Rev. Vern & Olena Picknally

The Bethel congregation has grown to include over 60 members, with some individuals and families in the process of joining.

“The church loves to hear the Word, and the members have a love for each other,” Rev. Picknally says. “I am very thankful to the Lord for bringing us to this point and for raising up two elders who truly love Christ and His church.”

Fremont, MI, is about one hour north, northwest of Grand Rapids. Bethel Reformed OPC meets for Sunday worship at the American Decency Association building, 203 E. Main St., in Fremont. Morning services are held at 9:30 AM, followed by Sunday school at 11:00 AM, and evening services are at 6:00 PM. More information about the church is available on its website.

The above article by Glenda Mathes appeared on pages 13 & 14 of the March 23, 2016, issue of Christian Renewal.

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