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Raising the Blue Banner in West Michigan

01. January 2008

Columns, Congregation of the Month,

  —Ray B. Lanning and Nathan P. Eshelman

History

The First RPC of Grand Rapids is new to the RPCNA but has a history of seven years of worship and witness as a congregation of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC).  Their first services were held in Feb. 2000.

Members came from Reformed and evangelical churches in and around Grand Rapids. The church has sought to be a refuge for those who have been hurt by many of the conflicts of the day, including the so-called “worship-wars.” They welcome all who desire to return to the old paths of biblical faith and worship, as identified in the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity.  

Since there was no piano or organ in the church’s meeting place, they decided to do without. With the aid of precentor and pitch pipe, they discovered the beauty of singing the Psalms with no instrumental accompaniment. Members and visitors often comment on how this practice makes the encounter with the words of the psalm much more distinct and impressive.        

Many members came from a Dutch Reformed background. They were familiar with The Psalter of 1912, so that became the church’s official book of praise.  Other Dutch Reformed customs, such as the reading of the Law, use of the Apostles’ Creed, and serial exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism, were also retained.  The result has been a blending of things “Dutch” and “Scottish.”  Experience ...

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