Hudsonville Congregational Church, 1938

Article Of Faith

Hudsonville Congregational Church

March 8, 1877

Receiving the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the word of God and the only infallible rule of religious faith and practice, we confess our faith in the one living and true God, revealed as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the Creator and Preserver of all things whose purposes and providence extend to all events, and who exercises a righteous government over all His creatures. We believe in the universal sinfulness and ruin of our race, since, "by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ – the son of God, having taken upon himself our nature, has by his obedience, sufferings and death, provided a way of salvation for all mankind, and that through faith and His name, who-so-ever will may be saved. We believe that although salvation is freely offered to all, they only repent and believe in Christ, who in thus obeying the gospel, are regenerated by the Holy Spirit through faith unto salvation. We believe that the Christian Sabbath, the Ministry of the World, the visible Church, the ordinance of Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper are divinely appointed, and are binding on the followers of Christ until his coming.

We believe there is a day appointed in which God will raise from the dead and judge the world, that the wicked shall "go away into everlasting punishment and the righteous into life eternal".


Dearly beloved, you are here before God and many witnesses to confess the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust that you appreciate the solemnity and blessedness of this confession and that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

In the presence of God and this assembly you do now freely and cordially enter into the everlasting covenant of Grace.

You do confess the Father Almighty, your Maker and Preserver, the Lord Jesus Christ, your Savior and Master, and the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier and Guide, to be your God. You do trust only in His Sovereign Grace and Almighty Power. And you promise that you will henceforth faithfully endeavor to keep His commandments and to follow Him in all things: to walk with His disciples in love, and "denying all ungodliness, and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God, our Savior Jesus Christ".


We then as members of this church, in the name of Christ, affectionately welcome you to his discipleship: to a share in the blessings and promises of His Covenant, to a participation in the duties, privileges, and glories of His Church, and to the fellowship of that great multitude whom no man can number, who has confessed Him on earth and who follow the "Lamb" whither-so-ever He goeth.

In token of our confidence and sympathy and as a pledge of our brotherly kindness and love take the hand of welcome.


The Articles of Association for the Hudsonville Congregational Church, Ottawa County, Michigan on March 8, 1877.


This Church shall be called the Congregational Church of Hudsonville, Michigan and its Trustees shall be called the Trustees of the Congregational Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.


The government of this church is vested in its members, whose majority vote is final, and is amenable to no other ecclesiastical body. Yet it will recognize the sympathy, advice and cooperation of sister churches.


All persons may become members of this church who give credible evidence of piety, and who assent to its Articles of Faith and Covenant.


The officers of this church shall be a Pastor, two (2) or more Deacons, a Clerk, Treasurer and three (3) Trustees. All except the Pastor to be elected annually by ballot, or to serve until their successors shall be elected.

In the election of Trustees any person shall be entitled to vote who is of full age, and who has for six months been a stated worshiper with, or a regular contributor for one year, to the support of the church.


The annual meeting for business shall be held on the first Saturday of January in each year, but business may be transacted at any regular or special meeting called publicly for that purpose.

These Articles were signed by the following:

M. L. Dean Minnie Adams Spencer H. Adams

A. W. Dean Susan Linacre Wm H. Linacre

Eliza Atkins Fred Atkins Walter Bowmaster

Sally Perry Oscar Ballou Mary Ann Ballou

Etta Balcom Henry Balcom Rubina Ballou Green

Etta Kline Herman Shearer Lorenzo Densmore

E. G. Morris L. A. Morris Lizzie Morris Cory

Wm Morris Wm Warnkee Herman Densmore

Hudsonville, Ottawa County, Michigan – This is to certify that according to notice legally given the Congregational Church of Hudsonville, Michigan met at this place on the 27th of February, 1877, and adopted the Articles of Association and signed the same. The undersigned were then elected Inspectors of Election, and the Association elected by ballot the following persons to act at Trustees: Henry E. Balcom, Wm W. Linacre, Walter Bowmaster – said board to be called Trustees of the Congregational Church of Hudsonville, Michigan.

Signed by Wm H. Linacre and H. E. Balcom, Inspectors of Election

At Hudsonville, March 8, 1877

This is to certify that H. E. Balcom and Wm H. Linacre appeared before me, Notary Public, and acknowledged the foregoing certificate to be made and executed by them.

H. E. Hudson

Notary Public in and for Ottawa County, Michigan







1877 - 1900

Revival meetings two or three times a year were the form of worship in the Hudsonville area before 1877. Services were held in the local school. The closest organized church was the Grandville Congregational Church which was organized in 1838.

Rev. W. H. Camp’s revival services in the school in 1877 led to a decision on February the 11th of that year to form a Congregational church. Thirty-two persons attended the meeting. On February 27, a formal vote was taken in which the Articles of Association were adopted. These articles stated that the church would be called the Congregational Church of Hudsonville, Michigan. Officers were to be a pastor, two or more deacons, a clerk, a treasurer, and three trustees. All except the pastor were to be elected annually.

A lot for the erection of a church building was received in 1877 from Homer E. Hudson. It had been used as a burying ground until an new one (now Georgetown Township Cemetery) was given by Lucius and Luman Jenison. One grave remained and was located on the west side of the lot. For years a beautiful willow tree along with a stone marked the grave. This was the grave of Mr. Wilbur who was reported to be a lover of children, and children used to place flowers on his grave.

Rev. Edwin Booth was called as pastor on February 25, 1877. He served until John McGregor was called in 1881. It is interesting to note that Rev. Booth is also listed as pastor of the Grandville Church at this time. Little is known of his service. The 1878 budget of $340 included $40 for the minister’s salary.

Services continued in the school until a 30’ by 42’ building was dedicated November 9, 1879. Logs had been hauled to the mill and on March 31, 1879 construction began. The building was used in an unfinished form. The pews consisted of lumber set on boxes. The following year the interior walls were plastered.

A Bible was purchased by the "Willing Workers", a group of nine girls, about the year of 1885. The "Willing Workers" were: Tressie Waite Bowmaster, Hattie Free Godfrey, Lottie Hoyt DeKlein, Ada Edson, Ida Edson McEachron, Minnie Yeomans, Bessie Whipple Campbell, Grace Rhodes and Hattie Green Peasley. When the church burned in 1937, the Bible was saved by Ida McEachron. It is presently in a glass enclosed case in the narthex.

The annual meeting held on February 10, 1887 resulted in the Rev. Ablett from the Congregational Church at Grafton St., Fitzroy Square, London, England, being ordained in the church. The Ross Manual was procured and adopted for general use. It was resolved that 10 a.m. be the hour for Sabbath morning service and 7 p.m. for the evening service. A donation party was held and thirty-seven dollars was received in support of the pastor and his family.

On February 22, 1887, the Ladies Mite Society was organized. After a short time the name was changed to the Ladies Union. Other organizations formed in the early years were a dramatic club, the Red Ribbon (Temperance) Club, and a Busy Bee Club where children were taught to sew.

During the late 1880’s new hymn books were purchased, a steeple was added to the church and a church bell was installed; a janitor was hired at a salary of $5. The janitor was to open the church and ring the bell for services and funerals. The evening services were held with the Grandville Church for a period of time. Eventually the service was changed to 3 p.m. At this time, some members, wishing to be baptized by immersion, were baptized in Rush Creek.

The early 1890’s found the church in financial difficulty. A sum of $250 was borrowed from the Home Missionary Society. At this time, the pastor’s annual salary was $450 and the janitor was paid $13. The Ladies Union was involved in the purchase of property for a parsonage on Pleasant Street. One year later it was sold, and the women raised money for the purchase of a parsonage on Van Buren Street.  A proposal to build a basement under the church was rejected. There was no minister called in 1893 because of the financial difficulties.

Early records indicate that the church was faithful in sending delegates to the local association of the Congregational Church, known at this time as the Grand River Valley Association.

The Rev. Walter Briggs was called as minister in 1894. A growth in membership took place during the next several years. The usual method of accepting new members was to present their names to the church after the mid-week prayer meeting. If approved, the members joined on the next Sunday on which communion was served.

A wall was built along the church drive and after considerable indecision, it was resolved to build horse sheds on the west side of the church. It was requested that Mr. Wilbur’s grave be removed in order to do this.

In July, 1897, the Articles of Association were amended. The primary changes were in terminology of equal rights in accordance with Public Act #158 of 1889. The annual meeting was changed from January to October.

In October, 1897, Rev. Briggs resigned, but the church voted in favor of retaining him, so he agreed to stay. He was given a salary of $500. The people vowed to "endeavor to manifest a better spirit of appreciation in the future with God’s help".

During the annual meeting at this time, the young people were admonished for irreverence towards God’s house and for causing disturbances of different kinds. The law was read concerning Sunday observance and the desecration of and punishment for the same. It was hoped that it would not become necessary to enforce it.

At the annual business meeting on October 13, 1898, "a motion was made and carried that the membership roll of the church be revised and the following committee was appointed to do this work: Rev. W. A. Briggs, T. B. Curtis, Charles Rogers and the two deacons, George Densmore and Walter Bowmaster.


Revised List of Members, January 1, 1898

Walter Bowmaster, Bernard Ja(y)nes, Grace Beadle, Mrs. Mary (Wheeler) Bowmaster, 
Rubena (Bloe) Green, Belle Pompe
, Luther M. Wolf, George W. Densmore, Ida Edson,
Ellen (Strail) Wolf, Mary E. Densmore, Ada Edson, Beryl Bowmaster, Mary (Tillotson) Edson, 
Orin Edson
, Emory Densmore, Maria (White) Whipple, Sophie Janes, Carrie (Hathaway) Beadle, Bessie Whipple, Anna Albrecht, Kate (McEachron) Whipple, Frank Whipple, Eva Rhodes,
Avery G. Densmore, Hattie Whipple, Etta Kline, Maria Densmore, Jessie Densmore, 
Anna B. Covey
, Isadore Whipple, Frank Campbell, Dena Poskey, Lorenzo Densmore, 
Lizzie Campbell, Esther Hoyt
, Mary (Krouse) Densmore, George Felton, Charles K. Hoyt,
Augustus Winchester, Harry B. Green, Roy Strong, Lucy (Doan) Winchester, Jasper Yeomans, Frank Strong, Frank C. Sanderson, Carrie Sanderson, Charles F. Strong
Della (Winchester) VanDyke, Amos Winchester, Egbert Sweet, Lulu (Winchester) VanWormer, Theodore B. Curtis, Nellie Sweet, Mrs. Thos (Miriam Kiester) Curry, James B. Yeomans, 
Emma Rogers
, Clarinda M. (West) Burlingame, Minnie T. Yeomans, Charles Rogers,
Maud G. (Grinnell) Briggs, Mabel (McEachron) Curtis, Lillie A. Hanson
Caroline E. (Bisbee) Yeomans, Jane Wilkinson, Laura Wilkinson, G. John Poskey, Minnie Poskey, Daniel F. Yeomans, Mrs. John (Eva Haminger) Doan,, William A. Hollister, Flora Totten, 
Amelia (Roth) Curtis, Hiram S. Surdam, Maud Surdam
, Eva (Sawyer) Winchester, 
Delilah Surdam, Ida Hoyt
, May (Wright) Surdam, Lottie Hoyt, John Surdam
Mary E. (Scott) Godfrey, Hattie Free, Thressa Waite, Mrs. H. C. Barnhard, Almon Godfrey, William G. Stenger, Ella Johnson, Josie M. Stenger, Henry Warner, Louis W. VanWormer, 
Worden G. Barnaby, Lizzie E. Warner
, Lizzie Barnaby, Hiram Springstead, Avery Crocker,
Mary Springstead, Lincoln Ostrander, Bessie Springstead, Mrs. Flora Ostrander,
Julia Springstead, George Van Aken
, Mrs. George Van Aken, Mrs. Sally Perry, Blanche Slinger, Louise Curtis ,Lousena Starken, Muriel Ostrander,Jennie DeWitt, Mildred Ostrander, 
Katie DeWitt
, Mabel Warner, Mr. Starken, Rhena FoggMay Maude Van Aiken, 
Gertrude R. DeWitt, Addison Rogers,
Mamie Peasley, Bessie Spoelman, Lida Bowmaster,  
Harriet DeHart, Henrietta Tibbits, Hazel Hoyt,
Maude (Edson) Rynbrandt, 
Mrs. Clara (Kline) Waite, Bessie Bowmaster, Stella Vander Boegh, Mrs. Charles F. Strong, Margaret Shielder,
Mrs. Charles F. Strong


Early 1900’s

Periodic roll revision committees were set up during this period. The 1898 membership roll listed 106 members. In 1901 a series of revival meetings resulted in 15 new members. 1907 showed 76 members and 1916, 67 members.

In 1901 the church sent a delegate to a council meeting at Jenison whose purpose was to organize a church there. The congregation was formed in 1903 but by 1935 had united with Grandville Congregational Church.

At this time immigrants from the Netherlands were settling in the community, and, not having a place for worship, they rented the Congregational Church building for afternoon services. In 1902 they erected their own building and are known as First Christian Reformed Church of Hudsonville.

In 1902 the minister, Rev. White, became ill with typhoid fever. His wife took his place in the pulpit. There were no evening services except for YPCES (Young People’s Christian Endeavor Society). During this time the church spire was struck by lightning. It was decided to repair it rather than remove it.

In 1904 Rev. Spooner shared duties between Hudsonville and Jenison churches at a salary of $525. $325 was from Hudsonville and $200 from the Jenison Church. He came from the First Baptist Church of Oak Park, Illinois.

1909 brought the approval of a church annual. Every member was to purchase one. At the annual meeting Mr. Coleman Cory was elected chorister, and Bert Alward, Sunday School Superintendent.

In 1912 a decision was made to employ a resident pastor. The Home Mission Society continued to support the church throughout this period.

In this year a proposal was made by eleven members of the congregation that the church become a Reformed Church. When the congregation voted to remain Congregational, these members asked for letters of dismissal and began the Reformed Church of Hudsonville, renting the Disciples church building.

In 1919 the Grange Hall was given to the church and connected to the church by the young fellows. School plays and bond drives were held there to raise money.

During the days when there was no limit on the number of deer killed, Mr. Tom Hughes gave his extra deer to the church. Venison suppers were held as a way to make money. Other money making projects included oxtail soup suppers, suppers for celery buyers, and pieced quilt sales.

In 1921 the church sold the parsonage located on Van Buren Street (across from the current library) and purchased the property, including the house, next to the church from Guy Edson. The land setting at this time consisted of a Grange Hall to the east of the church, the parsonage to the west of the church, and a barn behind the parsonage.

The 1920’s era brought into use an envelope system for offerings. The Sunday School meeting time consisted of an opening worship period with songs and prayers for everyone. This was followed by division into separate classes. Attendance ranged from 60 to as many as 100 pupils.

During the 1920’s various repairs were made to the church and parsonage. The yearly budget was about $2,000. Wiring changes were made so that Consumers Power electricity could be used.

In 1928, Rev. Reudink was called as pastor. The story is told that Mr. Edward Hall drove his semi-truck to the Dakotas in order to move the family to Hudsonville. There was not room for all of the family in the truck cab, so the family was wrapped in blankets in the back of the semi. It was a long, cold ride to Michigan during the winter for the new minister and his family.




The 1930’s was to be a decade of trial and tragedy for the church. In 1930 Mr. Beerthuis was selected as pastor from a group of three candidates. Conditions of his call were that he join the church and be ordained. He was well liked by most of the congregation. The church grew in membership and activity.

October, 1931, the Association charged Mr. Beerthuis with failure to join the Association and trying to make the church into an ‘undenominational’ church. The charge was made by Mr. Winters, who was on the faculty of Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Later the charge of making the church undenominational was said to be false. There were various meetings with Association officers and with Dr. Ll0yd from the State Association. Dr. Lloyd was State Superintendent. In 1932, the Hudsonville Church voted 67 to 50 to keep the pastor. A new constitution was also adopted.

In 1933 constitutional amendments were proposed by the Association which would have mandated that a minister be a member of the Association or licensed by it. New pastors would have to be approved by the Association. This motion was rejected by the Hudsonville church. Also, a motion was rejected that services be in accord with the rites of Congregational Churches.

The Association persisted in its attempt to remove Mr. Beerthuis. Mr. Fred McEachron, a trustee, sent a resolution to the Association stating the progress made under Mr. Beerthuis as opposed toe the deterioration that prevailed before his arrival. He stated that there was an attempt by a few members to cause problems for the minister, and that outsiders contributed to the problem. He further stated that the Hudsonville Church would engage legal council to fight the Association and would abide by the decision of the highest court in the State.

In June, 1934, Judge Miles ruled in favor of the Hudsonville Church. Therefore, the church voted not to send delegates to the Association meeting. But, further action was taken by the Association against the Hudsonville Church and in November, 1935, following an appeal by the Association, the decision by Judge Taylor was read, this time in favor of the Association. The Community Church. This left the Congregational Church with few members and no minister.

The Hudsonville Congregational Church was reorganized on December 13, 1935. Charter members signing the reorganization were:

Orin Edson Nick Rynbrandt

Mr. R. Alward Maude Rynbrandt

Mrs. Eva Doan Hattie Gerrits

Mrs. Jake Kiel William Gerrits

William Boldt Harriet Smith

John Ernzer Mrs. Emma Whipple

Anna Ernzer Bert Sweet

William Nyhuis Nellie Sweet

Terms of the court ruling were that all property and books belonged to the Michigan Conference. A new constitution was also required. This constitution was adopted in 1936 with Mr. Leffingwell representing the Conference at the meeting. The parsonage was rented since there was no minister at that time.

March 25, 1937, brought further tragedy to the people. The church caught fire and burned. It appeared that it may have started when the ladies were cooking a dinner at the church. The Odd Fellows organization offered the use of its hall for church services. The insurance company paid $6,444.13 for the loss. A committee was appointed to look at churches to gather ideas for a new building. At the July 21, 1937 meeting, it was decided to build a new church. Considerable discussion took place to arrive at this decision because of depleted membership and the previous trials of the church.

Plans for the new church building were initiated. The building committee consisting of ‘heards’ of different departments of the church included Guy Edson, Albert DeWeerd, Eugene Hubbard, Bert Sweet and Laura Alward.

By 1938 there were 54 members listed. By July of the same year meetings were being held in the new church, which was built on the same location. Emma Whipple presented the church with new chancel furniture. Financial problems resulted in a special offering being taken to help pay expenses. By the annual meeting in January of 1939, there were only $34 on hand. The pulpit was being filled on a Sunday to Sunday basis.

In 1941 Mr. Winters was hired as a supply minister. He continued to live in Holland where he was a professor at Hope College. The parsonage and a small house on the church property were rented. This small house has an interesting history. Mrs. Jacob (Katherine) Vander Boegh had sold her home in order to raise money to live. The church allowed her, with the help of friends, to build a small house on the church property. This, with her remaining money, was left to the church when she died. The house was eventually sold for removal.

With World War II in progress little activity is noted in the growth of the church.


Families Who Transferred on December 13, 1935

To Hudsonville Community Church


Beerthuis, Mr. & Mrs. C. M.

Boldt, Alfred

Boldt, Mr. & Mrs. Herman Boldt (Alice Schut)

Bolhuis, Mr. & Mrs. Gerrit

Curtis, Mr. & Mrs. Dale

Curtis, Mrs. Sumner

Curtis, Theodore B.

DeWeerd, Mr. & Mrs. Jacob (Gertrude McEachron)

DeWeerd, Mr. & Mrs. Peter

Drew, Mrs. Jessie

Drew, Mr. & Mrs. Lloyd

Gerrits, Albert

Hall, Mr. & Mrs. Ed

Hamming, Mr. & Mrs. Henry

Herring, Grace (Drew)

Hiedema, Mr. & Mrs. Henry

Holthof, Mr. & Mrs. Edward

Kiel, Mr. & Mrs. Henry (Johanna)

McEachron, Mr. & Mrs. Fred (Ida)

McEachron, Fred Grant

McEachron, Mr. & Mrs. Lamott

Machiela, Mr. & Mrs. H. M.

Patmos, Mr. & Mrs. Joe (Lucy)

Peasley, Mr. & Mrs. Clyde

Schut, Mr. & Mrs. Ralph (Bertha Boldt)

Vander Molen, Mr. & Mrs. John

Waite, Mr. & Mrs. Ben

Wiers, Mr. & Mrs. Gerrit

Woodmansee, Mrs. Ismael

Woodmansee, Mrs. Irma

Zwagerman, Mr. & Mrs. Henry


Pastors Who Served The Hudsonville

CongregationalUnited Church of Christ





Edwin Booth (served Grandville Congregational Church also)


John McGregor (Bangor graduate)


Henry Hurlbut


Harry B. Green


George W. Jackman (Lay minister, served Grandville also)


John C. Ablett (ordained 2-2-1887, resigned 9-23-87 to enter college)


Ira B. Jones


Yale student


Albert J. Van Camp (Elder with Mission Society approval)


G. W. Densmore (possible lay interim pastor)


W. A. Bockoven (ordained Nov., 1892, resigned April, 1893)


William Anderson


Walter A. Briggs (resigned November 15, 1898)


Lincoln Ostrander (resigned December 7, 1901)


Francis Dale White (Licentiate – ordainged June 20, 1902)


Walter Spooner (Lay minister, resigned September 7, 1905)


Richard Hartill (Served from February until April, 1906)


Frank M. Woodmansee (resigned November 3, 1907)


Isaac B. Lillie (resigned September 30, 1910)


Iman Wisse (resigned early 1912)


William Hill


Harley A. Lewis (Licentiate)


James F. Fryer


William Rittenberg (Licentiate)


William A. Shepard (Licentiate)




Harold W. Moody




Mandus Barrett


Albert E. Reudink


C. M. Beerthuis






February 22, 1887 – Hudsonville, Michigan – The Ladies of the Congregational Church had a meeting and organized the "Mite Society". It was decided that efforts be made to secure a parsonage and call the Society the Ladies Union.

Officers elected were:

Mrs. E. G. Morris, President

Mrs. Mary Barker, Secretary

Mrs. Luther Wolf, Treasurer

March 26, 1893 – The church submitted the property (bought for a parsonage lot) to the Ladies Union.

Officers for the year of 1902 were:

Mrs. W. G. Stenger, President

Mrs. Hattie Chamberlain, Secretary

Mrs. Mamie Cory, Treasurer

Mrs. Coleman Cory was treasurer for 50 years and in the 1950’s Freda Alward

Transcriber: Evelyn Sawyer
Created: 2002