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Calvary Reformed Church marks 75 years
Former pastors, wives part of celebration
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Calvary Reformed Church’s former pastors, ministers and their wives gathered for the 75 year church reunion over the weekend at the Ripon church. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — It was a homecoming of sorts for Calvary Reformed Church marking the seventy-fifth anniversary of the congregation in Ripon.

Last weekend many former pastors, ministers and their wives were interviewed before church members gathered in the sanctuary at the corner of Vera Avenue and Second Street.

It all started with a social under the gazebo where families became reacquainted with church leaders from years past.  That was followed by a dinner in the church hall that served more than 300 people.

The festivities continued in the main church building with a history of the Calvary Church in Ripon that got its start in 1934.  The former pastors and ministers who were able to attend were then interviewed about their lives today – their plans for their futures – and their happy memories from when they served the Ripon community.

The late Rev. Edward Fikse first served the Ripon congregation from 1935 to 1943. After his retirement from the active ministry, he assumed pastoral duties in Lakewood in Southern California.  He and his wife Elbertina moved back to Ripon and to Bethany Home where they could be near family.

Rev. Fikse then assisted Rev. Kenneth Dykstra with pastoral visitations within the church community.

Rev. John Keuning was the pastor at Calvary between 1944 and 1952.  He and his wife Nina retired to Ripon and lived in the Bethany Home Garden Apartments, both once again active in Calvary Reformed Church.   They both passed away in 1997.

From 1953 until 1958 the church was under the leadership of Rev. Reuben Ongna retired from active ministry in 1977 when he moved to Pella, Iowa.  

Rev. Kenneth and his wife Tina Dykstra were in the church leadership for 10 years from 1958 to 1968 sending greetings for the anniversary to the congregation.

Rev. John Busman and his wife Joyce led the Ripon church from 1969 until 1981.  

Rev. Jon and Mary Kay School were at Calvary from 1972 until 1977.  Mary Kay spoke in place of her late husband before the congregation last Saturday night telling of their experiences and challenges after leaving Calvary.

In 1978 Rev. Wayne Van Regenmorter and his wife Linda came to Ripon. He said both he and his wife often reflect on their time at Calvary Church.  

Rev. Ray De Does served as pastor for Calvary from 1982 until 1992. He and his wife Hilda were among those interviewed before the congregation Saturday night.  His ministry began during the complete renovation of the sanctuary which was soon followed by the 50 year anniversary of the Ripon church.

Pastor Randy Wieland and his wife Diane were at the church from 1984 until 1993.  “This was a time when Ripon was emerging as a bedroom community for the bay area.  We began to see many new faces in town and Calvary knew this posed a challenging opportunity,” he said.

Rev. Bob and Amy Karel served at Calvary from 1993 until 1996.  He left Calvary in the summer of 2000 to serve as associate pastor at the First Reformed Church in Grand Haven, MI – with a short stop in Holland as pastor for youth and family ministries.  He is now serving as lead pastor at Orchard Hill Reformed Church on the northwest side of Grand Rapids since 2007.

Pastor David Laman and his wife Lois were in Ripon from 1993 until 2008.  “It has been a joy to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in the framework of the Calvary Reformed Church,” he said.  Early in 1994 they started a prayer group which continues today meeting regularly on a weekly basis.

Rev. Dan Kruse and his wife Pam came to Ripon in 1997 serving the church in Ripon for seven years.  “Our time at Calvary was a wonderful season of spiritual growth and empowerment for our entire family,” he said.  “We remember Calvary Reformed Church with joy and thanksgiving in our hearts.”

Rev. Justin Schrock and his wife Vicki were at Calvary from 2001 until 2004.  “We were blessed and honored to minister with you and your families and youth – we ask that the freedom of Christ will provide all of us joy and strength,” he said.
The Rev. Don Rowe and his wife Sarah are the current church leaders.  “I look forward to many more years of doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with my God with the wonderful family of Calvary Church,” he said.

Pastor Duane Laman just retired this year having come to Ripon in 1993 with 16 year tenure at Calvary with his wife Sheryl at his side.  He had also served in Iowa, New York and Southern California.