Members of the Pierson Bible Church are grateful to God for the 60 years their church has existed. Stories of those who shared in the development of the church go back to the early 1950’s.
Currently a little over 100 people thrive in a fellowship of family-oriented gatherings. This is very consistent with the humble beginnings of this fellowship.
Drawing from the memories of Ray and Millie Boerema, the story began when a few families commuting to church cities in Howard City began bringing children to Sunday School from Pierson. A man in the church arranged to have a bus pick up the children as interest grew in the winter of 1950. When they saw the number of children riding the bus they realized it was time to have Sunday School in the village of Pierson.
When they found the town hall was available, plans for a new Sunday School took shape. The first Sunday School was held there on August 19, 1951. A few weeks later, Rev. Ray Knoll and his wife Donna joined the men and Pierson Bible Church was born. He led services the first winter as the first pastor of the church. Every Sunday morning, Mr. Schuitema would arrive at the town hall early enough to build a fire in the old potbelly stove to keep everyone warm. By spring of 1952, it was time to find a permanent home for the new church and Sunday School.
An unfinished structure was for sale on the corner of Grand and Second Street, just down the block from Petrie’s Hardware. It was just a basement but it offered the potential of supporting a fine church building, if the people were willing to work. The purchase was completed and renovations began with a great deal of excitement. The fall of 1952 found the congregation meeting in that basement. However, Rev. Knoll’s health was failing, and he moved to Muskegon, leaving the congregation to find a new pastor to lead their new church.
This began a long series of guest speakers. During this time, the men worked diligently to acquaint the village with their new undenominational church. By the time they were able to call their next pastor, the church was filling the basement meeting space. This was all Rev. Ed Rozell needed. Through his leadership, beginning in March of 1953, the church grew and prepared to build.
By fall of 1954, Walter and Floyd Bradley had bee hired to construct the church sanctuary. Jim VanderMolen joined them to lay the brickcrete. It was a labor againt time, working well into the cold weather to have the building ready to host the Christmas program that year. For nearly nine years, the church flourished and served the village under Rev. Rozell.
Pierson Bible Church looks back on this simple beginning and enjoys a much larger building today that was completed in the 1970s. In 2001, a gym with a large kitchen and Sunday School classrooms was completed just south of the present building. As in the days when the church began, the congregation chooses to be debt-free. An active ministry to the community continues under Rev. Thomas Sluys.
The church celebrated 60 years of God’s faithfulness last Sunday, August 21, when former pastors and old friends returned. Mrs. Marg Kronberg played the original Hammond Organ for the service. She has been organist since it was purchased in 1954.