Immanuel Church (OPC): A New and Separate Congregation
Friday, May 13, 2002
By Member Sarah Wieberdink
There are many special moments in the life of a church. The first service is a particularly special moment, as is its first admission of new members and its first baptism. Another foundational moment is when a congregation transitions from being a church plant overseen by a mother church to its own separate church with its own leadership, a step known in the OPC as particularization. On May 13th, Immanuel Church in Anoka took this step by holding its particularization service, an event that many have been eagerly awaiting for a long time. Amid much thanks and praise to our Lord and together with many dear friends and neighboring pastors, Immanuel has become its own separate church.
Because a particular church needs to be able to govern itself, a crucial step to particularization is the ability to install a pastor, as well as ruling elders and deacons. Having enough men willing and able to hold office is one of the most important needs of a church, and Immanuel is very thankful to have many wonderful men willing to serve. During the service, Rev. Jim Hoekstra, who planted Immanuel and has faithfully pastored the congregation since its beginning, was installed as the pastor of Immanuel. Three ruling elders and three deacons were also ordained and installed.
For the service, the church was able to welcome many pastors from around the state and also from Wisconsin and Illinois. Rev. Brian DeJong, moderator of the Presbytery of Wisconsin and Minnesota and pastor of Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sheboygan, WI, led the service, while Rev. Nathan Strom, former ruling elder of Immanuel Church and now pastor of Bethel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Oostburg, WI, delivered the sermon. Immanuel was so glad to welcome Rev. Strom, who was very involved in the development of the church in its early years. Rev. Kim Kuhfuss, pastor of Monroe County Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Kendall, WI, led us in prayer and the laying on of hands for the ordination of officers. Rev. Bruce Hollister, our Regional Home Missionary for the Presbytery of Wisconsin and Minnesota, delivered the charge to the new officers, and Rev. Shane Lems, pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Hammond, WI, delivered the charge to the congregation. Finally, Rev. Jim Hoekstra dismissed the congregation with God’s blessing and also presented gifts to various people who have been instrumental in getting us to this special moment. After the service, a time of refreshments and fellowship was held.
As a congregation, Immanuel is very grateful to all who have helped us reach this point. We have felt God’s care through many different people and churches over the years, and this milestone could not have been reached without the efforts of so many of God’s servants near and far. And we are ultimately thankful to our great Lord, whose plan is perfect and in whose care we rest. We are incredibly excited to see His plan for us unfold, and we are eager to serve Him in our community and to be a light that directs many to our Lord and Savior.