The Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church is dedicating its brand-new facility this Sunday, Sept. 22, at 10:30 a.m. The community is invited to help pledge this building to the Lord’s worship and work in this place.
This is the fourth building of the Christian Reformed Church of Sunnyside.
Early Dutch pioneers built a small frame building on the corner of Beckner and Cemetery Roads and held their first service there in April of 1932. Built during the Depression and primitive by today’s standards, there was a coal furnace and electric lights, but no indoor plumbing.
In just four years, the congregation outgrew their first church. It was sold for $500, remodeled and became a home.
The second home of the Christian Reformed Church was a large stone church at Eighth and Franklin streets, recently vacated by the Congregational Church. Both church and parsonage were available for $1,500 and it was purchased in the fall of 1936. Since the church interior was unsafe structurally, new beams had to be poured in the basement to hold up the sanctuary upstairs. The balcony also had to be propped up. As part of the remodeling, a kitchen and two bathrooms were added in the basement.
During many services in this building, the fire siren from the fire station next door would sound. All came to a standstill until the loud siren completed its call. Several members who were volunteer firemen would leave to put out the fire in their “Sunday clothes.”
In 1962 this building was sold to a doctor who demolished it for a site for his clinic. That clinic has now been demolished for a new fire station.
For the past 50 years the congregation has been meeting at their Franklin Avenue and 16th Street building. Pasture land had been purchased in 1958 to prepare for a larger building. Members of the church were in the construction business and built a fine and beautiful place of worship. It was a happy Thanksgiving in 1962 when the church was dedicated.
On Dec. 12, 1999, the first service of Iglesia Evangelica Cristiana Reformada was held. Services were scheduled on Sunday afternoons so that both groups could meet in the same sanctuary. The non-air-conditioned building was often very hot by the evening service. The new owners of the church, Valley Hills Funeral Home, have already added air conditioning.
The new building on North 16th Street was planned so that both congregations can meet at the same time and fellowship together after the service in air-conditioned comfort. The kitchen can serve larger crowds and more classrooms are available for all youth and adult activities. There is adequate parking spaces for all who come and a special parking section for seniors.
Church members would be so happy to see many community members at this coming Sunday’s dedication service. There will also be an open house, planned for Sunday afternoon, Oct. 20.