Brookside Christian Reformed Church was organized in 1959 to serve a new housing develoment in the vicinity of Kalamazoo Ave. and 36th Street - and to help with overcrowding at Seymour CRC.
Services were held for a time in the Christian Reformed denominational building on the corner of Kalamazoo Ave. and 28th Street. By the end of 1959, the congregation had outgrown that facility and arrangements were made to use the Alexander Hamilton school, located at Breton Road and 32nd Street. During this time Rev. Donald Drost became Brookside's first pastor.
September 1960 marked the completion of the church parsonage on Dawes Avenue, and in November of that year the congregation approved a building committee for a new church facility at the current location. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held on November 10, 1962, and the first worship services in the new building were held on July 28, 1963.
After Rev. Drost accepted a call to another church, Rev. Dick Hertel came to Brookside in 1969. Rev. Hertel's vision for reaching out into the community has left its stamp on Brookside's vision for ministry. Brookside numbered approximately 180 members as 1960 began and 500 members at the beginning of 1970. A strong growth pattern required a new worship area, and the present sanctuary was dedicated on Sunday, May 14, 1972. The former worship area is now divided into several classrooms. Our present Worship Center seats about 600 persons. Rev. Brent Averill served as co-pastor at Brookside from 1975-77. Rev. Hertel served Brookside until 1977.
Rev. Dale Vander Veen came to pastor Brookside in 1978 and Mr. Bob Grussing came as Director of Youth Ministries in 1979. A third major building project expanded the nursery, classroom, and office space in 1982.
Rev. Ben Becksvoort came to Brookside as Pastor of Training and Community Service in 1984. Mr. Grussing left Brookside in 1985, and Rev. Bob Vance came to Brookside to serve as Pastor of Youth Ministries in 1986.
Rev. Vander Veen accepted a call to another church in February 1992, and Rev. Norm Meyer came to Brookside as our Senior Pastor in 1993. In August of 1996, Pastor Vance left Brookside, and in the summer of 1997, Pastor Becksvoort took a position as a Regional Director for Home Missions. A fourth major building project added an Activity Center and renovated the foyer, classrooms, and Worship Center in 1996.
In 2001, Rev. Paul DeVries accepted our call to serve as Senior Pastor and began his ministry at Brookside that summer. Pastor Norm Meyer retired in 2002 and returned in 2003 as Pastor of Pastoral Care. Many other lay staff members serve Brookside in Youth Ministries, Adult Ministries, Evangelism, and as support staff.
A complete history of Brookside, Living His Story, was published in 2009, commemorating 50 years of God's faithfulness.
- 28th Street and Kalamazoon Ave., 1959
- Alexander Hamilton School, Breton Rd. and 32nd St., 1959-1963
- 3600 Kalamazoo SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508, 1963, new worship area 1972, additions 1986, 1996
- Donald J. Drost, 1960-68
- Richard A. Hertel, 1969-77
- Brent A. Averill, 1975-77
- Dale W. Vander Veen, 1978-92
- Benjamin Becksvoort, 1985-97
- Robert W. Vance, 1986-97
- Norman L. Meyer, 1993-2002
- Paul De Vries, 2001-
Green (lower) line shows membership in families; blue (middle), professing members; red (top), total members; and magenta (thin), non-professing members.
Red line shows nonprofessing members as a percentage of total membership. Note the consistently high youth rate compared with the local average of roughly 30%.
Five Year Growth RateEdit
Red line shows five year growth rate. A five year growth rate between 10% and -10% is considered stable; greater than 10% indicates a growing congregation; one below -10% indicates a church in decline. This makes no allowance for daughter churches.
Data source: Yearbooks of the Christian Reformed Church. Dates are year prior to publication date since data is gathered at the end of one year and published in the next.