I was on a pilgrimage, it seemed, not fully sure of my destination. An interest in Vincent Van Gogh took my wife and me to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France. On our way to Aries, in southern France, we drove to the ecumenical community of Taize to spend the weekend.
On Sunday, August 17, 1642, Dominie Johannes Megapolensis Jr. preached his first sermon to about one hundred people in a grain warehouse in Rensselaerwyck, a Dutch settlement across the Hudson River from the present site of Albany, New York. That historic worship service gave birth to the First Reformed Church in Albany, the second oldest congregation in the Reformed Church in America.
Thirty-five years ago a small congregation, soon to be known as Hessel Park Christian Reformed Church, was organized in Champaign, Illinois. Located next to its twin city, Urbana (well-known in evangelical circles for the large Inter Varsity-sponsored missionary conferences), Champaign is a relatively small midwestern town, dominated by the University of Illinois campus.