Flames and faith: Church finds temporary home

Faith United Reformed Church West Olive 051316_213961

OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Two days after fire tore through their sanctuary, members of Faith United Reformed Church sang and prayed Sunday in the pews of a nearby Christian Reformed Church.

It was remarkable considering the history of the two denominations. The United Reformed Church split away from the CRC 20 years ago over doctrine.

“We know that all things happen for God’s good and glory, our good,” Faith United Reformed Pastor Matt Nuiver said on Sunday before the evening service at South Olive Christian Reformed Church near Holland.

Friday, some of Faith United Reformed’s 300 members were in tears as they watched the church burn and the steeple collapse. It’s still not clear how the fire started.>>Photos: Faith United Reformed Church fire

“God uses these things to really rally his people together and remind them of the blessings that are there, so while something’s been taken away, He’s going to provide great blessings for us,” Nuiver said.

Churches from all over the area offered to help:

“We had probably a dozen churches, several Christian schools, that said if, ‘It’s office space, if it’s meeting space, if it’s worship space,'” Nuvier said.

Others offered Bibles and books.

None of that surprised Faith United member Cornelis Punter.

“That is our duty,” he said. “We have to help people out, you know. That is our duty, really.”

Sunday, Faith United’s faithful filled the pews of South Olive Christian Reformed.

“There still is a lot of connection there,” Nuiver said. “There’s a lot of similarity there. While ultimately, at the end of the day, we may have doctrinal differences, we’re still the same team. We’re still the body of Christ.”

Punter, a long-time member, got to church early to scope out a good seat.

“We like to sit on the right side,” he said.

Nuiver said fire investigators are expected at the church on Monday to determine a cause. He said the church was insured and that the members plan to rebuild.

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