PHOTOS BY JANET REDYKEThe original Sussex Christian Reformed Church reflects the country appearance of the landscape.
By Janet REdyke
SUSSEX BOROUGH — In our turbulent modern times, it is refreshing to know that a local church has the necessary need to expand their facilities. The church is the Sussex Christian Reformed Church of Unionville Ave. in Sussex and it is at an exciting phase of growth. According to church member John Kuperus, the new addition will add 3,951 square feet to the building with two levels. The new second level will enlarge the stage for the music ministry and will increase the seating capacity with 60 additional seats. The new first level addition will add four classrooms for the church’s educational program and construct a pastor’s study. The addition will also improve the entry of the church building. Seventy years ago, the Unionville Ave. site was a cow pasture. In 1950, a group of 20 Dutch immigrants dreamed of building a church and a Christian school where these believers could worship and continue to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Striving, sacrificing and hard work brought the church and school to fruition in that once cow pasture. Apartments for low income senior citizens were also built next door with the labor and vision of the church members. The church has been served by six pastors: Rev. Benjamin Spalink (1952-1956), Rev. Louis Bouma (1957- 1965), Rev. John Koopmans (1966- 1973), Rev. John Kruls ( 1973- 1983), Rev. John Keizer (1984- 2004) and Rev. Joel Vande Werken (2007-2017). The church is currently seeking their new senior seventh pastor while two pastors are serving as elders. Visiting outside pastors are also invited to take the pulpit and serve the church community. Many changes have taken place in almost 70 years. The town of Sussex is no longer a rural, dairy community but the congregation honors the values handed down by the Dutch immigrants who founded the church. Today’s Sussex Christian Reformed Church revels in its diversity of the many ethnic people in its membership. The church’s new construction is being funded by the generous contributions of the parishioners and with a possible financial assist from Lakeland Bank. The Sussex Christian Reformed Church welcomes new members, visitors and all inquiries by calling 973-875-5591 or visiting the church’s websitewww.sussexcrc.org.