GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- A local church is celebrating a major milestone. Oakdale Park Christian Reformed Church is celebrating the 125th anniversary of their church with a special service led by Senior Pastor Emmett Harrison and a celebration dinner on Sunday.
Throughout its 125 year history, Oakdale has overcome several challenges. In 1999, the congregation was forced to demolish a majority of its facilities and rebuild after the church suffered severe structural damage following a winter storm. The building of a new facility required the congregation to raise more than $2 million to fund construction. Parishioners were able to raise the funds within a few years and in 2002 a newly constructed portion of Oakdale was rededicated.
Oakdale signed a public statement for diversity and against racism in the church's entire ministry. This action, paired with a number of other steps, has helped Oakdale grow into an intentionally diverse community. "Less than eight percent of churches nationwide are diverse – most are monoethnic," Harrison said. "Diversity is a part of Oakdale's DNA; we are diverse by design. Currently, our congregation has a 20 percent non-white population, with many African American, Asian and Hispanic individuals and families attending our services. Additionally, our leadership is diverse. We have male and female associate pastors who are all different races. In fact, I am the first Senior Pastor of Oakdale who is a man of color."
The special service begins at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, with lunch for the community set to begin at 12:30 p.m.