Lewis John Grotenhuis was born on July 13, 1908 in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. After studies at Calvin College and Westminster Seminary, he planted a PCUSA church in Harmony, New Jersey, only to be forced to leave it in 1937 over the modernist controversy in that denomination. He then accepted an invitation from a group of believers and helped to organize a new work in Harmony, Calvary Community Church (since 1966, Calvary OPC), which he pastored until his retirement in 1973.
In the many ways in which he served the OPC, the Rev. Grotenhuis mastered the art of multitasking long before the term entered the dictionary. While pastoring he also engaged in farming, driving a school bus, and serving as a postman. As a member of the Committee on Christian Education, he purchased a lithograph machine to print Sunday school materials, leading to the establishment of Harmony Press, printer of Great Commission curriculum materials. He helped to start the French Creek Bible Conference with Robert Atwell and Glenn Coie.
In a 1987 memorial in New Horizons, Donald Taws looked even beyond these many accomplishments in assessing the Rev. Grotenhuis’s legacy to the church: “Perhaps Lew’s greatest contribution to the church was the genuine love he had for people. He and his wife, Ruth, set an example of godliness, hospitality, and outreach that saw hundreds of lives influenced and changed through their ministry. What a testimony to a life which so fully adorned the gospel he professed.”
Picture: Reception of Calvary Church into the OPC in 1966 by the Presbytery of New Jersey with Lewis Grotenhuis in the center of bottom row.