Holy Cross began as God guided the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod to start a mission congregation in Jenison. The Mission Board of the District called seminary graduate, Pete Larsen, to be the founding pastor of this mission.
Pastor Larsen and his wife Pat arrived in Jenison in the summer of 1965. After months of going door to door and “knocking on every door in Jenison” to invite people to the new church, the first worship service was held October 3rd at Maplewood Elementary (now the Early Childhood Center) in Jenison with 144 in attendance. By January of 1966, the congregation purchased land on Baldwin Street, and the first church building was completed in March 1967. In 1968 the education wing (now Daily Shepherd Preschool and Child Care) was added.
By God’s grace, the congregation grew quickly, and by 1969 was five times its original size. On Reformation Day, 1976, the congregation entered its second sanctuary (currently the Mission Hall). In 1986, God provided Pastor Dave Weber as Associate Pastor, and in 1988, guided them to plant a daughter congregation, New Hope Lutheran Church in Hudsonville. Holy Cross continued to grow, and in 1994 the current sanctuary was built and dedicated.
In 1998, God led Pastor Larsen to serve as a District Executive at the Michigan District office in Ann Arbor and Pastor Weber to serve as Senior Pastor at Saints Peter & Paul Lutheran Church in Houghton, MI. Later that year, God supplied Pastor John Bookshaw as the second Senior Pastor of Holy Cross. From 2000-2002, He also brought Pastor Corey Fanning to serve as Associate Pastor. In 2002, God guided Pastor Bookshaw to accept a teaching position at Crossways International. The congregation was served with interim pastors and retired Pastor Walt Roberts during this time of transition.
In 2004, God blessed Holy Cross with Pastor Scott Sommerfeld, their third Senior Pastor. As new ministries began revitalizing the congregation, God brought more people to serve. DCE Kelly Meyer started as Director of Children and Youth, in 2005 and seminary graduate, Bill Wangelin, began serving as Associate Pastor, in 2007. In 2011, God led Kelly Meyer to serve her growing young family full-time at home, and in 2012, He supplied DCE Jim Hueseman to be Director of Youth Ministry. In 2013, God steered Pastor Wangelin to become Senior Pastor at Our Savior Lutheran Church, Lansing and in 2015 provided Pastor Adam Peck to serve as Associate Pastor. In 2019, Pastor Brian West was installed as the fourth Senior Pastor.
The Holy Spirit has guided the pastors, staff and members of Holy Cross, to consistently be a blessing to the Jenison community. He’s led them to serve through partnerships with Jenison Public Schools, especially Bursley Elementary & Jenison High School, as well as Love INC, and other community agencies. He’s grown them into a faith community committed to studying God’s word as a caring community in Christ. God has blessed Holy Cross with strong home-centered ministries, a spirit of servant leadership, and a focus on healthy relationships (aka “Holy Manners”). Many have found Holy Cross to be a great environment to be equipped as Christian parents and families.
50 + years later, God continues to lead us, and we remain committed to sharing the love and message of Jesus Christ with our neighbors and around the world. To God be the Glory!
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