Today in OPC History

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September 27

Grand Junction, Colorado

On this date in 1987, Bethel OPC in Grand Junction, Colorado closed its doors. Twenty-six years earlier in 1961 the church had been constituted as an OPC congregation with Jonathan Male serving as the organizing pastor. A year later, John Verhage became pastor.

With financial help from Verhage's previous pastorate, Bethel OPC, Oostburg, Wisconsin, the Grand Junction congregation was able to purchase a manse and construct a building in which to worship.

Later, it was discovered that the cement in the building contained uranium mill tailings. The foundation had to be removed and replaced, which was a significant hardship to the congregation. Tragically, both Verhage and the pastor that followed him, Paul Doepke, would later die of leukemia. Whether or not this was related to the uranium in the building could not be determined.

In 1972, Donald Duff became pastor of Bethel Church and served for six years. He was followed by Bill Bomer who served until 1983.

Picture: John and Janette Verhage in Grand Junction in 1965.

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