Whitneyville Bible Church was originally known as East Caledonia Undenominational Church and first met in 1962 at 92nd Street. and Whitneyville Avenue. in the Old Buck Church. Clayton Hawkins invited Don Tack from the Grand Rapids School of Bible and Music to become the first pastor. Clayton said, “I have a little money and good credit… let’s build a new building!” So in 1963 the young congregation broke ground for a new church building on land donated by John and Mae Poll.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Several building projects followed: a parsonage, a garage, and an extension on the front that doubled the size of the building. Pastor Bill and Juanita Dobson came to the church in 1975 and continued in their ministry to the congregation for 21 years. Our church family continued to grow and needed more space so a large multi-purpose structure was added to the back of the building in 1987.
On June 16, 1998 in the middle of VBS week a lightning storm hit the church building and started a fire that resulted in a complete loss of the newest part of the structure. Pastor Tom Sluys and his wife Barbara had begun their ministry to the church just one month prior. VBS continued on at the Kettle Lake School and the congregation began meeting on Sunday mornings at the Caledonia High School. We continued to meet there until December 14, 2003 when the current facility was dedicated to the Lord’s service.
Here is a timeline of our pastors who have served at Whitneyville Bible Church.
1963 – Don Tack
1975 – Bill Dobson
1998 – Tom Sluys
2006 – Neal Stockeland
2013 – Dave Deets
2020 – Jonathan DeCou
Many thanks to Bill Hitchcock for sharing his memories of the early years.