Reverend John E. Janssen
My Resume’of Ministry:
- Doon, Iowa, January 5, 1921
- Rural schools in Lyon County
- Graduate of George High School, 1938
- Graduate of Sheldon Junior College, 1940
- Graduate of Central College, 1946
- Graduate of Western Theological Seminary, 1949
- Taught rural School, Lyon County, 1940 to 1942.
- Attended Central College, Pella, 1942-1943.
- Military Service, 1943-1946.
- Married H. Ruth Rozendaal, June 13, 1947.
- Allan Jay, now a pastor of Bethlehem Reformed Church, Selkirk, N.Y.
- Lois Elaine Sanchez, now working for Banker's Life, Des Moines, Iowa.
- Carol Ruth, now working for a mortgage broker, New York City.
- Stephen John, manager of Tandem Computer, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
- Deborah Sue Janssen, Educational Director at Hope Reformed Church, Spencer.
- Paul Gary, Recent graduate of New Brunswick Theological Seminary.
- Zion Reformed Church, Erie, Illinois, June 1949 to October 1952.
- Second Reformed Church, Lennox, South Dakota, October 1952 to May 1961.
- Ramsey Reformed Church, Titonka, Iowa, June 1961 to October 1982.
Now serving as house-parent of Fairhaven East Retirement Home, Pella, Iowa. October 1982 to the present time.
Retirement from "active" ministry, January 1983. This is sort of a "Semi-retirement." I am still active in Third Reformed Church, Pella, Iowa as a calling pastor, and teaching an adult weekly Bible Class, and leading the RCW women leaders in Lesson Study.
Other items of interest: Five of our six children are graduates of Central College of Pella, Iowa, although all the children attended Central. Five of the children are married and we have been blessed with eight grandchildren, four boys and four girls.
REFLECTIONS ON THE YEARS AT RAMSEY:
One does not know just where to start and also just when to end. We arrived on a warm day in June, 1961, and it did not take too long to unload the van and get all the furniture, etc. in place. I recall there was much help, and there also was much to eat: The next few years began to tell for the pastor began to put on much un-needed weight.
Perhaps we could go back a bit before we came. I recall that I preached at Everly on a cold day in early 1981. There were two men from Ramsey there, Herman Tjarks and George Rippentrop. They contacted me after the service and arrangements were made for me to preach on Good Friday at Ramsey. It was a few weeks later that a call was extended to me to become the pastor at Ramsey.
We accepted the call but waited until the end of the school year to move. I was installed on a very hot day in June in 1961. We had come with the idea of presenting all people to become mature in Christ Jesus. I recall that I was late in coming to Sunday School on my first Sunday there. The bulletin from a week before had said that Sunday School would be at the "usual time" which meant the summer schedule of one'half hour earlier. Since I was unmindful of this, the Sunday School Superintendent came to get me. I was never late again.
What can we say? In the improvements made at Ramsey, we saw the new educational wing put on, we saw a new floor laid in the Sanctuary, new stained glass windows were put in, a new piano was purchased, new pews and pulpit furniture were installed, chimes were installed, the kitchen was remodeled in the church, and also the "cookbook" was a tremendous success (thanks to the ladies of the church) in the parsonage a cross was installed in the sanctuary, a new study was provided in the church.
There were youth camps and hail storms! It seemed that several times I went to youth camp, and while I was away, the hail storms came, one time causing great damage to the sanctuary windows and the pews. One man suggested that I no longer go to youth camps!
There were the youth with whom I worked for many years and finally there were sponsors and youth leaders. There were great experiences with the youth, most of them good, and some not so good. It has always been a thrill to see the youth one has taught and led to become members of the church, some of them remaining so very faithful, and some of them to become workers and leaders in the church. Some have gone into "full time ministry" and many more have gone into "full live ministry."
We celebrated with you on many occasions. It was always good to celebrate weddings, anniversaries, Mission Fests (we don't have them like we used to), and many more. We remember how you remembered us as a family from time to time. Your great support in our greatest times of need were tremendous and we truly appreciated all that you did.
We shared with you in your sad moments. Loved ones were taken from you and I always tried to help in the best way that I could. Some of these times were truly sad, but yet we have been able to grow through all of them.
We had the privilege of bringing the way of salvation to some of you personally, and we tried to do this always in teaching and preaching. We cannot give statistics and would not if we could of the many whose lives were touched by the Lord Jesus Christ. We attempted to equip all persons for the ministry of the gospel and of changed lives in Jesus Christ. And let me say that you have helped me and my family also in the way of salvation.
We made our mistakes, and you made yours. But we did not dwell on the mistakes, we were more interested in growing together as a family in the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we had our times of "fun" together. There were humorous moments, it is good to have a sense of humor. I am still trying to push a log chain!
We had great fellowship in the community with the other pastors and churches. I had the privilege of serving on the committee which helped to establish the Titonka Care Center. During my pastorate, we saw much working together of the churches in the community.
I imagine that all of us could go on and reminisce of the many things that happened with us and to us. Remember Colossians 1:28,29. The basis of my first message to you, at the beginning of my ministry in 1949, and the last message of my active ministry in 1982.
Rev. John E. Janssen