posted February 6, 2014

Lecture on Thursday to Focus on Hendrik Scholte and Church “Secession of 1834”

Dr. Eugene Heideman, who is a visiting research fellow at the A.C. Van Raalte Institute at Hope College, will present the address “Hendrik Pieter Scholte: Catalyst in the Secession of 1834” on Thursday, Feb. 13, at 4 p.m. in the Fried-Hemenway Auditorium of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

The lecture will be preceded by a reception at 3:30 p.m. in the main floor of the rotunda of the Martha Miller Center for Global Communication.

The public is invited to both the reception and the address.  Admission is free.

Heideman is a former faculty member at Western Theological Seminary and retired from the Reformed Church in America (RCA) staff.  He will be speaking through the institute’s Visiting Research Fellows Lecture Series.

Dominie Hendrik Pieter Scholte is known in the United States as the religious leader of Dutch immigrants who founded the city of Pella, Iowa, in 1847, the same year that Albertus Christiaan Van Raalte led his people to Holland. In his student days at the University of Leiden, he was the leader of the “Scholte Club” in which Van Raalte was also a member, and Heideman explains that Scholte’s vision for the renewal of the church was a decisive factor in the movement that is now known as the “Secession of 1834.”

The lecture will present Scholte as a driving force and a catalyst in the Secession when he and Van Raalte fought for preservation of the Reformed faith in the church and for constitutional rights and freedom worship in the Dutch nation. Although he never became a member of either the Reformed Church in America or the Christian Reformed Church, Heideman notes that Scholte deserves recognition for his pastoral, theological, and political leadership beginning in 1834 and for his and Van Raalte’s vision in leading their followers to Iowa and Michigan.

Heideman was secretary of the General Program Council of the RCA from 1982 to 1994, and was a member of the seminary faculty from 1976 to 1982.  He was also a chaplain at Central College from 1970 to 1976, a missionary to India from 1960 to 1970, and pastor of First Reformed Church in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, from 1957 to 1960.  He holds degrees from Central College, Western Theological Seminary and the National University of Utrecht in the Netherlands.

Established in 1994, the A.C. Van Raalte Institute is located in the Theil Research Center on the Hope College campus and specializes in scholarly research and writing on immigration and the contributions of the Dutch and their descendants in the United States.  The institute is also dedicated to the study of the history of all the people who have comprised the community of Holland throughout its history.

The Martha Miller Center for Global Communication is located at 257 Columbia Ave., on the corner of Columbia Avenue and 10th Street.