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John Gritter (1894-1970) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: John Gritter (1894-1970)

Historical Note:

The third son in a family of twelve was named John, born October 27, 1894. The Gritter family lived in Daarleveen, the Netherlands. Two years after the family moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, John began studies toward the ministry. He graduated from Preparatory School in 1918, from Calvin College in 1921, and from Calvin Seminary in 1924.

In 1924, Rev. John Gritter began his active ministry in the Prosper Christian Reformed Church of Falmouth, Michigan. From 1929 to 1938, he served the congregation in Rock Valley, Iowa. His third charge was Franklin Street CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The good relationship John had with his first congregation in Northern Michigan became evident when many of the young people from that area who came to Grand Rapids for employment joined the Franklin Street congregation. In 1948, John began a ministry in Canada among the Dutch emigrants. He was able to bring together many of the immigrants who came from various parts of the Netherlands so that they established a congregation with a minimum of internal differences. He was, indeed, a pastor to the scattered flocks. In fact, he served a Canadian congregation from 1954 to 1958. He left London, Ontario, in 1958 to serve the Jamestown Christian Reformed Church until he retired at the age of seventy. Immediately John Gritter became an assistant pastor of the Seymour congregation and continued preaching in various churches during the period of his retirement.

Gritter entered the hospital for a routine check-up on Thanksgiving Day in 1970. However, he did not leave the hospital but passed away December 18.

John and Jeanette (daughter of Klass Schooland of the Calvin Theological School) were the parents of eight children.

John served the denomination as well as congregations. He was editor of the Christian Living column in The Banner. He wrote in Calvinist Contact and served for a time as editor. Before the end of his ministry, he wrote a book entitled God Loves.

Twelve times, during his forty years of active ministry, he was delegated to Synod and in 1959, he was elected president. He served on the Board of Trustees, the Board of Foreign Missions and the Publication Committee.

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