The Reverend Dr. Leon van den Broeke, who is a Netherland-America Foundation (NAF) Visiting Research Fellow at the Van Raalte Institute of Hope College, will present the lecture "A.C. Van Raalte as a Churchman" on Monday, Oct. 12, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

van den Broeke is at the Van Raalte Institute to pursue research on Albertus C. Van Raalte and his role as a leader of classes - regional church governance organizations--in both the Netherlands and Holland, Mich.  Van Raalte was one of the founding fathers of the Secession of 1834 in the Netherlands.  As such, he was a leader and church organizer, serving as pastor of several churches and as president and clerk of classis.  He took the experience with him when he emigrated to the U.S.A., where he founded Holland in West Michigan in 1847.  A year later the Classis of Holland was organized, remaining an independent classis until 1850, when the churches of the classis affiliated with the Reformed Protestant Dutch Church (later renamed as Reformed Church in America).

van den Broeke seeks to make an ecclesiological, church historical and church political comparison of the Classis of Nieuwleusen/Zwolle and the Classis of Ommen in the Netherlands with the Classis of Holland.  What was the influence of Van Raalte in classis matters?  Did he bring his Dutch experience to the Holland Classis?  What was the church order basis of these classes?  Did Van Raalte institute the Classis of Holland?

van den Broeke is an assistant professor of religion, law and society (including church polity) at the Free University of Amsterdam and is pastor of the Protestant Church of Sint Pancras.  He has given numerous lectures on church order, classis, women in the church, and the Christian life, in the U.S.A. and in the Netherlands.  In 2005 he received his doctorate from the Free University of Amsterdam; his dissertation "Een geschiedenis van de classis: Classicale typen tussen idee en werkelijkheid (1571-2004)" was published by Kok.  He was awarded the Albert A. Smith Fellowship at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Jersey in 2007.

van den Broeke is the fourth NAF Visiting Research Fellow at the Van Raalte Institute. Funding for the first three fellowships came from a grant in 2006 by NAF to the Institute. Continuation of the fellowship has been made possible by a donation from the Dutch American Council.

The Van Raalte Institute, which is located in the TheilResearchCenter at 9 E. 10th St., specializes in scholarly research and writing on immigration from the Netherlands 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.

Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., just north of Dimnent Memorial Chapel between 10th and 12th streets.  Refreshments will be available prior to the lecture.