Black and white portrait photograph of John Vander Sluis, a former mayor of Holland. Vander Sluis began a Christmas caroling tradition in Centennial Park in 1920, after being elected mayor in 1916.
John was born in Jackson, MI on January 13, 1860, where his father Oswald worked as bookkeeper for the prison.
As an adult, John moved his family to Holland, MI and opened a dry goods store on Feb. 9, 1894.
For 30 years here he directed the Third Reformed church choir. Christmas Eve in Centennial Park had an annual community song service which was led by John.
During WWI, John Vander Sluis was mayor in Holland, a former president of the Holland Merchants Assoc., and director of the Holland Fair Assoc.
The Third Reformed Church, located at 111 West 13th Street in Holland, MI, was organized Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte on September 9, 1867. Van Raalte, pastor of the First Reformed Church, felt it was necessary to have a Reformed Church in the western part of the city. He even provided the land and congregation for the new church as members of the First Reformed Church who lived west of Market Street (now called Central Avenue) began attending Third Reformed. The "Third" was chosen as the name because a second congregation affiliated with the Reformed Church already existed in Holland. Hope Reformed Church, a non-immigrant English-speaking congregation, had been founded in 1862.
Third Reformed Church's first sanctuary was destroyed by the fire of 1871. A second sanctuary was demolished in a high wind on January 2, 1873. With the financial help of many donors in the East and the Middle West, the present structure was completed in November of 1874.
Gift ofMary Vande Water, in honor of her husband Randy Vande Water.