About Our Church
Leighton Christian Reformed Church is located just south of Hwy-163 between Pella and Oskaloosa. Our small, rural church has experienced God's faithfulness for over 129 years. We are a member of the Classis Central Plains of the Christian Reformed Church. Established in 1893, we are committed to the Bible, Reformed Faith, and Christian Fellowship.
Committed to the Bible
We are committed to the Bible, God's inerrant and infallible Word, as the final authority for faith and life. We view the faithful preaching (and hearing) of God's Word as essential to growth in the Christian life.
Committed to the Reformed Faith
We are committed to the Reformed faith, as outlined in the historic —Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort.
Committed to Christian Fellowship
We are committed to the Biblical teaching on the communion of saints. We seek to foster genuine Christian fellowship, mutual concern, and love in the congregation's life.
We call ourselves the Leighton Christian Reformed Church in North America. What does that mean?
The church was organized in Leighton in 1893. Leighton is a city in Mahaska County, Iowa, United States. The population was 158 in the 2020 census, an increase from 153 in the 2000 census.
We call ourselves Christian because we are followers of Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the center of human history.
We're called Reformed because we grow on a branch of the church tree that emerged from the Protestant Reformation in sixteenth-century Europe.
We're a Church because we believe God has called us together to be a people who belong to him and live for him.
North America tells you where we are situated, but it also tells you we're connected with other Reformed denominations in other places around the globe.
We believe that the Old and New Testaments are the inspired Word of God, the only infallible rule for faith and life.
We affirm three creeds—the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed—as ecumenical expressions of the Christian faith. We also affirm three confessions—the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, and the Canons of Dort—as historic Reformed expressions of the Christian faith, whose doctrines fully agree with the Word of God.
Along with these historic creeds and confessions, we recognize the following Reformed expressions of the Christian faith, adopted by synod as contemporary testimonies: the call for unity, justice, and reconciliation of the Belhar Confession and the witness of Our World Belongs to God: A Contemporary Testimony.
Our Confessions and Beliefs
Al Bandstra, commonly known as “Mr. B,” is a pastor, Christian school teacher, and gardener who was raised a Calvinist on the family farm near Oskaloosa, Iowa. A product of the Oskaloosa School for Christian Instruction and Pella Christian High, he earned his BA from Dordt College, and furthered his training in Christian education at several schools, including the University of Northern Iowa, the University of Durango in Durango, Mexico, Seattle Pacific University, and Alta Vista College in Medina, Washington under Drs. Al Greene and Elaine Brouwer. He was awarded an honorary doctorate in The Theology of Christian Education from Antioch Missions International Seminary in Suji-gu, South Korea where he instructed the students in Christian education from 2010-2017. He was granted his license to exhort in the Christian Reformed Churches of Classis Pella, now known as Central Plains, in 1994 and was ordained as a commissioned pastor in 1997 while pastoring the Tracy Christian Reformed Church in Tracy, Iowa.
He has been teaching in Christian schools in Iowa, Romania, and Korea for 55 years, 33 of them in Pella Christian Grade School. He retired from Pella Christian in 2008 to accept the invitation to join the staff of the newly founded Saemmul Christian School in Bundang, South Korea where he taught Bible and English and had the title and honor of being their, “Teacher of Teachers.” He led workshops in Christian schools throughout South Korea, lectured weekly at Antioch Missions International Seminary, and pastored the international Ansan Mission Church.
Al is single, but God has blessed him with being a “father to the fatherless” with two Vietnamese sons who adopted him for their dad in 1986 and a Cambodian son in 2018 with whom he communicates daily. He also is blessed with several true spiritual sons who inspire, strengthen, encourage, and motivate him. Al is also called “grandpa” by many, including the 40 orphans and their director in the Children of Promise Orphanage of Siem Reap Cambodia and a special grandson and his wife and daughter in Sri Lanka.
Al became the pastor of both the Leighton CRC and the Tracy CRC in February of 2021. Along with pastoring, he enjoys teaching science to the 7th and 8th graders in the Peoria Christian School in Peoria, Iowa, and leading four weekly online Bible classes with pastors, teachers, and students in Korea, Nepal, Cambodia, and Brazil.
He has a special love and respect for the Leighton congregation since his four grandparents were members of the church, both of his parents were life-long members of Leighton, and this is where he and his three brothers and sister were baptized, nurtured, and made profession of faith. His great-grandfather, Hendrick Van De Voort, was a charter member and deacon of the church when it was organized in 1893.
Our Past Ministers
Henry Bode (1893-1900)
Henry Keegstra (1900-1903)
J. A. Gerritsen (1904-1909)
F. J. Drost (1910-1913)
Gabriel D. De Jong (1914-1920)
John M. Voortman (1921-1925)
Andrew De Vries (1925-1929)
Cornelius Witt (1929-1937)
Dirk Flietstra (1938-1944)
Charles Greenfield (1944-1948)
Hiram Vander Klay (1949-1952)
W. Thomas De Vries (1954-1958)
Jack L. VanderLaan (1958-1962)
Leonard Van Staalduinen (1963-1968)
Verlyn D. Verbrugge (1968-1972)
Harold Bossenbroek (1972-1978)
Dennis J. Boogerd (1978-1985)
Michael J. Kooy (1985-1991)
David W. Stevenson (1992-1999)
Don Ringnalda (2001-2014)
Richard W. Loerop (2018-2021)
Al Bandstra (2021 - )