A look Back 50 Years

By Rev. Dr. Andrew D. Atwood

In 1974, I arrived at Central Reformed Church with nothing, quite literally. Bud Ridder was the senior Minister at the time, and he had a challenge on his hands – the fledgling “Marriage and Family Center” just couldn’t get off the the ground. So, there I was, at age 25, out of work but full of enthusiasm, ready to seize the opportunity!

However, I was woefully ignorant. Fortunately, I was connected with Dr. Al DeVoogd who was a master therapist, and a Board of Directors of six experts that I hand-picked to help me along. Al trained me clinically, and the Board worked every other week for a year to create a framework for the Center. So many stories could be told abut those early start-up years. It was truly an amazing time of generativity.

What we envisioned, after looking at numerous business models, was a non-profit that was organized like a beauty salon. I kid you not. Each therapist was to be responsible for generating and sustaining his or her own business, within a group setting where support was given to everyone by everyone. We were to be “apart from each other, while also being a part of each other.” Sounds like a healthy family, doesn’t it?

I worked in and on the Center for 33 years and looking back I am profoundly grateful for all of those wonderful people who launched the Center, and who yet sustain it.

Posted in

Andy Atwood