About Us

Confession of Faith

Adopted in 1815

The Triune God
We believe in the only true God—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one—the Father in the Son, the Son in the Father, and the Holy Spirit equal in essence or being with both. This triune God not only created the heavens and the earth and everything in them, but sustains, governs, protects, and supports it all.

Jesus Christ, the Son
We believe that Jesus Christ is both God and man. He became a man by the power of the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary and was born of her. He is the Savior and mediator of the whole human race, if they accept with full faith in Christ the grace offered in him. We believe that Jesus suffered and died on the cross for us, was buried, arose again on the third day, ascended into heaven, and now sits on the right hand of God interceding for us. He will come again at the last day to judge the living and the dead.

The Holy Spirit, Comforter and Guide
We believe that the Spirit is equal in being with the Father and the Son. He comforts the faithful and guides them into all truth.

The Church
We believe in a holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

The Holy Bible and Salvation
We believe that the Bible, Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God. It contains the only true way to salvation. Every true Christian is bound to acknowledge and receive it, with the influence of the Spirit of God, as the only rule and guide. We believe that without faith in Jesus Christ, true repentance, forgiveness of sins, and following after Christ, no one can be a true Christian.

The Salvation Message
We also believe that what is contained in the Bible—the fall in Adam and redemption through Jesus Christ—should be preached throughout the world.

The Christian Ordinances
We believe that the ordinances—baptism, and the remembrance of the sufferings and the death of Christ—are to be used and practiced by all Christian churches. We also believe that all of God’s children are to practice these ordinances, but that the manner in which they practice them should always be left to the judgment and understanding of the individual.

Gaines Church is a member of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ. Here is a link to the discipline that we follow. https://ub.org/discipline/

Our Values

The things we, the people of Gaines Church, place value upon.

GOD’s WORD – The Bible is the inspired word of God revealed to us. It has the power to transform, correct, teach and is the final authority for our lives. As a church we believe spiritual wholeness is found through interaction and application of God’s Word.

PRAYER – The essential foundation for an effective Christian life and ministry is constant conversation with God.

ONENESS – The Bible teaches that Christ makes us one with God and each other. Oneness in Christ bridges all generations, cultures, and classes, uniting us together as one body.

GIFT-ORIENTED MINISTRY – We are all uniquely wired to serve Christ and each other. People serving in an area of passion or giftedness become a conduit for Christ’s ministry. Serving Christ brings about fulfillment, accomplishment, excellence, and purpose in life.

AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS – We are designed to be in relationships, with God and others. Authentic relationships are loving, open, honest, and vulnerable. Real relationships should permeate every aspect of church life.

FAMILY/COMMUNITY – God’s children are all one family under His leadership. Within each family there are people of all ages, each with equal value. We desire to equip, strengthen, and serve each group through various ministry opportunities.

MISSIONAL FOCUS – We believe that Jesus sends His church into the world to proclaim and embody the Good News of God’s Kingdom.

SERVICE – God has called his followers to sacrificially tend to the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of others.

Our History

It All Started in A Barn

Gaines Church 1899
Gaines Church 1899

It was 1767, and a spiritual renewal movement—the Great Awakening—was sweeping through the colonies. Back then, Christians would gather in what they called “Great Meetings.” These were lively events. Hundreds of people from all over might spend several days hearing a string of stirring speakers. Isaac Long hosted a Great Meeting at his big barn in Lancaster, Pa. Martin Boehm, a Mennonite preacher, told his story of becoming a Christian and a minister. It deeply moved William Otterbein, a German Reformed pastor. Otterbein left his seat, embraced Boehm, and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “Wir sind bruder.” (Oh—we spoke German back then.) Otterbein’s words meant, “We are brethren.”

Out of this revival movement came a new denomination (the first formed in the United States) which took its name from Otterbein’s words: United Brethren in Christ. Gaines Church is a part of the worldwide group called “United Brethren In Christ Church.”

Gaines Church’s Beginnings

Simplified Design (Small)

In the beginning Gaines Church was a part of the “Gaines Circuit,” a rotation of traveling preachers, speaking every two weeks at each church on the “circuit.” The roads were poor and there was much travel by horseback. Caledonia Village had not yet been started and Alaska was just becoming a thriving town.

In 1867, the first church structure was erected at the site of the present building. The land cost $31.50. The auditorium cost $2,760.00 and was dedicated during the pastorate of Rev. G. S. Lake.

In September, 2008, Gaines Church celebrated 150 years of ministry and looks forward to many more amazing years of God’s faithfulness.


Tom Datema - Pastor

LIFE FACTS: I met Kim during my Freshman year at Huntington University, and we married as soon as I graduated. Children: Ben (married to Stephanie, children JT & Penelope), Adam (married to Emily), Michael, Gabby Pets: Two dogs, Daisy and Loki

Likes: Reading, Soccer

PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

Marcy Fryling
Congregational Care




Bret Good
Student Ministries Director

LIFE FACTS: I have been married to Jenelle since September of 2010. I have a daughter Makayla and a grandson, Kendrick. I love working with kids and have worked with children and youth at Gaines Church since 2005. 

LIKES: Disc golf and anything sports related.

PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV

Kassie Paradowski
Kid's Ministry Director
LIFE FACTS: I met my husband Corey when I was in high school.  We dated all through college and married after I graduated from Western Michigan University.  We have two daughters, Evie and Adeline.

LIKES: Traveling, crafting, watching movies, and playing board games

PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT: “When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark‬ ‭10:14

Jon Freeman
Music Director
LIFE FACTS: I was raised on a farm; the sixth of seven brothers. I grew up surrounded by music as my mother performed all around west Michigan. Therefore, I am an avid listener to many styles of music. My dad was a WWII veteran which gave me a love for U.S. and European history. I share my home with two beautiful cats, Calley and Al Tirah, A.K.A. “Bubba”

LIKES: Golf, cycling, college sports, history, travel

PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT: “And this is his command; to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 1 John 3:23

Duane David
Technology Coord.

LIFE FACTS: I met my wife Erin while on leave in the US Navy. We were married Dec, 20 1996 and moved to Virginia Beach to finish out my remaining Navy commitment. Erin became an RN and we moved back to Caledonia in late 2000.  We have 3 dogs, Bundy, Diesel and Peaches. We also have 3 Horses, Rajha, Allie and Gibson.

LIKES: Coffee, Golfing, Electronics and tech, Flying

PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Rachael Hart
Office Administrator

LIFE FACTS: Rachael lives in Wayland, MI with her husband of 12+ years – Jon, their daughter Annabelle Dixie, and Duke the Doberman. She LOVES the Church – it’s pretty much her favorite thing.

LIKES: Theology, Church Music, Cooking, and Capsule Wardrobes

PERSONAL MISSION STATEMENT: “Behold – this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9


Jim House 2
Jim House
Duane Herlein 2
Duane Herlein
Jim Fryling 2
Jim Fryling