Dick L. Van Halsema (b. Kentwood, MI, 1922) attended Calvin College and Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey; and Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Ordained in 1949, he served pastorates in Christian Reformed congregations in Monsey, New York; Miami, Florida; and Holland, Michigan. Home missionary-at-large and minister of evangelism for the Christian Reformed Church from 1957 to 1963, Van Halsema was president of Reformed Bible College, Grand Rapids, from 1966 until his retirement in 1987. He was secretary of the committee that produced the 1959 Psalter Hymnal, and several of his hymn tunes and anthems have been published.
Van Halsema composed MONSEY CHAPEL in 1952 when he was a pastor in Monsey; the tune was first published in the 1959 Psalter Hymnal. When performed at a good tempo, this forceful tune corresponds well to the text. Organists should be sure to detach the many repeated tones in MONSEY CHAPEL to keep the brisk character this psalm needs.