Christian Reformed, 1857 - 1957

Dates of Memorable Events in the History of the Christian Reformed Church


March 19-First organization step toward new denomination: members of the Second Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, organize independent church (now First Church, Grand Rapids).

April 8-Second organizational step toward new denomination: secession of Graafschap Church and Polkton Church from Classis Holland of Reformed Church. Also two ministers resign as ministers of Classis.

April 17-Third organizational step toward new denomination: members of the Vriesland Reformed Church form independent church.

April 29-Final organizational step of new denomination: meeting of Graafschap, Grand Rapids, Noordeloos, Polkton, and Vriesland church to form a Classis. THIS IS THE BIRTH-DATE OF THE CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH.


February 2-First official name chosen for denomination: "Hollandsche Gereformeerde Kerk."


February 6-Second official name chosen for denomination: "Ware Hollandsche Gereformeerde Kerk."


April 1-First church organized within the denomination (First Zeeland, Michigan)


October 4-First meeting of the "General Assembly" (since 1880 called Synod) of the denomination, held at Graafschap, Michigan.


May 11-First church organized in New Jersey (First Paterson).

August 9-First church organized in Iowa (First Pella.)

August 22-First German-speaking church organized (Ridott, Illinois).

October 16-First permanent church organized in Wisconsin (Oostburg, formerly Gibbsville).


July 4- First church organized in Ohio (Cincinnati).


February 14-First publication of DeWachter.

October 7-Second Classis of denomination organized (Illinois). This body was dissolved in 1941 when the two Chicago Classes (North and South) were organized.


April 5-First church organized in Indiana Lafayette).


June 16- First English worship service within the denomination, inn the Central Avenue Church, Holland, Michigan; conducted by a minister of the True Protestant Dutch Reformed Church.


March 15-Origin of Calvin Theological Seminary: Rev. G. E. Boer installed as Docent. September 13-First church organized in New York (West Sayville, formerly Sayville).


June 7-Federal union effected with True Protestant Dutch Reformed Church (in the eastern part of the U.S.).


November 14-Classis Hudson organized.


July 2-Beginning of denomination home missions. First itinerant minister sent to Clam Union (now Vogel Center), Michigan.


June 9- First Synod whose Acts were published.

June 11-Third official name chosen for denomination: "Hollandsche Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk" (Holland Christian Reformed Church).

November 18- First church organized in Kansas (Dispatch, formerly Rotterdam).


March 1-First denominational Yearbook published.


July 19-Classis Holland organized.


May 3-First church organized in South Dakota (New Holland).


April 29-First church organized in Minnesota (Prinsburg)

August 22-Classis Muskegon organized.

September 21-First church in Illinois reorganized (First South Holland). This church was organized early in 1865 at Large Prairie; but difficulties led to resignation of the pastor and the majority of the congregation in 1886.


February 23-First English-speaking church organized: Lagrave Avenue, Grand Rapids (Formerly Fourth Church).

April 27-First church organized in North Dakota (Hull).


October 23-First missionary in denomination installed. His work, began among the Sioux Indians, on Rosebud Agency, Dakota, abandoned within a year.


June 10-Merger of the "Hollandsche Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk" with the "True Protestant Dutch Reformed Church." As a result, the fourth official name of the denomination becomes: "The Christian Reformed Church." October 21-Classis Hackensack organized; formerly "True Protestant Dutch Reformed Church."


April 6-100th church organized: Parkerburg, Iowa.


September 7-Theological School building, on Madison and Franklin, Grand Rapids, dedicated.


October 10-Beginning of denominational missions among Navajo Indians in New Mexico.

October 20-First church organized in Massachusetts (Whitinsville).


October 9-Beginning of denominational missions among Zuni Indians in Zuni, New Mexico.


August 16-Classis Grand Rapids East organized.

August 16-Classis Grand Rapids West organized.


July 11-First permanent church organized in Washington (First Lynden).

September 5-Preparatory school; at theological School opened.


June 27-Office of Stated Clerk of the Christian Reformed Church created.


June 22-First church organized in Montana (Manhattan).

October 1-First worship service at Rehoboth Indian Mission.


April 28-First permanent church organized in Colorado (Alamosa).

September 16-Classis Pella organized (for several years called Classis Iowa.


November 16-First church organized in Alberta and in Canada (Nijverdal). This church reorganized in 1911 into two separate churches, German and Monarch (now called Nobleford).


August 15-First permanent church organized in New Mexico (Rehoboth). This church organized at Fort Defiance in 1899 and removed to Rehoboth in 1906.

September 9-John Calvin Junior College opened (four years high school and two years college).


May 20-Majority of church of Classis Hackensack secede from denomination.

June 24-Conclusions of Utrecht adopted by Synod of Muskegon.

August11-Classis Zeeland organized.


June 17-Christian Psychopathic Hospital established at Cutlerville, Michigan. Name changed to Pine Rest in 1952.

September 27-Rehoboth Mission Hospital dedicated.

October 12-Classis Pacific organized..


May 11-First church organized in California (First Redlands).

November 11-First church organized in Manitoba (Winnipeg)


September 11- 200th church organized (Zenith, North Dakota). Dissolved 1921.

September 25-Classis Sioux Center organized.


February 25-First issue of The Banner as a denominational publication.


October 4-Grundy College, Grundy Center, Iowa, opened. Closed in the 1930’s.


August 17-Christian Sanitarium (Goggle Hill) opened at Wyckoff, New Jersey. September 4- Main building at Calvin College opened.


June 26-Denomination affiliates with Federal Council of Christian Churches.

September 8-First Christian High School opened (Chicago).


January 2-First denominational printing plant opened at 214 Pearl Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

September 4-First President of Calvin College installed.

September 18-American Federation of Reformed Young Men’s Societies organized.


September 1-National Union of Christian Schools established at Chicago. The eight original members were schools in Chicago, Iowa and Wisconsin.

September 8-Calvin College becomes full-fledged college. Preparatory department reorganized as Grand Rapids Christian High School.

September 20-Majority of members of First Church, Muskegon, secede and organize Berean Reformed Church, as result of Synod’s action 1918 rejecting the Dispensationalist views of the pastor.

September 27-First Secretary for Foreign and Indian Mission installed.


November17-Beginning of denominational mission wok in China, at Jukao, Kiangsu.


May 1-Second publication plant opened at 52 Market Street, Grand Rapids, Michigan


May 23-Beginning of medical mission work in China at Jukao

July 1-Denomination cancels membership in Federal Council of Christian Churches. August 6-Classis California organized.

September 4-Calvin College Dormitory opened.

September 17-Cl;assis Wisconsin organized. December 12-Suspension of pastor of Eastern Avenue Church, Grand Rapids, leading to organization of the Protestant Reformed Church.


January 24-Pastor of First Church, Kalamazoo, suspended from office, leading to organization of First Protesting Christian Reformed Church (Common grace controversy). The congregation returned to denominational fellowship in 1946.

September 13-First Women’s Missionary Union meeting held in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


July 19-First Church organized in Ontario (Chatham).

October 21-First church organized in British Columbia (First Vancouver).


April 5-First permanent church organized in Idaho (Grangeville).


March 8-Calvin College Library opened.

March 13-American Federation of Reformed Men’s Societies organized.


October 7-Beginning of denominational wok in Argentina.

October 29-Present Calvin Seminary Building dedicated.


April 27-Christian Labor Association organized.

September 9-First President of Calvin Seminary installed.


May 6-American Federation of Reformed Young Women’s Societies organized.


January 9-Beginning of denominational work in Brazil.

January 15-Psalter Hymnal issued as official denominational praise book.


November 17- First church organized in North Carolina (Terra Ceia).


January 1-Publication House adds Sunday school papers to work of denominational printing plant.

December 23-Third publication plant, 47 Jefferson Avenue, Grand Rapids, dedicated.


January 12-Classis Grand Rapids South organized.

January 12-Classis Kalamazoo organized.


December 17- First denominational broadcast, over a Chicago station.


January 1-Beginning of denominational missions in Nigeria.

January 3-Opening of Reformed Bible Institute in Grand Rapids.

September 6-300th church organized (Saginaw, Michigan).


October 16-Classis Chicago North organized.

October 16-Cassis Chicago South organized.


July 16-Missionaries forced to leave China. Some interned.


June 18-Denomational affiliates with National Association of Evangelicals.

November 14-First church organized in Washington, D.C.


September 1-First full-time denominational editor begins his work.

November 17-Bethany Christian Home in Grand Rapids opened.


April 3-First permanent church organized in Arizona (Phoenix).

August 14-First Reformed Ecumenical Synod convened in Grand Rapids.

September 1-First denominational radio minister begins his labor.


August 1-First full-time Secretary of Home Missions begins his work.

December 7-First denominational broadcast over mutual Broadcasting System.


March 4-Beginning of denominational work in Ceylon.


January 1-Introduction of the Family Altar by the Back to God Hour.

February 6-Calvin Science building dedicated.

February 7-Official termination of our mission work in China.

June 22-Annexation of Tiv field to our Nigerian Mission.


March 25-Beginning of denominational mission wok in Japan.

June 25-Denominational cancels membership in the National Association of Evangelicals.

November 1-Beginning of denominational mission work in South India. The work terminated in 1954.

November 27-Classis Alberta organized.


May 30-100th church organized (Mount Hamilton, Ontario).

August 20-Beginning of evangelization among Negroes in Harlan, New York City.

August 28-Classis Minnesota North organized

August 28-Classis Minnesota South organized.

October 26-First permanent church organized in Saskatchewan (Saskatoon).

December 3-Classis Chatham organized.

December 3-Classis Eastern Ontario organized.

December 3-Classis Hamilton organized.


February 27-Calvin Commons opened.


January 31-First denominational telecast on San Diego, California, and Dallas, Texas stations.

February 7-First church organized in province of Quebec (Montreal).

February 7-First church organized in Nova Scotia (Truro, formerly Belmount).


May 25-First church organized in Florida (Miami).

July 6-Classis Cadillac organized.

July 10-First church organized on Prince Edward Island.

August 21-Young Calvinist Federation of North America organized. Replaces old Federation of Reformed Young Men’s and Reformed Young Women’s Societies.

September 1-Dedication of Dordt Junior College, Sioux Center, Iowa.

October 19-Classis Rocky Mountain organized.


June 14-New denominational office building and fourth printing plant dedicated.

June 14-Synod authorizes purchase of 160-acre Knollcrest Estate by Calvin College for future campus use.


March 3-May 26-Centennial of the Christian Reformed Church is celebrated with special thirteen week observance period of events.

April 7-Official Centennial Sunday observed in all churches of the denomination. Centennial Thank-offering brings in more than $300,000 for new Calvin Seminary building as Centennial Memorial.

June 11-Centennial Synod marks international recognition of a century of the Christian Reformed Church in the new world.

June 21-Synod authorizes expansion of Calvin College and Seminary to new Knollcrest campus. Centennial Memorial Seminary, dormitories and power plant are approved as projects for new site.


Summary of the Growth of the Christian Reformed Church


Year………………………. 1857 1882 1907 1932 1957

Families………………….. 130* 2,976 13,344 23,376 47,991

Communicant Members…. 350* 4,439 25,175 56,006 113,231

Total Members 600* 14,787 66,879 113,353 211,454



Year 1857 1882 1907 1932 1957

Congregation………. 4 48 175 271 495

Ministers…………… 1* 23* 116* 249* 392*

*Active ministers

Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 24 February 2010