History of the Reformed Church in America

The Reformed Church in America, which includes some of the best-known congregations in North America, was established on this continent 150 years before the Revolutionary War.

The word REFORMED comes from the Protestant Reformation which swept across Europe in the 1500’s under the leadership of such men as Martin Luther and John Calvin. Calvin’s reformation at Geneva spread to many countries, including Scotland where it became the Presbyterian Church and the Netherlands where it became our ancestor, the Dutch Reformed Church.

Our history is a long and colorful one which you may enjoy learning more about later. The Dutch Reformed Church established its first congregation in New Amsterdam in 1628. Although Dutch in origin, the Reformed Church in America has for decades included peoples of many different races and nationalities in its congregations.

History of Forest Grove Reformed Church

Beginning with the great Dutch emigration for religious freedom from the Netherlands in 1846, the Hollanders arrived to the shores of Lake Michigan and began a slow migration toward the east and formed new communities. Until 1869, the Dutch-speaking emigrants traveled to Drenthe for worship, a town about 5 miles away. But on September 12, 1869 our consistory held its first meeting in the schoolhouse of Jamestown, and on the 15th of September 1869, the First Reformed Church of Jamestown (now known as Forest Grove Reformed Church) officially started. Services were held at the school until 1873 when a 36 by 50 foot church was built. English services were initiated once or twice a month beginning as early as 1875. It wasn’t until 1943 that all services were conducted in English.

In 1969, after many additions and because of increasing growth, it was decided to build a new building at our present location on the corner of Perry Street and 32nd Avenue.

As Forest Grove Reformed Church remembers its rich Dutch ancestry and looks to the future as we continue to grow we can still say…as we did in the past…Lead On O King Eternal!