The First Reformed Church of Muskegon had its origins in the Sunday gatherings of the early Dutch settlers to the area in the 1850s. The oldest reformed church in Muskegon, this RCA congregation was organized on June 22, 1859, after official meetings for a church organization by the Rev. P. J. Oggel and Elder J. Mieras, appointed by the Classis of Holland, Michigan. An early election disruption of Consistorymen in 1862 was serious enough to call upon the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte to settle. Rev. W. A. Houbolt from Albany, New York, became the first pastor of the church in 1863, and a new church building was erected shortly afterward in 1866. The church building was ready for use on October 23, 1866, and was enlarged in 1873. The first church council consisted of the elders Nikolaas Zuidema and Jakob de Haas and the deacons Gerrit Nanninga and Isaac Brandt, who were chosen on the day of organization. By 1895, a Christian Endeavor Society was active from within the church. A church organ was installed in 1900. An English-speaking service first occurred in 1891, but a weekly English service wasn’t established until 1913. By 1920, services were conducted in Dutch and English on alternate weekends. The church often contended with Unity Reformed and Third Reformed Church, both of Muskegon, for members. Regular building and improvements insured a modern, American atmosphere of worship. One of the largest projects was a new church building which was completed in 1951.
This collection consists of books, booklets, hymnbooks, Bibles, workbooks and objects of the First Reformed Church of Muskegon, Michigan. Includes materials from associated Reformed Church colleges and organizations. Also included are financial reports, programs, and photographs (framed and unframed).
Repository citation: Hope College, "H98-1340. Michigan, Muskegon. First Reformed Church. Records, 1888-1985. 9.50 linear ft." (2012). Collection Registers and Abstracts. Paper 365.
October 11, 2012.