Christian Reformed Church in North America

When a Church Building Becomes an Event Venue

When a Church Building Becomes an Event Venue

I’ve long been interested in what happens to church buildings. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about this topic again, as I’ve “rephotographed” several Christian Reformed Church (CRC) buildings on the West Side of Grand Rapids. This post includes pictures of these […]

Preserving Our COVID-19 Stories

Preserving Our COVID-19 Stories

“The influenza played havoc with everything run to schedule in our village and vicinity. Churches, Schools, Movies, even Poolrooms were promptly closed in the beginning of the dreaded disease, even before it had really reached us, and by the time the Flu caught us in […]

Muck Farms and Dutch Immigrants

Muck Farms and Dutch Immigrants

The Dutch know muck. And they know how to grow vegetables and flowers in it. At least that was my experience growing up. “Muck farms” refers to agriculture in areas where wetlands were drained and the “muck” turned into productive “garden farms,” typically producing vegetables […]

The Weight of History

The Weight of History

The peaceful protest against police brutality Saturday evening in Grand Rapids, and the vandalism and looting that followed over the night of May 30-31, reflected the histories of race, poverty, policing, segregation, and riots in the city. At the national level, “race riots” have left […]

Play Ball? Sports, Religion, and Immigrants

Play Ball? Sports, Religion, and Immigrants

My title — “Play ball?” — really should have two question marks. I picked this topic because I’ve been watching to see whether North Americans will get major league baseball this Covid-19 summer. That’s one question. The other is whether Christian athletes should play on […]

First Netherlands Reformed Church – Ties that Bind and Separate

First Netherlands Reformed Church – Ties that Bind and Separate

A common question about the history of settler societies like the United States and Canada is the degree to which immigrants adapted to conditions in the “new world” or successfully transplanted their “old world” ways. The religious history of immigrants provides valuable case studies to […]

Johannes Groen and Grand Rapids Politics

Johannes Groen and Grand Rapids Politics

In our last blog post, we looked at a general overview of Reverend Johannes Groens’s life and ministry. We saw that Groen was a dynamic speaker who was loved by many who knew him. We also saw that conflict characterized parts of his ministry. In […]

The Life and Ministry of Johannes Groen, 1865-1924

The Life and Ministry of Johannes Groen, 1865-1924

Humble origins and deep piety marked the Dutch Reformed immigrants who came to Michigan in the mid-nineteenth century. So to did a love of learning, especially theology, and an inclination to apply Reformed theology and thought to all aspects of life. All these characteristics marked […]

Diphtheria and Immigrants in Paterson, NJ, 1893

Diphtheria and Immigrants in Paterson, NJ, 1893

“Diphtheria in Paterson” the headline read. The article announced that School No. 12 in the city’s New Holland neighborhood was closed after twelve students had died from the infection.  The building stood at 33-41 Bergen St., the center of an area city officials described as […]

Inseparable Partners in China

Inseparable Partners in China

In our last blogpost, “Early Chinese Leaders in the Christian Reformed Church,” we looked at the Christian Reformed Church’s domestic mission among Chinese Americans. This time, we will treat some of the CRC’s mission work in China from 1925 to 1951. The CRC had multiple […]