Christian Reformed Church in North America

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 […]

Early Chinese Leaders in the Christian Reformed Church

Early Chinese Leaders in the Christian Reformed Church

Dutch immigrants probably come to mind when people think of the ethnic history of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC). But that history is an ethnically diverse one, and not just in recent decades. Chinese communities in the CRC date to the 1950s […]

Failure in Maxwell, New Mexico, or Faithful Legacy?

Failure in Maxwell, New Mexico, or Faithful Legacy?

The story of frontier families and settlements is one of triumph in American mythology, creating civilization out of wilderness. The actual history of frontier life includes a lot of failure, however. Failed homesteads, with families moving on to start over somewhere else. Communities beginning, then […]

So, What’s Your Story?

So, What’s Your Story?

This post concludes a series of three blog posts on belonging and identity in the Dutch immigrant communities in Canada in the 1970s and 1980s. The first two posts– “Smells and Tastes” and “Dutch Bingo.” –explored how religious identities and ethnic identities easily get entangled. […]

Unity and Division in Paterson, NJ

Unity and Division in Paterson, NJ

Perhaps one of the best-known enclaves of Dutch Americans and Reformed churches is Paterson, New Jersey. Many Dutch American families have ties to Paterson, including my own. But all places must have a beginning, and Paterson’s connections with immigrant Dutch American Reformed churches are by […]