Our History

The First Reformed Church is the oldest institution of Sioux Center, organized in 1877.

A story about the church (written by the Sioux Center News for the city's Golden Jubilee in 1941) noted it was the largest church in Sioux County. The Jubliee news story noted that from 26 original members the membership of the church had grown to 705 communicants, with a total of 1,335 souls; 630 enrolled in Sunday School; an average attendance of 550 each Sunday; and 440 children and young people receiving doctrinal training nine months of the year.

The founders first met in a pioneer schoolhouse situated two miles east of the present church.  The Rev. S. Bolks and Elder J. Muilenberg of Orange City conducted the organization meeting.

The first church was named the First Reformed Church of West Branch, so named because its location was on the West Branch, a tributary of the Floyd River.

The members of the first congregation were: Jacob and Pecltje (Bronkhorst) Koster; Sander and Fennitje (Ten Houten) Schut; A. and Elbertje (Van der Pal) Franken, J. Franken; G. and Gijsbertje (De Mots) Rensink; J.W. and Hendrike (Klevvers)Te Grotenhuis, D. W. and Gerritje (Te Grotenhuis) Doornink, H. Mouw, J. Cleveringa, F. Cleveringa, A.L. Rensink, F. and Frederika (Rower) Kuhl, J. and Marie (Tiester) Grevenhoff.

The 1941 Golden Jubilee newspaper noted that families united with the church were officially visited each year by the minister and elders, a custom carried out by the congregation's three ministers: Rev. James De Pree (1880-1910); Dr. F. Lubbers (1910-1930); and Rev. L. A. Brunsting (1930-article's printing in 1941).  At that time 17 sons of the congregation had been dedicated to the ministry and Christian missions.

During the early years the organization reflected the hardships and blessings of its members.  The first matter was building a place of worship.  The first edifice was 14 by 20 feet and 10 feet high. A committee of Jacob Koster and J.W. Te Grotenhuis was chosen to buy grounds and material.

In September of the same year the building was completed and a resolution was made to accept an offering for the church and its enlargement.  Three years later the congregation needed more room and busily engaged themselves in securing funds to add a new wing (the first building is pictured on the webpage logo at the upper far left, painted by John Vander Stelt).  In the early 1890s, a second church building was erected (white church in webpage logo).  In June, 1902, this building was totally destroyed by a disastrous tornado that swept the community.  Incidentally, the pulpit Bible that had been donated to the congregation and used for more than a quarter of a century was picked up the morning after the storm without any damage and was the only property saved.

Members of the congregation immediately set about to build a new house of worship, and gratefully accepted the hospitality of the Christian Reformed Church, which offered them the use of their church building to hold services until the new church was completed.