Calvin Christian Reformed Church was begun as extension services at the Calvin College chapel sponsored by the Sherman Street, Neland Avenue, and Fuller Avenue churches. (This was at the old Franklin Street campus.) Services began on August 4, 1946. Because services were so well attended, a formal request to organize a new congregation was made to Classis Grand Rapids East on September 18. The new church was officially organized on October 18, had its first worship service on October 20, and its first consistory meeting on October 22, at which the name Calvin Christian Reformed Church was chosen.
The 50th anniversary book points out that Calvin was never a small church, starting out with 65 families and 260 total members. As the membership chart below indicates, Calvin grew very rapidly, as did Boston Square CRC (begun just four years earlier). The congregation continued to meet in the college chapel until 1955, when it moved into its current building.
The period 1966 to 1973 saw Calvin College slowly move from the old Franklin Campus (just blocks from Calvin CRC) to the current Knollcrest campus several miles away. The membership charts show that the relocation of Calvin College had an immediate impact on the church's membership. (This was true for many other Christian Reformed churches in the area, including Eastern Avenue, First, Fuller Avenue, and Sherman Street. Seeing a great opportunity to minister to the student body, Woodlawn CRC was organized in 1968 meeting on the new Knollcrest campus.)
- Calvin College, 1335 Franklin St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 (1946-55)
- 700 Ethel Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506 (built 1955)
- Clarence Boomsma, 1948-83
- W. J. Boer, 1970-73
- J. P. Heerema, 1974-80
- J. R. Boot, 1984-92
- Harvey Kiekover, 1985-90
- E. J. Laarman, 1986-92
- Scott E. Hoezee, 1993-
- Robert Koornneef, 1997-
Green (lower) line shows membership in families; blue (middle), professing members; red (top), total members; and magenta (thin), non-professing members.
Red line shows nonprofessing members as a percentage of total membership.
Five Year Growth Rate
Red line shows five year growth rate. A five year growth rate between 10% and -10% is considered stable; greater than 10% indicates a growing congregation; one below -10% indicates a church in decline. This makes no allowance for daughter churches.
Data source: Yearbooks of the Christian Reformed Church. Dates are year prior to publication date since data is gathered at the end of one year and published in the next.