History[edit | edit source]
Eighth Reformed was organized in 1891 as a rural mission station by Fifth Reformed with 20 professing members and 19 baptized members. A Sunday school was begun in 1892, the same year the congregation called its first pastor. The church building was enlarged and remodeled in 1906.
The congregation began discussing English language worship in 1910 and decided that Sunday evening worship would be in English "for the young people". By 1912, Eighth had outgrown its already expanded facilities, and more land was purchased in 1913. The new building was dedicated in December 1913.
In 1919, the congregation decided to discontinue afternoon services, a common feature of rural churches. In 1923, Eighth decided to hold English language morning worship on the first and third Sundays of the month, with Dutch afternoon services. On other Sundays, worship was in Dutch in the morning with no afternoon worship.In December 1925, the church voted to have English services every Sunday.
Still more property was acquired in 1929, and in 1930 the women of the congregation were given the right to vote. In 1931, the church began a 15 minute song service before morning worship, and in 1932 a balcony was added to increase seating capacity. This was also the first year Eight had vacation Bible school.
In 1940, Eighth began broadcasting morning services on WLAV, and the congregation had its peak membership of 1,500 during World War II. Over 200 men of the church served during World War II, and six were killed in action.
The interior of the church was renovated and remodeled in 1955, with services held at Burton Junior High during that work. In 1961, the congregation began a nursery and also purchased a bus to pick up community children for Sunday school.
In 1969/70, the church again remodeled its facilities and had the grounds relandscaped. In 1973, Eighth had a Lay Witness program, which revitalized the membership, and in 1975, the church held three outdoors worship services as at the Lee High School athletic field. In 1978, the church paid off its building fund debt.
The church building was insulated in 1981, new carpeting installed in the sanctuary, and matching pew cushions were put on the pews. The congregation also began the Coffe Break Bible study program that year and adopted the Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
In 1982, the church again held three worship services at Lee Field and bought new choir robes. The following year, the church built a pole barn to house the church bus and installed two chair lifts to provide the disabled with access to the sanctuary and fellowship hall.
In 1986, the church stopped the Sunday school program in July and August, and in 1987 the congregation voted to choose elders and deacons by lot. The nursery was remodeled in 1988, and the church voted to reduce the size of the consistory to 9 elders and 10 deacons. The next year, the number of elders was reduced to 8. At the same time, the congregation changed is "three years off" policy for consistory members to two years off.
In 1990, the church purchased new choir robes and held three joint services with Newhall Reformed and Grace Reformed one Sunday evening in June, July, and August. It celebrated its centennial in 1991.
As of September 2013, 8th Reformed Church does not have a website or blog. There is the start of a Facebook page, which seems to be the congregation's first forray into social media.
Historical Data[edit | edit source]
Names[edit | edit source]
- Grand Rapids, South Channel
- Eighth Reformed
Location[edit | edit source]
- 841 Burton Street SW near Clyde Park
Pastors[edit | edit source]
- Roelof Duiker, 1892-96
- Peter Ihrman, 1896-99
- Harke Frieling, 1899-1903
- John Sietsema, 1904-11
- Meinhard D. Vander Meer, 1912-17
- Gerritt Menning, 1918-26
- John A. Klaaren, 1926-30
- William Goulooze, 1931-39
- Leonard Greenway, 1939-43, transfered to CRC 1944
- Nickolas Rozeboom, 1944-49
- Theodore J. Jansma, 1949-57
- Frederic C. Dolfin, 1959-65
- Wilbur R. Ringnalda, 1965-75
- Howard E. Davis, 1977-92
- Randal J. Wieland, education, 1979-84
- Kenneth L. Westrate, 1992-99
- Russell Dykhouse (interrim), 2000-01
- Evert Fikse (assistant pastor/pastor), 2001-03
- Robert Langenberg, 2003 to 2017
- Harry Koops, 2017 to present
Membership Overview[edit | edit source]
Membership Data[edit | edit source]
Green (lower) line shows membership in families; blue (middle), professing members; red (top), total members; and magenta (thin), non-professing members.
Membership Ratios[edit | edit source]
Red line (middle) shows nonprofessing members as a percentage of total membership (inactive members exluded); green (lower), inactive members as percentage of total membership; and blue (higher) average worship attendance of total membership.
Five Year Growth Rate[edit | edit source]
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: Acts of Synod of the Reformed Church in America. Dates are year prior to publication date since data is gathered at the end of one year and published in the next.