Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI, 1886-1957


Fifth Reformed Church was organized in 1886 as the third daughter of Second Reformed, which had once again filled its facilities.

By 1882-83, a considerable proportion of members of Second Reformed who resided in the vicinity of Grandville Avenue began to raise the issue of forming a new congregation, as they were fairly distant from Second Reformed. The Consistory discouraged this, but in 1885 a petition addressed to the Classis of Grand River was approved. Fifth Reformed Church was officially organized with 86 members from Second Reformed.

For a short period, the new congregation worshiped in Stevens' Hall, located at 15 and 17 Grandville, and later in a private home. On February 3, 1886, a large number of male volunteers acquired $150 worth of material and in four days built a temporary meeting house.

They worshiped there until Fifth dedicated their new, capacious, and elegant sanctuary on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 1886, which had been built during the summer. The cornerstone was laid July 6, 1886. The auditorium seated 800, and the Lecture Room, in the rear on the same floor, is arranged to be opened for 400 more when necessary.

In 1887, a beautiful parsonage was built on a lot adjoining the church site, and in 1888, the old temporary meeting house was converted into a barn for the pastor's use.

Fifth Reformed relocated from its original location on Church Place at Pleasant Street (just west of Grandville Avenue) and into southeast Grand Rapids in 1957. The old building was later used by Pleasant Hill Reformed Church (1960-1967).

The current church facilities occupy an entire city block bounded by Griggs, Englewood, Elliot, and Hutchinson, half of that space dedicated to parking. This is one block north of Burton Street, and the church building is invisible from that main thoroughfare.

Historical DetailsEdit


Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI, 1886-1957


  1. 535 Church Place near Pleasant SW, 1886-1957 (later Pleasant Hill Reformed)
  2. 2012 Griggs Street SE, 1957-present


  1. Rense Henry Joldersma, 1886-89
  2. Ale Buursma, 1889-1901
  3. Benjamin Hoffman, 1902-12
  4. Siebe C. Nettinga, 1912-18
  5. Abraham De Young, 1918-28
  6. Abraham Rynbrandt, 1928-36
  7. Louis H. Benes, 1936-44
  8. Charles B. Wissink, 1945-53
  9. Chester J. Droog, 1953-65
  10. Raymond H. Rewarts, 1965-78
  11. Edward D. Seely, education, 1967-78
  12. Charles B. Wissink, visitation, 1973
  13. Theodore A. Lindman, assistant, 1976-78
  14. Luther E. Ratmeyer, 1979-82
  15. Jay R. Weener, 1984-89
  16. Dick A. Doeden, associate, 1985-
  17. Jack D. Cooper, associate, 1988-
  18. David M. Bast, senior, 1989-

Daughter ChurchesEdit

  1. Eighth Reformed, 1891
  2. Grace Reformed, 1897

Membership OverviewEdit

Note the increase in membership following relocation in 1957 to a growing and underserved part of the city.


Membership data, Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

Membership DataEdit

Heavy lines: green (lower) shows membership in families; blue (middle), professing members; red (top), total members. Thin lines: magenta (middle), non-professing members; orange (lower), inactive members; black (top), average worship attendance.


Membership ratios, Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

Membership RatiosEdit

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, Fifth Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI

Five Year Growth RateEdit

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.


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