Our Background

 

About the Reformed Church in America

Rockford Reformed Church is part of the Reformed Church in America (RCA). The “reformed” part of our name comes from the Protestant Reformation, which swept across Europe in the 1500s under the leadership of such men as Martin Luther and John Calvin. Calvin’s reformation at Geneva spread to many other countries, including Scotland, where it became the Presbyterian Church, and the Netherlands, where it became our ancestor, the Dutch Reformed Church.
 
The Reformed Church came to America with some of the earliest Dutch settlers in the 1600s. By 1628, the Dutch Reformed people in New Amsterdam (now New York City) were able to form a church there. James Michaelius came over from the Netherlands and took charge of the small congregation of about 50 members. From that time on, there has always been a Dutch Reformed Church in New York City. Thus, our Reformed Church is the oldest Protestant Church in America with an uninterrupted ministry.
 
Since that first congregation met almost 400 years ago in a small room above a grist mill, the church has grown into what is today called the Reformed Church in America, consisting of 1,000 churches and 300,000 members – people of diverse ethnicities and many cultures, growing and serving God together.

Beliefs

We could write many pages on the specifics of Reformed beliefs, but the RCA’s website has it covered. For in-depth information on the church’s beliefs and organizational structure, please visit the official RCA Website: www.rca.org. Some helpful links:

Rockford Reformed Church’s Vision & Mission

Vision Statement: To be a living reflection of Christ’s hands, feet, and voice in the community.
 
Mission Statement: To connect people to Jesus Christ and encourage them to grow in their relationship with Him through worship and fellowship, so they will reach out to serve and disciple others for the glory of God.

Rockford Reformed Church’s History

Rockford Reformed Church has been a part of the Rockford, Michigan community for over 55 years.
 
Writeup prepared for our 5th Anniversary, 1963
 
Writeup prepared for our 50th Anniversary, 2008
 
Pastors
Rev. Paul Bradford – 2015 to 2017
Rev. David G. Dethmers (Interim) – 2014
Rev. Richard C. Tigchon – 1997 to 2014
Rev. Bryan Boersma – 2010 to 2013
Rev. Roger D. Grandia – 1992 to 1996
Rev. Neil VanHeest (Interim) – 1990 to 1991
Rev. John Zwyghuizen – 1984 to 1990
Rev. Douglas VanBronkhurst – 1979 to 1984
Rev. Levi Akker – 1970 to 1978
Rev. Howard Davis – 1969 to 1970
Rev. Larry Grooters – 1965 to 1968
Rev. Donald W. DenHartog – 1959 to 1964
 
Timeline
  • May 31, 1957 – Six families, including John & Leona Carter, Gordon & Carol Knox, Mr. & Mrs. A. Blouw, Mrs. F. Davis, and Mr. Gringhuis, met at the home of Ray & Thelma Kunst with Rev. Kik. Named the church Rockford Reformed Church, and elected Ray Kunst as Chairman, Gordon Knox as Treasurer, and John Carter as Sunday School Superintendent.
  • June 2, 1957 – First church service held at the American Legion Hall in Rockford. Rev. John Hommerson served the new congregation on a part-time basis. Cost per week was $15. Preachers received $20 per week. Offerings received that first month: general fund = $143.57; benevolent fund = $15.92; Sunday school = $22.15.
  • July-August, 1957 – Larry Doorn and Gordon Webster, two Western Theological Seminary students, worked for the church doing neighborhood visitation and promotion.
  • July 13, 1957 – First church picnic, held at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Albert Blouw on JeNeBe Drive at Brower Lake. The following year it was held at Gordon Park in Cedar Springs.
  • October 1957 – The women formed “Faith and Fellowship,” which met monthly on the second Tuesday. At the first meeting they mended hymnbooks donated by Grace Reformed Church. The group collected things and money for missions, and would later furnish the church kitchen, library, and nursery. They served at funerals, and held socials for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other events. Their first bake sale netted over $100.
  • December 1957 – The church held its first Christmas program and experienced a “full house that night.”
  • June 10, 1958 – Rockford Reformed Church was officially organized by the Classis of North Grand Rapids as a congregation of the Reformed Church in America. There were 32 communicant members. The church was served by another “summer student,” Allen Boeve, and its first consistory: John Carter, Ray Kunst, G. Postumus, J. Cole, Gordon Knox, and L. Overkamp.
  • December 14, 1958 – The congregation issued a call to its first full-time pastor, Rev. DenHartog. He accepted, and after graduating from Western Theological Seminary in the spring, was installed as pastor June 20, 1959. He served until 1964.
  • August 20, 1959 – Land was purchased for the church building by the Classis of North Grand Rapids and given to Rockford Reformed Church.
  • October 11, 1959 – Groundbreaking ceremony for the church building on the Eleven Mile Road hill overlooking Rockford.
  • May 1, 1960 – First worship service in the newly constructed church.
  • June 26, 1960 – Laying of the cornerstone and beginning of Dedication Week.
  • Fall of 1960 – The first (partial) mission sponsorship by Rockford Reformed Church went to Dr. and Mrs. VandeAarde, missionaries to India.
  • 1961 – Steeple added.
  • September 24, 1961 – Rockford Reformed Church uses the new organ for the first time, and celebrates with a special “Dedication Service” on November 5th.
  • 5th Anniversary, 1963 – Congregation consisted of 31 families. Expanded missionary support to include Dr. and Mrs. Gilbert DenHartog, missionaries to Ethiopia.
  • 1965 to 1968 – Rev. Larry Grooters served as pastor. The parsonage was constructed during his tenure, and his was the first family to live there.
  • 1969 to 1970 – Rev. Howard Davis served as pastor.
  • 1970 to 1978 – Rev. Levi Akker served as pastor.
  • November 26, 1975 – Thanksgiving worship service was especially meaningful when the congregation held a “Mortgage Burning Service,” presided over by members of the original Building Committee.
  • 20th Anniversary, 1978 – Coincided with the 350th Anniversary of the founding of the Reformed Church in America (RCA), back in April 1628, on Manhattan Island. An old-fashioned church service was held in which the men and women sat on opposite sides of the sanctuary. Church was in the midst of expansion.
  • December 1978 – Fire caused $26,500 in damage to the parsonage. It was repaired and improved.
  • Palm Sunday 1979 – First worship service was held in newly expanded church building (totaled 9500 sq. ft.). That first addition also reversed the sanctuary from facing west to east.
  • 1979 to 1984 – Rev. Douglas VanBronkhurst served as pastor.
  • 25th Anniversary, 1983 – Congregation had grown to over 100 families.
  • 1984 to 1990 – Rev. John Zwyghuizen served as pastor.
  • May 3, 1987 – Groundbreaking ceremony for the educational wing which added ten classrooms and an elevator. A dedication ceremony was held September 27, 1987.
  • 30th Anniversary, 1988 – Over 131 families were members of Rockford Reformed Church.
  • 1990 to 1991 – Rev. Neil VanHeest served as Interim Pastor.
  • 1992 to 1996 – Rev. Roger Grandia served as pastor.
  • 1997 to 2014 – Rev. Richard Tigchon (“Pastor Rick”) served as pastor.
  • April 30, 2000 – Groundbreaking ceremony for new office/education wing. On September 9, 2001, a dedication ceremony was held.
  • April 24, 2005 – Groundbreaking ceremony for the Family Life Center, which included a gym, kitchen, nursery, youth room, classrooms, and elevator. The dedication ceremony was held on November 6, 2005.
  • June, 2006 – The parsonage was sold to a private owner and moved to 5627 Courtland Meadows Ct.
  • October 7, 2007 – Began a third service, called “The Well,” in the Family Life Center, led by Aaron VanManen, Director of Youth Ministries.
  • November 2007 – Remodeled sanctuary front to expand the platform.
  • 50th Anniversary, 2008
  • September 2010 to December 2013 – Rev. Bryan Boersma served as Associate Pastor.
  • January 2013 – Transitional partnership with Casnovia Reformed Church (one year), combine The Well and the 11:00 Sanctuary Service in the sanctuary.
  • May 2014 – Pastor Rick Tigchon retires after nearly 17 years at RRC.
  • June 2014 to December 2014 – Pastor David Dethmers hired as Interim Pastor.
  • May 31, 2015 – Installation service for Rev. Dr. Paul Bradford.
  • October 29, 2017 – Pastor Paul’s final sermon.