History of First Reformed Church
Our roots go all the way back to the 1840's...

Our Struggles
Throughout our history we have encountered many challenges as we have sought to be faithful to God's call upon our lives. For our first sixty years we struggled financially to support our ministry in Falls. We were blessed with the support of the Board of Domestic Missions, the Wisconsin Classis, and several local churches.

We have also struggled to relate to our changing culture. Early on there was debate about slave holders being members of the congregation. Later, we faced what it meant to have a sabbath rest; can we drive our cars? dance? or have our stores open? Transitioning from Dutch to English was also difficult.

In spite of these and many other challenges we have continued to grow and impact our community.

Our Growth
We have consistently grown throughout the years. Early on, growth was slow, but we managed to gain nearly fifty members in our first fifty years. We flowered during the ministry of Rev. Lubbers, who took us from around 100 members to over 300. Since that time we have continued to grow, bringing us to a membership of just over 350.

Our Call to Missions
In 1899, Rev. Zwerner came to us and installed a passion to share the gospel with the rest of our world. From that time on we began supporting missionaries around the world. In 1918, the tradition had come about where each member gave one days wages toward various missions. While we continue to support missions around the world with over 40% of our budget, we are also looking more and more to the needs within our own community. It is our desire to proclaim the Gospel throughout our community and the world.

Our Timeline

Check back from time to time as we expand on our history page, including some pictures of our past!

1840's - A group of Holland settlers met in homes to worship during this time.  The meetings continued for nearly a decade.

- The Church was organized as a mission of the Wisconsin Classis.

1864 - Falls placed under care of Gibbsville.

1865 - Gibbsville reported union was not working, so other local churches were asked to help; Oostburg was to exercise discipline.

1866 - Incorporated as First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church. The property on 314 Buffalo was purchased for $220.

1883 - Church building erected.  (The building still exists to this day and serves as a resale shop.)

1883 - Rev. Bloemendaal was called. Evening service went from Dutch to English.

1891 - Rev. Henry Harmelink became the classis missionary serving both Hope and First.

1897 - Hope dissolved relationship with us because they had grown.

1899 - Rev. Frederick Zwerner became the first resident pastor, but also served in Hingham. He stimulated interest in missions.  His salary: $200.

1903 - Hingham discontinued union after weighing our weak and needy state. We placed ourselves at the mercy of the classis.

1904 - A Seminary student served church for summer and became highly respected. Rev. Peter De long was called as the full time pastor. The Board of Domestic Missions paid half his salary which was $700.

1905 - Parsonage was purchased for $1,900, half was borrowed from classis. Name changed to Dutch Reformed Church of Sheboygan Falls.

1907 - Rev. Tietema was called. After a short time the congregation began to grow. Mrs. Tietema organized the choir.

1909 - Building was enlarged for $1,400.

1912 - Rev. Flikkema was called upon his graduation from Western.

1915 - The church became self supporting. Offering bags were replaced by baskets.

1918 - Time of anxiety as men fought in WWI. An envelope system was implemented.

1920 - Rev. Raymond I. Lubbers was called upon graduation and served for 34 1/2 years. He brought many changes like installing colored windows, using individual cups for communion, choir robes were purchased, and consistory minutes were taken in English.

1925 - Sunday morning service alternated between Dutch and English each week.

1929 - Basement enlarged, plumbing installed.

1931 - One service a month in Dutch.

1938 - Name changed to First Reformed Church of Sheboygan Falls. The last Dutch service was held.

1941-45 - As fifty of our men served in WWII, many prayer meetings were held.

1945 - Began fund raising $75,000 for new building.

1947 - Ruselism led some members astray (became Jehovah's Witnesses).

1950 - Site on Giddings Ave. was purchased.

1951 - Current sanctuary dedicated.

1952 - Women admitted as voting members.

1954 - Pews installed for choir.

1955 - Purchase of a parsonage. Rev. Jacob Juist was called.

1962 - Rev. James Vos was called.

1969 - Rev. Cornelius Reynen was called. No more records were used for preludes.

1973 - Closed-circuit TV installed to Pine Haven Christian Home.

1977 - Purchase of the "Lighthouse". Rev. Henry Poppen was called.

1978 - By-laws were adopted.

1982 - Rev. Richard Kooistra was called.

1985 - Elevator installed and foyer expanded.

1987 - NIV translation adopted.

1994 - Mission Statement adopted.

1996 - Rev. Brian Stone was called to serve as the first Associate Pastor. A second parsonage was purchased.

1997 - Rev. Stone was called as Senior Pastor.

1999 - Rev. Kevin Van Wyk was called to serve as the Associate Pastor.

2000 - Activity Center dedicated at a cost of $1,000,000.

2002 - Fire, caused by lightning, damaged the sanctuary. Services were held in Family Life center while sanctuary was restored.

2003 - Microwave wireless system installed to replace agging closed circuit television system to Pine haven Christian Home.

2003 - New web site launched at 1streformed.org.

2005 - Rev. Brad Veenendaal was called as Senior Pastor.

2006 - First Reformed Church of Sheboygan Falls, WI celebrates its 150th Anniversary.  (Check out the Media Center for a special program presented at the celebration.)

2009 - The first church plant was started.  River Rock church began serving the north side of the City of Sheboygan with a number of members from First Reformed.

2011 - Rev. Jeremiah Fyffe, who served as Assistant Pastor, was called to begin service at a church in Florida.