The Christian Reformed Church
By Rev. L. Van Haitsma, A. B., B. D.
The history of the Christian Reformed church and of the Holland settlement are so interwoven that they must be treated as one.
In February, 1900, Gerrit Kamper paid a visit to this district to view the land around Rudyard. His reason for coming in the winter was to learn whether the cold was bearable or not. As a result of his visit he and his father, John Kamper, came out in the following spring. They experienced real pioneer life, but soon had a site cleared and a house erected and then the rest of the family came north.
That summer several other families came and settled in this Northwoods region. Being of a religious type and realizing the value of Christian fellowship they did not fail to meet for worship on the Lord's Day-usually in the home of Jahn Kamper. Gerrit Kamper, who frequently addressed the audience won for himself the title of "Preacher."
The Rev. G. G. Haan, at that time Home Missionary, now labored among them and on the 23rd day of May, 1901, the church was organized and united with the Christian Reformed Church of America. The charter members were John Kamper, William DeWitt, Ben Van Sloten, Ben Weersing, Menno Wiebenga, John Bosma, Okko Bosma, Gerrit Kamper, Joe Brower, Martin DeGoede, George Snip, William H. Dalman. The following were chosen elders: Wm. H. Dalman and John Bosma and deacons, William Dewitt and Joe Brower.
Christian Reformed Church, 1910
In the spring of 1902 a chapel was built on a site given by Mr. Wm. H. Dalman. This was one mile east of the present location and a student, Van Der Heide by name, labored here.
Incorporation took place in May, 1903. In October, 1907, various structural alterations were made in the chapel both inside and out and in 1910 stables were built.
By this time the congregation had grown to a fair size and the desire was expressed to have a resident pastor. A committee was appointed and in order to make the burden this would involve lighter, the committee was to seek to induce more of their nationality to settle with them.
In July, 1911, the Rev. H. Kamps was called as Pastor and he and his family came in August and resided in the second house north of the railroad on the east side.
The Parsonage was built in I912 on the spot where it stands today. The site was given by Mr. DeWitt. The old chapel was then moved to a new position north of the parsonage. The old edifice was pulled down and the present church was built on the site in the year 19I7 and was ready for dedication that summer. The Rev. H. Kamps having accepted a call to Wright, Iowa, the Rev. P. Van Vliet, from Lucas, filled a classical supply here.
The classis now urged the congregation to obtain another pastor and several calls were sent out. In the meanwhile the pulpit was supplied during the summer months by the following students: Messrs. Weidenaar, 1919, John Medendorp, 1918, and J. Pauw, 1919.
Christian Reformed Church, 1920
In the spring of 1920 a call was forwarded to the present pastor then a post-graduate student at the Presbyterian Seminary, Princeton, N.J.
At present there are sixty-eight communicants and one hundred and thirty seven souls with several others attending.
In divine services the Dutch and the English languages are used alternately.
The Ladies' Aid meets every Wednesday afternoon in the basement of the church and exerts an influence for good both financially and spiritually.
Our Young Peoples' society is well attended, all our young people being members.