First Church is part of the Christian Reformed Church in North America, begun in 1857 on this continent, but with deep roots both in the European Reformation and in the ancient faith of the Church.
First Christian Reformed Church officially opened on March 19, 1857 as one of the first four churches in our denomination.
First Church began when members of Second Reformed Church (now part of Central Reformed Church) left to begin a Sunday Bible Study in protest of beliefs and practices that they felt were unacceptable. In 1857, First Church organized with three other congregations as a group of churches that would eventually become the Christian Reformed Denomination.
Our first two church buildings where located in downtown Grand Rapids. Our first small building was located on the northwest corner of Ionia and Weston (close to present day Van Andel Arena). Our second church building was located on Spring Street (later renamed Commerce Street). The cornerstone for our present facility was laid on October 7, 1911. Since then, First Church has undergone significant building enhancements in 1960, 1967, 1991 and 2008.
In addition to its role in founding our denomination, this congregation gave birth to six daughter churches in Grand Rapids. First Church also played a significant role in the establishment of Calvin College and Seminary in that our pastor, Rev. Boer, was called to be the first teacher of ministers in our denomination and classes were first held in the second floor of our Christian day school on Williams Street. His teaching position eventually developed into Calvin Theological Seminary from which came Calvin College.
These are only some of the major points in our history. Most of all we praise God for his faithfulness to this church in all the details of our church life and the lives of its members throughout the generations. We pray and trust God will continue to use his people at First Church to build his kingdom here in Grand Rapids and around the world.
For more history you can click on these links for: