First Christian Reformed Church (First Church for short) opened its doors on March 19, 1857, as one of the first four churches in our denomination: the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). Check out this video that provides a broad overview of our history or continue to read below. 

A new church and a new denomination

Our story began when members of Second Reformed Church (now part of Central Reformed) in Grand Rapids, Michigan, left to begin a Sunday Bible study in protest of beliefs and practices that they felt were unacceptable. This group joined with similar groups from three other Reformed congregations to form a new network of churches that eventually grew into the CRCNA.

The places we've called home

Our church started its life in a small building on the northwest corner of Ionia and Weston (close to the present-day Van Andel Arena). Our second church building was also in downtown Grand Rapids, on Spring Street (later renamed Commerce Street). The cornerstone for our third church building was laid in a neighborhood just outside downtown Grand Rapids on October 7, 1911. And while that building has been expanded, redecorated, and reshaped quite a few times over the years, we've been worshiping in the same slice of southeastern Grand Rapids ever since.

A penchant for starting things

First Church has always had a penchant for starting things. In addition to the part First played in founding the CRCNA, 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 Calvin Theological Seminary. Our pastor, Rev. Boer, was called to be the first teacher of ministers in our denomination. His teaching position eventually developed into Calvin Theological Seminary, from which came Calvin College.

A legacy of faithfulness

We praise God for his faithfulness to this church in all the details of our church life and the lives of our church's 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, Michigan, and around the world.