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First Church started well before the civil war when Dr. A.C. VanRaalte led a group from the Netherlands to the densely wooded shores of Black Lake. These brave pioneers risked all to found a ‘godly colony’ that allowed freedom of worship and opportunities for generations to come. They began worship in a log cabin, but soon built the beautiful ‘Pillar’ Church.


A split occurred in 1882 that resulted in two denominations, the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church. As a result, the First Church members soon built their own red brick building on 9th Street, and in 1963 moved to our current facility on the corner of 26th and State. Happily, Pillar and First share a very close and vital relationship that is healing that history.


First Reformed is part of the Reformed Church in America. We are Reformed in theology and belief. We are a warmly orthodox congregation that is progressive in its ministries.

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