our story

HISTORY OF OVERISEL REFORMED CHURCH


Overisel Reformed Church’s beginning was in the Netherlands. The congregation of 23 families and their minister, Rev. Seine Bolks, came to America with about 150 souls. This is unique in that they were the only organized congregation with elders and deacons coming to America.


They left the Netherlands in October, 1847, arriving in New York and wintering there. They arrived in Holland, Michigan, in June, 1848. Rev. A. Van Raalte helped to find a location for the group to settle. The soil and terrain were similar to where they had come from in the Netherlands, except for the trees in Michigan. They built a log church and in three years built a wood frame structure about where the present parsonage stands. From 1864 to 1866, the third church was built. This church was used for 132 years. In 1997, a new facility was built, with much of the work done by volunteer labor. The new sanctuary, including the balcony, seats about 750 people. The pipe organ from the old church was restored, along with six stained glass windows, and all were incorporated into the new air-conditioned sanctuary. On the west side of the sanctuary are two pastoral offices and a secretarial office. On the east side is the choir room. The church also includes the Family Life Center with a full commercial kitchen, a chapel, a large library, a historical room, an infant nursery, a toddler nursery, and several multi-purpose classrooms for use by all age groups. Because of the growth of our youth program, we have already had to remove some walls to expand rooms to provide meeting areas for these groups. Most important are the people. About 150 descendants of the original settlers are still members of the church.


The Overisel Reformed Church has a sister church, the Overisel Christian Reformed Church and two daughter churches: the Hamilton Reformed Church and the Bentheim Reformed Church.


Education and service have always been given strong emphasis at ORC. Many ministers, missionaries, teachers, doctors, and professionals have come out of the Overisel Church.


As a religious institution, Overisel Reformed Church provides a spiritual foundation for the community through its long history. It has also taken on the identity of a missionary church. This is evident not only by its support of missionaries, but also by the large number of sons and daughters finding their way into the ministry and onto the mission field. 


THE MINISTERS OF OVERISEL REFORMED CHURCH

Rev. Seine Bolks 1848-1853

Rev. Gerrit J. Nykerk 1858-1891

Rev. Peter Lepeltak 1877-1891

Rev. Albert VandenBerg 1892-1906

Rev. Gerrit J. Hekhuis 1906-1917

Rev. John Steunenberg 1918-1919

Rev. Mannes A. Stegeman 1919-1925

Rev. Dr. Henry W. Pyle 1927-1944

Rev. Marion I. Klaaren 1945-1950

Rev. August Tellinghuisen 1952-1955

Rev. Clarence F. Greving 1956-1959

Rev. Neal J. Mol 1961-1967

Rev. John Verhoog 1968-1974

Rev. Jack Van Heest 1975-1987

Rev. David J. Klanderman 1989-1993

Rev. Daniel C. Heemstra 1994-2000

Rev. Kirk A. Vander Molen 1996-2000

Rev. Andre J. Batt 2001-2009

Rev. Scott R. Lokers 2001-2014

Rev. Tim Meendering-Transitional

Pastor Ken Kleinheksel 2016-Present

Rev. Randall Raak 2016-Present

Overisel Reformed Church