of Canada and the United States

Our History

The Netherlands Reformed Congregations of North America was formed in the early 1900's. Many Dutch speaking churches began to organize in North America as a result of the immigration wave of families from the Netherlands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These churches were at first affiliated with the various denominations in the Netherlands from which the members had left. Our group of churches was originally affiliated with the Reformed Congregations of the Netherlands but as the number of churches in North America grew it became more practical to form a new denomination. This allowed us to train our own ministers and to have local oversight. We thus became the Netherlands Reformed Congregations of North America (NRC).

Like any immigrant community, the older members resisted integration and so the early church services were held in Dutch, thus retaining their distinct cultural heritage. In time, as the older generations passed away and the younger more Americanized members filled their places, the churches switched to English language services. That which did not change however was a close adherence to the doctrines found in the Bible and further articulated by divines from the "Second Dutch Reformation." These doctrines are outlined in the now historic Three Forms of Unity: The Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession of Faith, and the Canons of Dort. While the Bible is and remains the sole focus and authority in worship and practice, these documents, based on the Word of God, provide common reference among the reformed churches. This keeps the NRC churches from losing its theological foundation as the culture around us continues its moral decay and many Christian churches have sacrificed their historic statements of faith for looser practices of worship.

We have retained the name of "Netherlands Reformed" not out of a desire to exclude people from other cultures and backgrounds but out of recognition of our rich heritage. The reformed doctrines were handed-down from our fore-fathers as representing the pure Word of God. When so many people and churches are losing their footings and when so many foundations are shaken we have sought to hold to the truths of the Bible. We have done this not simply intellectually but with an emphasis on practical and experimental faith that influences the whole person.

Our worship services start with a prayer for God's blessing followed by singing from the Psalter. Before reading a portion of Scripture, relative to the message, we read the 10 Commandments in the morning service and the Apostolic Creed in the evening service. The pastor or one of the elders then prays on behalf of the congregation. Following this, we sing another Psalm and following this the main address is given. There are usually one or two more songs and a closing prayer. Finally the pastor blesses the entire congregation with the benediction and the service is over. The services are usually about 90 minutes long. All singing during the worship services are songs adapted from the Psalms (one of the books of the Bible given for worship). Other than singing, the congregation usually remains respectful and silent, the women have their heads covered in accordance with Paul's command to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11), and the general atmosphere is one of quiet reverence.

**The author of this web site is a member of the Netherlands Reformed Congregations. Some of the history and statements of belief are presented from a personal perspective and do not necessarily represent the official position of the denomination. Author strives to be accurate and desires to represent his denomination with all due respect.