Danforth Reformed Church

130 years serving the LordThe Faith Journey of the Danforth Reformed Church
135 Years of Ministry

Danforth Reformed Church's faith journey is intimately connected to the Netherlands. In his book, Netherlanders in America, on pages 328-329, Henry Stephens Lucas notes the following concerning Danforth and the Hollanders.

Some Dutch immigrants, on their arrival, went directly to the fertile lands in Iroquois County, Illinois. A number of Groningers settled near Danforth in 1868. This group held religious services without the aid of a minister until Dominie A. Duiker came, in the spring of 1873. In that year the congregation, which had been organized in 1870, increased from fifteen families to thirty-five. In 1874, when the group numbered forty families, Dominie Lammert Hulst, whom the congregation had invited, arrived from Stadskanaal, in the Netherlands.

But how did this connection to the Netherlands begin? One has to go back to the Illinois Central Railroad Company which ran through this area on a regular basis. One of the railroad employees was a native from the Netherlands and asked the Danforth Brothers, who had purchased the land around 1856 from the railroad company and formed the Danforth township, if the Netherlanders could come and help drain the fields of fertile soil.

Thus the quote concerning the entrance of the Netherlanders to this area. And as these Netherlanders came - they came with the motto,"Without the Lord all is vain." So as these families came forth they did with a sense of religious commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Wisconsin Classis knew this truth and aided in the forming of a church on September 14, 1869. This church was known as the Reformed Church of Danforth and was cared for by the Reverends Debey and Zemer.

The church circa 1980 - 1906 and 1956.Three years later, in 1872, the first church and parsonage were built. Through the years these buildings were updated and used by the congregation to help proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. There was a pipe organ which was purchased through a grant from the Carnegie fund in 1914. there was an extensive renovation in 1930 that aided in the usefulness of the old church.

Then in 1952 a building committee was formed to have a new church building built in its present location. The ground breaking service took place in 1954. April 27-29, 1955 the church held a variety of special services to dedicate this new building. Many memorials and sacrificial gifts made this present church a possibility. Even today (1999) the same truth rings forth as the memorial gift of a Rodgers organ was given by Lester and Annabelle Bensema thus continuing to enrich the present building and the church family.

In 1967 the present parsonage was built. The old church was torn down and used to build the parsonage. This building of the parsonage has been called a step of faith. There have been several added features to the parsonage from carpet to a dishwasher to ceiling fans. This is a great blessing to all who live in the parsonage.

The family life of the church has been rich in heritage. She has produce sons of the church and many pastor's wives. Even today mission is important to this church as she continues to support the missionaries who serve in Japan. She has continually supported the Jackson County Ministries by giving clothes, making bed spread quilts, and constant giving to G.O.D.'s Food Pantry. Pastor MacDonald and the church have supported the recent initiation of the Youth for Christ Ministry within the Iroquois West School District. Thus the vision is constantly being affirmed in building and ministry.Our current church.

The future of Danforth Reformed Church is a promising one as we continue to struggle with building improvements to challenging ministries that will make a difference in the community. The vision; "We are here seeking God's help to live in harmony, searching for souls to show the way of salvation through Christ...." is constantly before us as we reach into the future..."Without the Lord all is vain."

The prayer is that we continually reach out like the past generations and make a difference both in the buildings that others have left behind and more importantly that lives are changed as Jesus Christ is presented.

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