Faith Journey of the Danforth Reformed Church
135 Years of Ministry
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.