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J.R. Brink Collection



Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers

Churches Served by J. R. Brink

Sermon Material

Notebooks, Biographical Material, Reports



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J.R. Brink Collection, 1892-1958 | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

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Collection Overview

Title: J.R. Brink Collection, 1892-1958

ID: COLL/024

Primary Creator: Brink, J.R. (1872-1960)

Extent: 7.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description

Subjects: Brink, John R., 1872-1960, Christian Reformed Church - Missions, Church work, Hanley (Mich.) - History, Missions, Sermons, Dutch, Traditional medicine


Minister of the Christian Reformed Church and missionary. The collection includes letters, reports, financial records, medical remedies, sermons, topic notes, and a scrapbook with articles submitted to periodicals.

Biographical Note

The Rev. Mr. Brink was born in Onnen, Groningen, the Netherlands, on 13 November 1872, the youngest of eight children.  His father was a carpenter, a loyal member of the Gereformeerde Kerk.  When relatives in the United States wrote urging the family to join them, his parents decided to emigrate.  They settled on a farm near Jamestown, Michigan.  Early days were beset with hardship.

After about five years the family moved to Holland, Michigan, where his father resumed his carpentry trade, but died within a year.  John was eighteen and went to work in a furniture factory to support his mother.  The following years were spent teaching in the Grand Haven Christian School, studying for a year and a summer at Hope College, and teaching for two years at a Christian school in Chicago.

Although he enjoyed teaching, he still strongly felt the call to the gospel ministry.  When Classis Holland granted him $175 a year for theological study, he and his mother moved to Grand Rapids.  Six years later, in 1902, he graduated from Calvin’s “Theological School.”  That same year he married Helen Noordewier, daughter of Rev. Jacob Noordewier, the Christian Reformed pastor after whom Noordewier Hall (at Calvin College) is named.

His first congregation was the Reeman, Michigan, Christian Reformed Church, where he served with joy until 1905.  During those years he paid back the money borrowed from classis for his education.  Two children, Johanna and Ralph, were born in Reeman.  After this he served as home missionary in Grand Rapids until 1907, when he moved to the East Side Church of Cleveland, Ohio.  Daughter Catherine was born there, but died at the age of thirteen months.  When the Second Church of Englewood called him for a second time, he accepted the call and moved to Chicago in 1911.

In 1913 he was called a second time to serve as home missionary for Classes Grand Rapids East and West.  He accepted the call, since this work had always had a big place in his heart.  He was particularly well-suited to this pioneering in church extension.  Strong and energetic, he was perpetually optimistic about the potential for growth in small congregations.  He took special delight in watching the development of leadership and spiritual growth in these young churches.  During these busy, active years he served in more than twenty locations, starting sixteen new congregations, including some in Canada.  Two more daughters, Ruth and Lois, were born during those years.

Classis Illinois called him to the same kind of work in 1928.  While based in Chicago, he worked in wide-ranging fields, starting ten new congregations in less than ten years.  From 1938 to 1942 his work was again centered in Grand Rapids.  The two years before his retirement as home missionary were difficult ones.  An accident, in which a train seriously injured his foot, and the lingering illness and death of Mrs. Brink, took their tolls.  However, he was able to get the Boston Square Church started before his compulsory retirement as missionary in 1943. A brief period of service at Rehoboth, New Mexico, and three years as pastor in Conrad, Montana, preceded his second retirement in 1946.  His last years were spent in Grand Rapids, where he passed away on 22 July 1960.

Subject/Index Terms

Brink, John R., 1872-1960
Christian Reformed Church - Missions
Church work
Hanley (Mich.) - History
Sermons, Dutch
Traditional medicine

Administrative Information

Repository: Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Alternate Extent Statement: 3.39 cubic ft.

Acquisition Source: Gift of J. Van Bruggen family.

Other Note: Collection in Dutch.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers, 1892-1958],
[Series 2: Churches Served by J. R. Brink],
[Series 3: Sermon Material, 1889-1957],
[Series 4: Notebooks, Biographical Material, Reports, 1893-1940s],
[Series 5: Addenda, 1892-1940s],
[Series 6: Scrapbook],

Series 1: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers --- 1892-1958
Box 1
Folder 1: Biographical material
Folder 2: Correspondence --- 1892-Jan 1912
Folder 3: Correspondence, Goodman --- 1912, 1913-April 1917
Folder 4: Correspondence --- July 1917-Sept. 1925
Folder 5: Correspondence --- Sept 1925-July 1927
Folder 6: Correspondence --- Sept 1927-Jan. 1931
Folder 7: Correspondence --- Jan 1931-March 1939
Folder 8: Correspondence --- Aug 1939-1956
Folder 9: Sermons and sermon notes --- 1895-1939
Folder 10: Sermon notes --- 1940-1958
Folder 11: Undated sermons and sermon notes
Folder 12: Church financial reports
Folder 13: Bulletins and church articles
Folder 14: Church Reports --- 1913-1931
Folder 15: Church Reports --- 1932-1956
Folder 16: Notes and articles about churches
Folder 17: Miscellaneous notes and sermons, Dutch
Folder 18: Miscellaneous notes
Folder 19: Miscellaneous notes and letters
Folder 20: Miscellaneous notes and letters
Box 2
Folder 1: Miscellaneous notes
Folder 2: Miscellaneous notes - Dutch
Folder 3: Note scraps
Folder 4: Miscellaneous list of names
Folder 5: Collected tracts and articles
Folder 6: Collected periodical articles
Folder 7: Collected poems
Folder 8: Church related notes
Folder 9: Articles about Home Missions
Folder 10: Back to God Hour radio addresses
Folder 11: Correspondence - re: The Banner
Folder 12: Miscellaneous writings - Dutch
Series 2: Churches Served by J. R. Brink
Box 3
Folder 1: Memoirs by J. R. Brink
Folder 2: Memoirs of J. R. Brink by R. J. Brink and Ruth (Brink) Hoeksema --- 1985
Folder 3: Churches served (A): Arcadia, CA; Aylmer, ON.  Notes and correspondence
Folder 4: Churches served (B): Blenheim, and Burlington, ON; Burton Heights, and Boston Square, Grand Rapids, MI; Bozeman, MT; Bunde, MN.  Notes and Correspondence
Folder 5: Churches served (C): Caledonia, Comstock, and Coopersville, MI; Cleveland, OH; and Conrad, MT.  Reports
Folder 6: Churches served (C): Chatham, ON.  Notes and correspondence
Folder 7: Churches served (D): De Motte, IN; Delavan, WI; Des Plaines, IL; Decatur, Detroit, Dorr, and Dutton MI.  Reports
Folder 8: Churches served (E):  Edgerton, MN; Englewood, IL.  Reports and correspondence
Folder 9: Churches served (F):  Fair Oaks, IN; Flint, MI.  Reports and correspondence
Folder 10: Churches served (G):  Godwin Heights, Grand Rapids, MI; Grand Haven, MI; Grant Park, IL; Grant, MI; Grundy Center, IA; Gun River, MI.  Reports
Folder 11: Churches served (H):  Hamshire, TX; Hebron, IN; Holland, MI.  Reports and correspondence
Folder 12: Churches served (H): Hamilton and Holland Marsh, ON.  Reports and correspondence
Folder 13: Churches served (I): Imlay City, MI.  Report and correspondence
Folder 14: Churches served (K):  Kankakee, Illinois.  Report and correspondence
Folder 15: Churches served (L):  Lacombe, AB and Lansing, MI.  Reports
Folder 16: Churches served (M):  Martin, MI; Momence, IL; Morrison, IL.  Reports and correspondence
Folder 17: Churches served (N):  New Era, MI.  Report and correspondence
Folder 18: Churches served (O):  Oak Lawn, IL; Ontario, CA; Oskaloosa, IA, Otsego, MI.  Reports
Folder 19: Churches served (P):  Pipesone, MN; Plainfield, MI; Portland, MI; Report and correspondence
Folder 20: Churches served (R):  Randolph, WI; Raymond, MN; Rehoboth, NM.  Reports and correspondence
Folder 21: Churches served (S):  Sarnia, ON; Sparta, MI; Reports and correspondence
Folder 22: Churches served (T):  Toronto, ON; Traverse City, MI.  Reports and correspondence
Folder 23: Churches served (W):  Walker, MI; Western Springs, IL; Willard, OH; Wyoming Park, MI.  Reports
Series 3: Sermon Material --- 1889-1957
Box 4
Folder 1: Addresses.  Notes and observations --- 1889-1942
Folder 2: Commemorative sermon on Deut. 8:2 on the 40th anniversary of preaching of J. Noordewier, bound book
Folder 3
Item 1: Sermons on Matt. 13:33 --- 1900
Item 2: Sermons on John 20:11-18 --- 1901
Item 3: Sermons on I Corinthians 6:20 --- 1901
Item 4: Sermons on  I John 3:2, 3 --- 1901
Folder 4: Sermons:  Miracles of Jesus, bound notebook --- 1902
Folder 5: Sermons, bound notebook --- 1904-1905
Folder 6: Sermon notes, bound notebook --- 1904-1912
Folder 7: Catechism sermons and notes, bound notebook --- 1917
Folder 8: Sermon notes --- 1908
Folder 9
Item 1: Record of preaching, etc. --- 1937-1957
Item 2: Diary with list of sermons --- 1936-1947
Folder 10: Collected poems and quotation in notebooks of Mrs. J. R. Brink (Helen Noordewier), essay dated --- July 21912
Folder 11: Notes on dogmatics.  Notebook --- 1899
Series 4: Notebooks, Biographical Material, Reports --- 1893-1940s
Box 5
Folder 1: Alphabetical index of references - notebook
Folder 2
Item 1: Biographical material - notebook on consistory and committee activities --- 1913-1919
Item 2: Notebook on mission work --- 1919-1920
Folder 3: Biographical material - notebook --- 1927-1940
Folder 4: Biographical material - notebook on education --- 1930s
Folder 5: Biographical material - notebooks --- 1925-1926, 1932, 1934-36
Folder 6: Biographical material - notebook on mission experience --- 1940s
Folder 7: Biographical material - notebook --- 1941-1943
Folder 8: Divorce and remarriage issue in CRC - published reports
Folder 9: Household remedies - notebook (Dutch) and translation of collection of remedies by J. R. B.
Folder 10: Index notebook, events and topics --- 1935-1939
Folder 11: Regulations of the school of the Holland CRC of Grand Haven, Michigan --- 1893
Folder 12: Things old and new in church life clippings --- 1920s and 1930s
Series 5: Addenda --- 1892-1940s
Box 6
Folder 1: Articles written by J. R. Brink
Folder 2: Call letters and personal papers
Folder 3: Financial records --- 1892-1937
Folder 4: Financial records and preaching assignments --- 1900-1935
Folder 5-6: Letters written by J. R. Brink
Folder 7
Item 1: Reports to Classes: Grand Rapids --- 1914-1917
Item 2: Reports to Classes: Illinois --- 1928-1939
Item 3: Reports to Classes: Grand Rapids --- April 1939
Folder 8: Reports to Classes: Illinois --- 1927-1939
Folder 9: Reports to Classes --- 1910s and 1920s
Folder 10: Reports to and of Classes --- 1930s
Folder 11: Reports to and of Classes --- 1940s
Series 6: Scrapbook
Box 7: Scrapbook

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers, 1892-1958],
[Series 2: Churches Served by J. R. Brink],
[Series 3: Sermon Material, 1889-1957],
[Series 4: Notebooks, Biographical Material, Reports, 1893-1940s],
[Series 5: Addenda, 1892-1940s],
[Series 6: Scrapbook],

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