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Ralph Bronkema Collection, 1924-1954

Collection Overview

Title: Ralph Bronkema Collection, 1924-1954

ID: COLL/026

Creator: Bronkema, Ralph (1893-1973)

Extent: 5.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: Folder level description


Minister of the Christian Reformed Church. The collection includes sermons and reminiscences entitled "Our Impressions of the Netherlands," describing post-war aspects of the Netherlands.

Biographical Note

The Yearbook of the Christian Reformed Church lists only one church under the name of Ralph Bronkema.  In 1929 he accepted the call of First Orange City, Iowa, and served that congregation until 1952.  Our collection of sermons makes references to churches where he preached some of his sermons after his retirement.  Although he retired early because of diabetic disabilities, he was able to serve for brief periods in Los Angeles, California; Edmonton, Alberta; Dresden, Ontario; Salt Lake City, Utah; Eau Galle, Florida, and British Columbia; Tyler, Minnesota; and Neerlandia, Alberta.

Ralph Bronkema was born, June 10, 1893, of immigrant parents, members of the Coldbrook CRC, Grand Rapids, Michigan.  As a young man he contributed to the family finances by working at various jobs while continuing his education.  After two years at the seminary he accepted a teaching position at the newly founded Christian high school in Grand Rapids.  After teaching Bible for five years he continued his theological instruction at the Free University of Amsterdam.  His doctoral dissertation was entitled The Essence of Puritanism. Bronkema married Ella Hofstra of Grand Rapids. Together they had 4 children–Betty, Lois, Ralph (Don) and Rosalie.

While in the Netherlands he established good relationships with many people.  He preached for forty weeks in the Bergen church.  After WWII he organized a relief program using his friends in the Netherlands as contact person for the distribution of tons of food, clothing, and medicine from Northwest Iowa.  For this work the Dutch government knighted him.  In the collection there is a vivid mimeographed account of his visit to the Netherlands after the war.

Ralph Bronkema passed away on May 4, 1973. Although he served only one congregation during his active ministry, his activities reached people beyond the immediate area of the congregational membership.  His line of communication crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Addresses, Papers --- 1929-1954
Box 1
Folder 1: Addresses - Ministers' Conference and other occasions
Folder 2: Articles and reports
Folder 3: Conversations with Mormons while in Salt Lake City as associate pastor
Folder 4: Christian Reformed Church in Iowa.  Manuscript not published --- 1943
Folder 5: Letter of acceptance to Orange City, Iowa, CRC --- August 3, 1929
Folder 6: Memorial message
Folder 7: Our Impressions of the Netherlands, bound mimeographed copies (2).  Impressions of post-war Netherlands --- 1946
Folder 8: Outlined sermons on small cards.  (Incomplete)  Reduced sermons on cards for preaching
Folder 9: Paper:  The "tongues" in Acts compared with the "tongues" in Corinthians --- February 1, 1924
Folder 10: Promotie Dinner in Amsterdam, menu --- April 1, 1929
Folder 11: Twelve articles based on book "The Essence of Puritanism" --- 1954
Series 2: Heidelberg Catechism Sermons --- 1929-1938
Box 2
Folder 1: Lord's Day 45 - Lord's Day 52 --- October 1929-May 1930
Folder 2: Lord's Day 1 - Lord's Day 11 --- July 1930-November 1931
Folder 3: Lord's Day 12 - Lord's Day 52 --- December 1931-May 1934
Folder 4: Lord's Day 1 - Lord's Day 52 --- July 1934-January 1938
Series 3: Sermons for Special Days --- 1929-1945
Box 3
Folder 1: Sermons:  Advent --- 1929-1932
Folder 2: Sermons:  Ascension Day --- 1934-1939
Folder 3: Sermons:  Communion (Preparatory, Communion, Post-Communion) --- 1933-1945
Folder 4: Sermons:  Easter --- 1930-1935
Folder 5: Sermons:  First and Second Samuel --- 1932
Folder 6: Sermons:  First year of ministry
Folder 7: Sermons:  Good Friday --- -1930
Folder 8: Sermons:  New Year's Day --- 1931-1935
Folder 9: Sermons:  Old Year's Eve --- 1931-1939
Folder 10: Sermons:  on parables
Folder 11: Sermons:  Pentecost
Folder 12: Sermons:  Prayer Day --- 1931-1941
Folder 13: Sermons:  Preparatory --- 1931-1940
Folder 14: Sermons:  Post Easter --- 1931-1935
Series 4: Sermons:  Genesis to Luke --- 1932-1944
Box 4
Folder 1: Sermons:  Special days, General
Folder 2: Sermons:  Genesis to Joshua
Folder 3: Sermons:  I Samuel to Esther
Folder 4: Sermons:  Job to Malachi
Folder 5: Sermons:  Matthew to Mark
Folder 6: Sermons:  Luke
Series 5: Sermons:  John to Revelation --- 1932-1944
Box 5
Folder 1: Sermons:  John to Acts
Folder 2: Sermons:  Romans to II Timothy
Folder 3: Sermons:  Hebrews to Revelation
Folder 4: Sermons:  "To the Saints," written for comfort, encouragement, instruction