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Drenthe Presbyterian Church | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Drenthe Presbyterian Church

Historical Note:


Unhappy with the union of the West Michigan Dutch congregations with the Reformed Church in America (RCA) in 1850 and with the leadership of Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte, the Drenthe congregation seceded from the RCA in 1853, shortly after Smit arrived from the Netherlands to lead the congregation.  Like a similar, smaller group in South Holland (Graafschap), the congregation joined the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church because of its adherence to Psalm singing in worship and adherence to doctrine they believed more closely akin to their own in comparison to that of the RCA.  The congregation flourished for a time but the lack of Dutch-speaking pastors in the Presbyterian ranks, proved a problem for the congregation as Smit aged.  Likewise, a new Christian Reformed (CRC) congregation organized in 1884 in Drenthe caused Smit to encourage his parishioners to join the CRC at his death, which they did.

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