HISTORY OF THE FIRST REFORMED CHURCH OF INWOOD

 

The following history of Inwood First Reformed Church is actually more of a summary as the actual history would need to include many events and/or happenings and all the members who have played a significant role in the life of Inwood First Reformed Church since each pastor and each member of our church–former to present–has played a vital part in our church’s history.   The birth of our church began in a 2:00 P.M. service on Monday, October 2, 1911, held in Inwood’s Presbyterian Church, as the Reverends J. Wesselink and J. DeJongh and Elder J. Vander Wilt of Iowa Classis effected the organization of our congregation.  The following charter members were received at the time of organization:  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Sterken, Mr. and Mrs. Siebert Terpstra, G.W. Sterken, H. Van Woudenberg, William Wassenaar, Mr. and Mrs. Willem Kooistra, Mr. and Mrs. Hendrik Brinkman, Jan Arends, and seven baptized children, six of the Henry Sterken’s and one of the Siebert Terpstra’s.  Elders elected at the meeting were H. Sterken, Vice-President, and G.W. Sterken, Clerk; deacons were Willem Kooistra and Siebert Terpstra.  The congregation continued to worship in the Presbyterian Church’s building until December 23, 1913, when our first House of Worship, a wood frame building, was dedicated to the service of the Triune God.   At first our young congregation had to depend upon available area Reformed ministers for its pulpit supply; failing of that, one of the elders conducted the service and read the sermon.  In February 1913, Classis of Iowa appointed Rev. H.H. Niehaus as stated pulpit supply.  He served until March 1914.  In the fall of 1914, Rev. Dirk Scholten served the church in a similar capacity until spring 1916.   Our first regularly called pastor was Rev. Harm S. Muilenburg who served here from September 1916 until September 1923.  Rev. Nicholas Cloo next served our congregation from November 1923 until October 1927.  Senior seminarian John Rikkers of Western Theological Seminary was ordained and installed as our next pastor in June 1928, and he remained until October 1932.  Rev. Anthony Tinklenberg, another senior seminarian, became our pastor in October 1933.  After he departed in August 1940, Rev. Matthias Duven came to minister to us from August 1941 until November 1952.   In August 1953, Rev. Martin Hoekman came to shepherd the flock.  He was the first minister to live in the then newly built present parsonage.  During Rev. Hoekman’s ministry, the congregation set out to build a 40 foot by 90 foot brick edifice on the same spot as the old building.  While the old church was being dismantled and the new church constructed, the congregation met for worship in the Arrow Theater on Inwood’s main street.  The groundbreaking and cornerstone laying services were held September 24, and October 23, 1957, respectively.  The finished edifice was dedicated to God’s Glory in a May 28, 1958, consecration service.   Rev. Hoekman left Inwood in 1959.  In July 1959, Rev. Richard Rozeboom began his ministry here.  Prior to and during his ministry, several families left our congregation to help form the Bethany Reformed Church in Canton, SD.  Rev. Rozeboom retired in 1963, succeeded by Rev. Henry W. Kolenbrander in 1964.  He served until 1970.   In 1970, Rev. Edward Korthals came to serve until 1974 when he and several families of our congregation left to form the New Life Assembly of God Church.  Rev. Raymond Denekas came in 1974 and ministered to us until his retirement in January 1982.  Healing of a divided congregation took place during Pastor Denekas’ time at Inwood First Reformed Church.   Pastor Don White became our minister in July 1982 and remained until August 1990.  Pastor Don and Judy’s first child, son Zechariah, was stillborn, and the congregation mourned with them in their loss.  We also rejoiced with them as their daughters, Leah and Bonnie, were later born during their time at Inwood.   Pastor Randy Schreurs and his wife Jane and their two children, Jonathan and Megan, came to serve in our church from July 1991 – April 1996.  Their youngest child, Rebecca, was born during their time in Inwood.

For the next eight years, our congregation was without the services of a full-time RCA pastor.  We were served by several interim student pastors and retired pastors in the area.  In March 2004, the congregation extended a call to Pastor Bill Donkersloot.  He and his wife Marcia moved to Inwood and began ministering to us on June 1, 2004.  Pastor Bill taught our congregation to be kinder and more loving of each other and our community.  Under his leadership, we once again became a unified congregation and became more mission oriented.
 
In June 2004 the parsonage was remodeled to enlarge the kitchen and add a double garage, laundry room, bathroom, and pastor’s study.  Stained glass windows for the sanctuary were designed by Rick and Gail Harmelink and given to the church in April 2006.

Pastor Bill Donkersloot passed away on March 9, 2009, following heart surgery.  He left behind not only his family, but also his church family, to mourn his passing.  During Pastor Bill’s sickness and following his passing, retired pastors from the area and seminary students from Sioux Falls Seminary again provided our pulpit supply.  When the congregation felt ready to look for another pastor, we felt God leading us to extend a call to one of those seminary students, Rob Horstman.  Rob still had a year of seminary to complete, so we continued with our pulpit supply.  Rob and Dori and their sons, Levi, Quin, and Arin, moved into the parsonage in July 2010, and Rob assumed some of the pastoral duties.  Following his graduation from seminary, Pastor Rob began his full-time duties in June 2011 and was ordained and installed as our “official” pastor on August 7, 2011.   The “Upper Room” above the new parsonage addition was completed in early 2011 providing space for the consistory, youth, and a Sunday School class to meet.  The Fellowship Hall was also updated and redecorated during 2011.   Throughout the past 100 years, Inwood First Reformed Church has been blessed with many joys and also experienced many trials and struggles.  The members of Inwood First Reformed Church have remained faithful to their Heavenly Father and persevered through their trials.  We have felt God walking beside us each step of the way.  Our Gracious Lord has blessed our congregation.  May we ever remain faithful and thankful to Him!  To God be the Glory!