(Photo of the 1935 Church - Rev. John H. Bruggers, Pastor)
COOPERSVILLE REFORMED CHURCH
The Coopersville Reformed Church could have celebrated
its 80th anniversary this year, as it was in 1854 that the church was organized.
At that time a sufficient number of Holland families had settled south of this
village, towards Lamont and Eastmanville to organize a Holland church. A good
many of the prominent families of those days later moved away but some names are
still, common, vis., Witcop, Cook, Bolhuis, Van Allsburg and Kooiman.
A little log meeting house was erected at a place known at that time as the "Four Corners". Here for some three years services were held. When it began to appear that a new building would have to be built it occasioned a great deal of contention. About this time there was also a great deal of argument as to whether the preaching of Dr. Van Raalte was orthodox. Thinking it was not, it was decided to secede and for a few weeks the church went by the name of the True Reformed Church in America.
Lucas Elbers, an elder of large influence, and Rev. D. J. Oggel of Holland who preached to the congregation from 1 Corinthians 13, induced the flock to come back to the Reformed Church. Finally, after considerable dispute, a building was erected where Engle Van Allsburg formerly lived. It was decided at this time - 1863 - to call a pastor who was to preach English to the Congregational church at Eastmanville and Dutch to the Reformed church. He only stayed two years, as this alliance did not work well.
After the Civil War Coopersville rapidly increased in size as a village while Eastmanville as rapidly decreased. A large number of families also settled on territory north of the church.
Considerable agitation arose for moving the Church in Coopersville, and under the energetic leadership of Geert Rankans, a man of great vision and of unwavering tenacity of purpose, it was decided to make the move but this decision cost the church nearly half of its membership.
From those leaving was organized the Christian Reformed churches of Lamont and Eastmanville. Others living in these communities also aided in the establishment of these two new churches.
By great effort money enough had been collected to build a church and parsonage, but before the building was completed it was destroyed by fire, and with no insurance. The origin of the fire has ever remained a mystery.
By heroic efforts a new building was put up the following year with only a debt of $1,800 resting upon it. Now commenced a period of nearly twenty years of financial hardships. Attempts were made during this period to introduce the English language, which however proved premature. But since the beginning of this century a great many new families have moved in, most of whom were people who tired of city life and wanted to live on a farm. New blood was thus infused.
The church now became financially self-supporting, one improvement following another. The English language was again introduced and met with such favor that it is nearly used to the exclusion of the Holland language. An intense loyalty has been developed and all troubles have been pacified so that at present, after 80 years, the church can rejoice in a flourishing and promising condition.
In 1928 the church building was again destroyed by fire, and in its place has arisen a beautiful, commodious, brick church, which is one of the finest to be found in Michigan. The present pastor, Rev. J. H. Bruggers, has been here since 1928.
Created: 29 May 2009