We are a part of the Christian Reformed Church denomination (see www.crcna.org for more details). Historically, our churches came from the Netherlands. But today, although many of our members in the Midwest are still from Dutch backgrounds, we can’t honestly be called a Dutch church – unless we’re also called a Korean church, a Navajo church, a Southeast Asian church, a French-Canadian church, a Hispanic-American church, an African-American church, a melting pot church.
More important to us than such ethnic badges is our place as one branch of the tree that started growing on Pentecost, almost twenty centuries ago.
The early Christian church was like the single trunk of that tree. After about 1,000 years of growth, the trunk divided into two major branches – the Eastern and the Western churches. In 1517 the Protestant Reformation divided the Western (or Roman) church into several new branches. One of these Reformation branches, formed under Martin Luther’s influence, was called the Lutheran church. Another branch developed under the influence of Ulrich Zwingli and later John Calvin. These churches were called “Presbyterian” in Scotland and “Reformed” in continental Europe. The Reformed churches flourished in the Netherlands. In the middle 1800s, some of these Dutch Reformed people moved to the United States, and in 1857 they started the Christian Reformed Church in North America.
The Christian Reformed Church (CRC) includes approximately one thousand congregations across the United States and Canada. About 75 percent of the churches are in the United States; 25 percent are in Canada. We’re one of only a few bi-national denominations: rather than split into different churches at the 49th parallel, we’re united.
In 1966, several families in Flagstaff joined together with the strong conviction that God was calling them to start a new church. Their first meetings were in the Thomas Elementary School. With help from the Denomination’s mission board and a lot of sacrifice, they moved into the present building in 1972, and added the educational wing in 1983. Approximately 20 families were in attendance at that time.
Several pastors have served Hope Community Church (It was called Flagstaff Christian Reformed Church up to 1993.)—Rev. William Heersink (1968-75), Rev. Stan DeVries (1976-78), Rev. Don Klop (1980-85), Rev. Fred Walhof (1986-2004), Rev. Randy Raak (2006-2010) and Rev. Dave Reynolds (2010 to present).