Lincoln Center Christian Reform Church

The Christian Reform Church, Lincoln Township

by Jurgen Bruns

Commonly known as "Lincoln Center Church," was organized on the 26th of May, 1884. The first membership of the church was as follows: Fred Niewald, John W. Bakker, Harm W. Bakker, Geerd Bulthuis, Jurgen Alberts, Menne Bakker, Christian Pabst, Roelf Pabst, Herman Koobs, Franz Bakker, Helmer Bakker, H. Van Ellen, Jacob Meyer, L. Beckmann, B. Beckmann, John Niewland, John Stork, Mrs. Kobbs, and Mrs. Reins. Among the first members were, of course, the wives and families of all the men who were married at that time.

The first elders were: Fred Niewald, John W. Bakker. The first deacons were: Harm W. Bakker, Geerd Bulthuis; and the first trustees were: Jurgen Alberts, Menne Bakker, and Christian Pabst.

In the fall of 1884 the congregation sent a call to Rev. Johana Tiescher, of Ostfriesland, Germany, and the call was accepted, the first minister came to this country May 27, 1885, and preached the first sermon in the Lincoln Center school house. Rev. Tiescher stayed and worked with his people until early in the year of 1897, when he accepted a call from Parkersburg. In the year 1887 the society built a church on the three acres of land, on section 16 of Lincoln Township. This land was purchased from Wumke Wumkes. In August, 1897, the church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. This did not discourage the congregation and they raised funds at once and built a new building the same year. During the time the new church was being built the society sent a call to Rev. J. H. Schultz, of Minnesota. This call was also accepted in November, 1897. The new church was dedicated in the spring of 1898. Rev. Schultz stayed, as pastor of the church until 1909, when he resigned and went back to Minnesota. Since that time there has been no regular pastor, but meeting is held every Sunday and the pulpit is filled by different ministers. This church has always been a big factor in the upbuilding of the neighborhood, in which it is located, and has on its church books the names of the representative families of the community. The present officers of the church are: Elders: Jurgen Alberts, H. Beninga, and Jurgen Bruns; Deacons: H. Hempen, John Greve and Walter Bakker; Trustees: Henry Tjepkes, Jurgen Bruns and Martin Sweeerin.

--Atlas of Grundy County, Iowa, 1911, pg 99

Dedicate $70,000 Lincoln Center Church Tuesday

Christian Reformed Church Under Construction the Past Year is Completed; Dedication Services Tuesday

The Christian Reformed church at Lincoln Center which has been under construction for a year has been completed and it will be formally dedicated next Tuesday, May 29th.

The dedication program will carry through the afternoon and evening. The afternoon service will begin at 2 o'clock and the evening service at 8. The services will be under the direction of the present pastor, Rev. H. Zwaanstra. Present and participating in the services will be former pastors of the church, Rev. D. H. Plesscher, retired, Parkersburg; Rev. Martin Weeldreyer, Clara City, Minn., and Rev. J. F. Schuurman, Linden, Washington. The ladies of the church will serve supper to members of the congregation and to the visiting guests. A cordial invitation is extended to everyone to be present and to participate in the impressive and happy services.

Church is Fine Modern Structure
The new church is a fine modern structure. Its builders provided adequately for the congregation's present and its future needs. The outer walls are of brick. It is the interior of the building that reflects its careful planning. It is perfect in its appointments. Nothing seems to have been forgotten or left out and everything is of the best.

The auditorium with its built in and comfortable pews has a seating capacity of 400. There is space that will provide seating for 100 more. The interior walls are finished with acoustic plastering which carries sound from one end of the large interior to the other without the use of loudspeakers. There are several smaller rooms for Sunday School groups and for church board meetings and one room near the entrance which will be the mothers' room where mothers with babies may give comfort to the babies and hear the service without disturbing others in the congregation. The auditorium floor is covered with asphalt tile. Hearing aid is provided at pews for those who are hard of hearing. A system of modern indirect fluorescent lighting is installed throughout.

Commodious Basement
The basement under the larger building provides conveniences that will meet all the needs of the congregation. There is a spacious kitchen with all modern conveniences and auditorium that is as large as the one on the main floor where entertainments and other gatherings can be held when there is need for them. There is an adequate heating plant that will provide comfort for all portions of the building in all kinds of weather.

For several years members of the congregation felt they were outgrowing the building which had served them for thirty years and after the close of the late war, plans were gotten under way for the erection of a new building.

A building committee of seven was appointed to draw up plans for a new building and to arrange for funds to pay for it. Head of the committee was the pastor, Rev. Zwaanstra. Other members of the committee were Otto Grimmius, Heye Dieken, John H. Kruse, Joe Stumberg, Edw. Dreesman and Eldridge Meyer.

Estimated Cost $40,000
After tentative plans had been drawn up for the new building there estimated cost was placed at $40,000 and a campaign to raise the money was gotten under way. The response was most generous. Initial plans for the building later were changed and extended.

Building costs have also been advancing substantially since the first estimate of cost was made and final costs of the improvements will be in excess of $70,000. Early pledges to the building fund have been increased and close to the full amount has been raised.

Practically all of the members of the congregation are prosperous farmers who feel that no sounder investment can be made than the support of their church. While all of them realize that building costs are high they also know that the best time to raise money is when people have it to spare as they have now. They will soon forget the money they contributed to the church but they will appreciate as long as they live the spiritual comfort this investment has brought them.

Two Buildings Destroyed By Lightning
The Christian Reformed Congregation at Lincoln Center was organized in 1884. Services during the first year were held in the Lincoln Center school house. The following year the first church building was erected. This building was struck by lightning on Sept. 2, 1897, and completely destroyed by fire. On the day of the fire, the consistory and the trustees of the church met and called a congregational meeting for a few days later at which it was decided to erect a new building. The new building was completed and dedicated the next year.

On June 23, 1915, lightning struck the church for a second time and fire completely destroyed the building. As before the congregation decided unanimously to build another church. A temporary tabernacle was erected in which services were held until the new building was completed the following year. This building served the congregation up to the time it was torn down to make room for the present modern structure.

For much of the past year regular services were held in the basement of the new building. Only one Sunday was it impossible to hold services. It was during a continuous rain which brought water into the basement.

Church Has Had Eight Pastors
During the 67 years that the Lincoln Center Christian Reformed church has been serving the people of that community, there have been eight pastors.

The pastors in order of their service were: Rev. J. Plesscher, 1884 to 1897; Rev. J. H. Schultz, 1897-1909; Rev. W. Bode, 1911-1916; Rev. J. H. Gruessing, 1916-1919; Rev. M. Weeldreyer, 1919-1927; Rev. H. N. Gerdes, 1927-1931; Rev. J. F. Schuurman, 1931-1940; and Rev. Henry Zwaanstra, 1940--.

Regular Church Attendants
There are now ninety families who are members of the Lincoln Center Christian Reformed church. The attendance on an average Sunday service is upwards of 300.

Eldora Firm Contractors
Dohrman & Crandall, contractors from Eldora, were given the construction contract and their work and co-operation was highly satisfactory. Thorson & Thorson from Waterloo were the architects.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 24 May 1951, pg 12

List of Ministers

NameYears Served
Rev. John Plesscher1885-1897
Rev. John H. Schultz1897-1909
Rev. William Bode1912-1916
Rev. John H. Gruessing1916-1919
Rev. Minert Weeldreyer1919-1927
Rev. Henry N. Gerdes1927-1931
Rev. John F. Schuurman1931-1940
Rev. Henry Zwaanstra1940-1954
Rev. Andrew Bandstra1955-1957
Rev. Kenneth Slager1957-1962
Rev. Martin Stegink1964-1972
Rev. Donald VanGent1972-1976
Rev. Arie Poot1976-1978
Rev. Alfred Hannink1978-1983
Rev. Robert Geelhoed1983-1987
Rev. Douglas Bratt1987-1992
Rev. David Dykstra1993-2001
Rev. Mattew Ooms2001-2007
Pastor Dale Janssen2008-2011