The Reformed Church of Stout


The Reformed Church, Stout

Said church belongs to the Reformed Church in America and it may be said, that said local church has grown out of the Reformed church located in Pleasant Valley township in Grundy County, Iowa. Quite a few of its members today have once been members of the Reformed church in Pleasant Valley township. They, residing in this locality at a distance of six to eight miles from their former church in Pleasant Valley, some 27 years ago organized a German Sunday school in the Beaver Center school house, now called Lear. In connection with their Sunday school they also had preaching service every other Sunday afternoon, conducted by the former pastors of the Reformed church in Pleasant Valley being Rev. C. Veenker and his successor, Rev. D. Schaefer. The Lord blessed the work which was faithfully done.

At the time when the C. & N. W. R. R. was built through this section of country and the town site of the town of Stout was platted, the Iowa and Minnesota Town Site Company for the consideration of $1.00 sold, or as it may be said, donated lots 9, 10, 11 and 12, in Block 3 to the above named church, with the understanding to have a church building erected on said grounds within a year from date of sale. So the present church building was erected in the fall of the year 1901 and dedicated Jan. 23, 1902. Rev. D. Schaefer, at that time pastor of the Reformed church in Pleasant Valley township and having in charge the religious services at the Beaver Center school house, conducted the dedicatory exercises of the day, Rev. F. Schaefer from Aplington preached from Psalms 84:2, 3; Rev. J. G. Theilken from Wellsburg, preached from Matthew 18:20; Rev. J. H. Schultz from Lincoln township preached from Psalms 26:8; Rev. J. Plesscher from Parkersburg preached from Isaiah 56:7 and Rev. John DeBeer from Ackley preached from Mark 1:15.

The building committee consisted of the following men: O. Diekhoff, Hagen Hessenius, Jacob Klassen and D. Schaefer. After the dedication, services were abandoned at the Beaver Center school house and transferred to the new house of worship at Stout, Rev. D. Schaefer conducting the religious services on three Sunday afternoons out of four every month. Stout was now a preaching station in connection with the Reformed church in Pleasant Valley township, serving the first as Stated Supply and the latter as installed pastor. In the course of time the work being blessed, the people in and around Stout desired to become organized as a Reformed church. A petition was forwarded to the Classis Pleasant Prairie and the organization was put into effect by a committee of said Classis on May 29, 1906. Following persons were received as members: Mr. and Mrs. O. Diekhoff, Mr. and Mrs. Hagen Hessenius, Mr. and Mrs. Peter DeBeer, Mr. Koert Miller, Mr. and Mrs. D. Diekhoff, Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Bergmann, Mr. and Mrs. G. Berends, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Pruisner and Mr. and Mrs. Jans Dirks.

The new organization accepted the name: “Reformed Church Stout.” Mr. O. Diekhoff and Mr. Peter DeBeer were elected elders, Mr. Hagen Hessenius and Mr. Peter Pruisner deacons and Mr. Jans Dirks and Mr. D. Diekhoff trustees. Twenty-three new members were added to the list of membership up to the present time since the organization and the total enrollment of the Sunday school is now 116. Since June 8, 1908, Rev. D. Schaefer is installed pastor of this church and residing at Stout. Three lots and a very appropriate residence and outbuildings have been secured for the pastor and also three acres of ground nicely located in the vicinity of Stout for a cemetery.

The congregation contributed during 1910 for home expense $1381.46 and for benevolent purposes $657.43. The attendance is outgrowing the seating capacity of our church building, so we are earnestly contemplating the building of an addition during the present year. It is our privilege that we may raise an “Ebenezer” and say with Samuel of old, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”

By Daniel Schaefer, Pastor

--Atlas of Grundy County, Iowa, 1911, pg 93-94


Stout Reformed Church Exerts Large Influence

Local Congregation Has Enjoyed Consistent Growth For Thirty Years

The present Stout Reformed church is an outgrowth of the Siemsen church in Pleasant Valley township. During the late '90s Rev. Daniel Schaefer, pastor of that church at that time, conducted a Sunday school at what was then known as Lear, but better known today as Beaver Center. About the year 1900 the members of this group decided to erect their own church, and as the town of Stout was coming into being at that time, it was thought best to build in town. Thus it was that the first church was built there in 1901. The members of this group continued to be served by Rev. Schaefer, who preached in Stout on Sunday afternoons. In 1906 the church was properly organized, and the charter members were Mr. and Mrs. Oltman Diekhoff, Mr. and Mrs. Hagen Hessenius, Mr. and Mrs. P. J. DeBeer, Koert Muller, Mr. and Mrs. Dick Diekhoff, Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Bergmann, Sr., Mr. and Mrs. Gerhard Berends, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Pruisner and Mr. and Mrs. Jans Dirks. All of the original charter members are living and attendants at the church at this time with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Oltman Diekhoff and Mr. and Mrs. Hagen Hessenius, deceased, and Mr. and Mrs. Dick Diekhoff, who have removed to Minnesota.

The first elders of the newly organized church were O. Diekhoff and Peter DeBeer; deacons, Hagen Hessenius and Peter Pruisner; trustees, Jans Dirks and Dick Diekhoff.

With the passage of time the membership grew and it became necessary in 1911 to build an addtion to the church. The enlarged building served the needs of the church well until recent years, when it became apparent that the old edifice was again outgrown. The old structure was sold at auction last year, and moved from its location to make room for the new church. Construction was begun on the new building about May 15th last year, and it was completed in approximately four months. The new house of worship is a tangible expression of the devotion and loyalty of the constituency of the congregation. It is a brick structure 43x78 feet in size, costing approximately $25,000.00. The auditorium is 46 feet long and 41 feet wide. It has a seating capacity of 380. With the addition of the Sunday school rooms and balcony it will comfortably seat 500 people. The basement contains a large dining room with high ceiling, and it is fully equipped so that it may be used for the various social activities of the church. Included in the basement are a fine kitchen, furnace room, fuel room, and men's and ladies cloak rooms. The auditorium and basement are heated by two hot air furnaces. Forced circulation is provided by motor driven fans. During the fall and spring of the year one furnace is ample to heat the structure.

The church has been served by three pastors during the period of existence. Rev. D. Schaefer became the regular pastor in 1908 and served four years. Rev. Fred Reeverts was the second pastor, and he served for fourteen years, from 1912 until May, 1926. Rev. W. J. Heyenga, the present pastor, has been ministering the spiritual needs of the congregation since November, 1926.

The church has enjoyed a steady consistent growth, and at the present time one hundred families are affiliated with it. The Sunday School has an enrollment of nearly 200. Other organizations sponsored by the church are the Christian Endeavor Society, the Ladies' Aid and the Dorcas Society.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 13 November 1931