Second Christian Reformed Church

(now known as United Reformed Church)


Fifty Year History of The Second Christian Reformed Church of Wellsburg

After some agitation in the community about the lack of religious services in the English language, a group of interested people met in the schoolhouse and organized a Sunday School on July 6, 1919. Fifty-six scholars were enrolled with Mr. Martin deNeui as Superintendent. The Willing Workers Society, consisting of interested women, was organized shortly afterwards. Regular religious services were also desired, and a church was organized under the name of "The English Speaking Christian Reformed Church" under the direction of the Rev. H. C. Bode on October 9, 1919. Twenty-four charter members joined together to form the nucleus of the future church, with the Rev. H. C. Bode as counselor.

The organization of this new congregation was assisted by a committee of Classis Ostfriesland consisting of Reverends H. Ahuis, D. H. Plesscher, G. L. Hoefker and H. C. Bode, also Elder M. J. Bakker and P. Eckhoff, Sr. Since that occasion Classis Ostfriesland was renamed Classis North Central Iowa.

After the work of organization had been completed a Consistory was elected. Mr. W. A. Meyer was chosen as elder and Mr. Martin deNeui as deacon.

A need for a meeting place was evident, so a building committee was elected. The Messrs. John Tjaden, D. J. Peters, Martin deNeui, Joh deNeui and Dick Claassen were chosen to serve on this committee. A building lot was obtained and a church was completed and dedicated on August 24, 1920. The Reverends H. C. Bode, A. C. Kruse of Steamboat Rock and John Masselink of Fulton, Illinois, were speakers on this joyous occasion.

The congregation was not served by a regular pastor during the first two years. Professors and students of the Grundy College and Seminary ministered to the spiritual needs of the people.

In November, 1920, Student Corneil Holtrop conducted services for the congregation. He returned in June 1921, and the congregation felt the need of a regular pastor. On July 13 a call was extended to the Candidate Holtrop and was accepted. He was ordained and installed two years after the organization of the church. He served as pastor here for five years. In his first pastorate he worked with zeal and dedication.

Plans for building a parsonage on a lot adjoining the church were made, and the home was completed in 1927.

A second organization of younger ladies, known as the Helping Hand Society, came into being. The first Mission Feast was held during the Rev. Holtrop's pastorate.

In June, 1926, Rev. Holtrop felt constrained to accept a call extended by the Second Christian Reformed Church, Fremont, Michigan. Thus came to an end the pleasant association of our congregation and their first resident pastor. On July 25th, Rev. Holtrop said farewell to his first charge with an appropriate booklet, "For Zion's Sake."

After a ten months vacancy our second pastor, the Rev. Edward Boeve, was installed on July 3, 1927. He served the congregation for a period of five and one-half years, during which time the duties of the church were faithfully administered. He left for the Kellogsville Christian Reformed Church in December, 1933. During his tenure the Men's Volunteer Club was organized. The congregation was able to make a substantial reduction on the church debt.

No call was extended for a period of six months due to a serious economic depression.

The congregation was without a pastor for almost a year. Dr. John C. DeKorne, who had recently returned from our China Mission field, and was unable to return, accepted our call and once more we were indeed grateful to have a pastor with such wide experience. His ministry was active and vigorous. He and his family arrived in our midst on November 2, 1934, and carried on his active ministry until December 1, 1938. The Synod then appointed him to serve as Director of Missions. At this time the congregation became self-supporting.

After a short vacancy a call was extended to the Rev. Raymond Haan, of Aetna, Michigan, which received a favorable response. His installation took place on March 3, 1939, as the fourth pastor of the church. In 1939 the church was redecorated with "New Wood" and a new roof was added. A "Silver Anniversary Free From Debt" campaign was carried on for several years and in May, 1943, the church property was free from debt. In 1941 more land was purchased east of the church. For a little more than four years he labored joyfully in our midst and experienced growth in membership. His services were marked by forceful preaching of the Word. He accepted a call to Peoria, Iowa, and delivered his farewell sermon on April 23, 1943.

On April 28 a call was tendered to the Rev. John H. Rubingh of the Pipestone, Minnesota, church. He was led to accept our call and was duly installed on June 22, 1943. During his pastorate the congregation was privileged to celebrate its Silver Anniversary. This otherwise joyful occasion was marred by the conflict of World War II and some of our young men were called to foreign service. One of our young men was a prisoner of war. During the ministry of Rev. Rubingh a new Wurlitzer organ was purchased. Miss Alena Deters presented the chimes to the church and Mrs. Dora Kruse donated a Hadorf piano. A harmonious relationship existed in the church and community during his stay. Rev. Rubingh delivered his farewell sermon on July 10, 1949, having accepted a call to Raymond, Minnesota.

After a vacancy of fifteen months our call to the Rev. John H. Olthoff of Comstock, Michigan, was accepted. He and his family arrived in our midst on October 19, 1950, and his installation took place on October 24, 1950. On October 27 a new time schedule was suggested for church services on a trial basis, with church commencing at 9:30 instead of 10:30. This plan was later adopted. In January, 1956, the Consistory established a building fund. Rev. Olthoff accepted a call to Oskaloosa, Iowa, and delivered his farewell sermon on June 3, 1956. During Rev. Olthoff's ministry the congregation grew spiritually and the affairs of the church were dutifully administered.

The congregation extended a call to the Rev. Carl J. Toeset of Doon, Iowa. He and his family arrived June 4, 1957. His installation took place on June 7 and his inaugural sermon was delivered on June 9. A remodeling plan for the church was under consideration for some time but was dropped due to lack of support. Rev. Toeset served our congregation for seven years and was particularly interested in our youth. He accepted a call to Momence, Illinois, on November 3, 1964.

In the early months of 1965 the possibility of merging the congregations of the First and Second Christian Reformed Churches was considered. On July 19, 1965, the congregation, by ballot, rejected this proposal.

In the fall of 1965 a new Baldwin piano was purchased and installed in the auditorium.

On March 29, 1966, the Consistory complied with the town's request to install curb and gutter along the west edge of the church property. This work was completed in the spring of 1966 along with the paving of parking strip adjacent to the curb.

In April, 1966, a new Hammond Electric Organ from the Stoner Piano Company of Des Moines was purchased.

During our long period of vacancy the Rev. Kasjen Tebben of Cedar Falls faithfully served our congregation.

On April 25, 1966, the congregation voted to call Rev. John Elenbaas of Doon. He and his family arrived in our midst on June 28 and was installed on June 30. The congregation of Second Wellsburg acquired the fine home now used as our present parsonage. This home was bequeathed to us by Mrs. Henrietta Neessen in her last Will and Testament. This dwelling was formerly the town home of Mr. and Mrs. Heiko C. Neessen. The former parsonage now serves as the pastor's study, Sunday School rooms and other varied purposes. We are still privileged to have the Rev. Elenbaas and family with us providing necessary guidance, and ministering to our needs.

Second Wellsburg must indeed be ever grateful to our Heavenly Father for the dedicated devotion of His servants in our behalf. Without exception they sought by teaching of the Word and conduct in life to lead our flock to an ever high calling in Jesus Christ our Lord. Not only our duly installed Pastors listed heretofore, but We recall Seminary Students Arthur Besteman and Raymond Graves who filled our pulpit during summer vacancies. As well as perhaps some that for the moment escape our memory.

As we concluded this narrative covering the fifty year history of the congregation of the Second Christian Reformed Church of Wellsburg, we became aware that it was somewhat an awesome task to reduce to a brief outline all that transpired in that time. By necessity we can only touch upon the very high-lights of this period.

We should give thought on this occasion to the many of our number whom the Lord has called from this life. Only a few of our charter members are still with us. We number among those called to high service three former pastors, the Rev. Corneal Holtrop, the Rev. Edward Boeve and Dr. John C. DeKorne. Also one former Mistress of the Manse, Mrs. J. C. DeKorne. We are thankful to God for their Christian fellowship and their labors in our behalf.

As we approach our Golden Anniversary observance the cloud of nation's involvement in a foreign conflict tends to hang over us. As at the time of our Silver Anniversary observance, once more some of our young men are stationed far from home. We pray that God will protect them, that He will hold them in the hollow of his hand. Let us pray that God will return peace to the nations before our planned commemoration.

We draw this to a close, not with the attitude, "Are these not the things our hands have wrought?", but with a realization that God has been good to us and blessed us far beyond our deserving. To our covenant God we plead for blessing on our efforts, and forgiveness for our failings. "But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth." 2 Corinthians 9:11.

Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. St. Matthew Chap. 28 Verses 19 & 20.

Source: Second Christian Reformed Church, Wellsburg, Iowa, Our 50th Year, 1969


Dedication Of New Second Christian Reformed Church Set September 21

The Second Christian Reformed Church of Wellsburg will dedicate its new sanctuary on Thursday, September 21st at 7:30 p.m.

Construction of the new edifice was begun on August 23, 1971, and the first services in the new structure were held on Sunday, August 20.

General contractor for the new building was Brandt Construction of Ackley. Other contractors involved in the construction were Teasdale Electric of Grundy Center, electrical; and Carstens Plumbing and Heating, Ackley, mechanical. Among others involved in the building program were Gunder Mfg. Co., Humboldt, church furniture; Doyen Furniture and Appliances, Wellsburg, carpeting and floor covering; Gelder Cabinets and Building, Wellsburg, cabinets; and Harry Pixler, Steamboat Rock, painting and finishing.

The building committee consisted of Thomas Claassen, chairman; Herman Groote, Benjamin Hook, Henry Kannegieter, Wilbur Knock, Roger Nederhoff, Harold O'Kones, John W. Ross and Mayo Tjaden.

Consistory members at the time the building plans were begun and finalized were as follows: Rev. John Elenbaas, Warren Anderson, Roy deNeui, Thomas Claassen, Kobus Kolthoff, elders; Rodney Deters, John Doyen, Harris Harrenstein, Mayo Tjaden, deacons.

Present consistory members are Rev. John Elenbaas, Warren Anderson, Thomas Claassen, Herman Groote, Carl J. Nederhoff, elders; Rodney Deters, John Doyen, Benjamin Hook, Mayo Tjaden, deacons.

The new building will seat approximately 260 and the overflow room will hold another 200.

The overflow room also will serve as a dining hall and can be divided - by folding wooden doors - into five Sunday School rooms. There is also a kitchen with all new appliances, a pastor's study, rest rooms, furnace room and storage rooms. The bell has been moved from the old church into a new bell tower.

The new edifice has been constructed at a cost of approximately $101,000.00. Most of the furnishings are new except for the electric organ and pianos. A lighted cross provides a striking background to the pulpit area.

The original church building, which is soon to be torn down to provide parking space, was completed and dedicated on August 24, 1920. The building committee at that time consisted of John Tjaden, D. J. Peters, Martin deNeui, Joh deNeui and Dick Claassen.

An open house will be held and refreshments served following the dedication service, and an invitation is cordially extended to the public to attend this dedicatory service.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 14 September 1972


450 Attend Dedication Of 2nd Christian Reformed Church

The dedication of the new house of worship of the Second Christian Ref. Church of Wellsburg was held Thursday evening, September 21, and approximately 450 people attended the event. The sanctuary and the annex were filled to capacity.

The dedicatory service was conducted by Rev. John Elenbaas, pastor of the church. Ronald Brandt, general contractor, who was in charge of the construction of the edifice, presented the keys to Tom Claassen, chairman of the building committee.

The Sunday School primary department sang several songs, and the Choir, under the direction of Mrs. Gladys Luwe, sang "Bless This House" and "Dedication of a Church." Organists for the service were Mrs. Patricia Neessen and Miss Joan O'Kones and pianist was Mrs. Adele Knock. Accompanying the vocal numbers were Miss Carol Hoodjer and Miss Joan O'Kones.

Rev. John Elenbaas preached the dedicatory sermon and his topic was "In This Place, Peace", based on Haggai 1:9.

Extending greetings and congratulations were: Rev. K. Tebben of Cedar Falls who spoke on behalf of Classis Northcentral Iowa; Rev. Raymond Haan of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Rev. John Rubingh of Ireton, Iowa; Rev. John Olthoff of Oostburg, Wis.; and Rev. Harold Hollander of the First Christian Reformed Church of Wellsburg. Revs. Haan, Rubingh and Olthoff are all former pastors of the Second Christian Reformed Church.

Rev. Carl Toeset, also a former pastor, sent greetings and congratulations, as did the Holland Iowa Christian Reformed Church. A telegram directed to the building committee chairman, Tom Claassen, was received from his son, Craig Claassen and family, who live in Australia.

Beautiful floral bouquets were received from the following: Brandt Construction Co., Carstens Plumbing and Heating, Teasdale Electric Co., Doyen Furniture & Appliance, Gelder Cabinets and Building, Luwe Insurance Agency, Peoples Savings Bank, Wellsburg Reformed Church, First Christian Reformed Church of Wellsburg, Pleasant Valley United Methodist Church, Colfax Center Presbyterian Church, East Friesland Presbyterian Church and Lincoln Center Christian Reformed Church.

The offering, which was for the church building fund, amounted to $5,093.14.

Following the dedicatory service, the Helping Hand Society served refreshments to the guests present.

The congregation of the Second Christian Reformed Church wished to thank all those who have in any way given of their time, talents and money to the realization of the new church building. They also want to thank the many who attended the dedicatory service, and also acknowledge with thanks the many floral offerings and congratulations received.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 28 September 1972


Second Christian Reformed Church To Observe 75th Anniversary October 16

The Second Christian Reformed Church of Wellsburg will observe its 75th anniversary with special services at 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. potluck and 1:30 p.m., Sunday, October 16, 1994. Rev. Paul Bakker will provide the sermon with the theme of "Pressing On in Faith" for the morning service. Special music will be provided by the Claassen family. Pastor Doug Holmes will speak for the afternoon service and will entertain a time of reminiscing and greetings from past ministers. Special music will be provided by the Sunday School children. Coffee Fellowship will follow the afternoon service.

The early beginning of the Second Christian Reformed Church of Wellsburg dates back to one Sunday afternoon, July 6, 1919. On that occasion a group realizing the need for religious instruction in the English language met to organize a Sunday School. This Sunday School began with an enrollment of 56 and grew in numbers. Mr. Martin deNeui was elected as its first Superintendent.

While the Sunday School was the first move in this direction, religious services were also held from the beginning. On the same date, July 6, 1919, Rev. H. C. Bode conducted a service in the English language. Thus the movement was launched that would result in the organization of the "English Speaking Christian Reformed Church", as it was first named.

On October 9, 1919, this small body met to organize as a congregation of the Christian Reformed Church. They were assisted by the Rev. H. C. Bode and a Committee from Classis Ostfriesland. Almost immediately thereafter twenty-four persons joined the newly formed congregation as charter members.

After the organization was complete, a consistory was elected. Mr. W. A. Meyer was elected elder, and Mr. Martin deNeui deacon. Within a few days the Willing Workers Society became the first organization within the church.

At the outset, both Sunday School and services were conducted at the Wellsburg school, however very soon a desire for a home of their own was evident. At their first congregational meeting a building committee was appointed consisting of Messr. John Tjaden, D. J. Peters, Martin deNeui, John deNeui and Dick Claassen. Lots were purchased in the College Hill Park addition and construction began in the fall of 1919. Due to a severe winter the new building was not completed till the late summer months of 1920. The congregation met to dedicate their house of worship, August 24, 1920.

During the first two years the congregation depended on Rev. H. C. Bode and other ministers in the locality for worship services. Likewise Professors and students from Grundy College and Seminary often filled the pulpit.

During the Thanksgiving season of 1920 Mr. Corneal Holtrop, a last year seminary student, arrived to conduct services. Upon the completion of his studies he accepted a call extended from the congregation. Thus Rev. Holtrop became the first resident pastor of this newly founded church.

Within the first years other societies joined the Willing Workers. Another ladies group, still named the Helping Hand Society, also a society for men, the Men's Volunteer Club. Music and vocal groups were formed and growing through the years have added much to our worship services.

Under the guidance of our pastors the program for youth among us was a matter of much concern. Soon a complete instruction in catechism was begun, also vacation Bible school. Participation in various youth organizations were encouraged. In recent years our young people have actively been involved in the Young Calvinist Federation.

On Nov. 1, 1926, official action was taken to build a parsonage. Additional space was purchased and a spacious home completed during 1927. In 1966, by bequest in the will of Mrs. Henrietta Neessen, the congregation acquired the former town home of Mr. and Mrs. Heiko C. Neessen. This fine residence now serves as the parsonage.

On Sunday, August 20, 1972, the congregation of the Second Christian Reformed Church moved to the new sanctuary during the morning service. Receiving the special honor of leading the procession were the charter members. Two were unable to attend, Mrs. Joh deNeui and Mrs. Fred Bergmann, leaving Mrs. John Snittjer and Mrs. Ray Nichols to lead. Mrs. Nichols led her Sunday School class and was given special recognition for her 53 years of service as a Sunday School teacher in the old building.

Following were Pastor Elenbaas, the Consistory, building committee and congregation, each carrying Bibles and hymn books. Both the service in the old sanctuary and that in the new were deeply moving experiences and will long be remembered.

The date for the official dedication of the new building was set for Sept. 21, 1972.

During the seventy-five year history of Second Wellsburg, eleven pastors served the congregation. They are as follows: Rev. Corneal Holtrop (1921-26), Rev. Edward Boeve (1927-33), Dr. John C. DeKorne (1934-38), Rev. Raymond H. Haan (1939-43), Rev. John H. Rubingh (1943-49), Rev. John Olthoff (1950-56), Rev. C. J. Toeset (1957-64), Rev. John H. Elenbaas (1966-83), Rev. O. W. Duistermars (1984-87), Rev. Charles Kooger (1988-92), and Rev. Douglas Holmes (1994 to present).

One young man from our congregation answered the call to the ministry, Rev. Paul E. Bakker, currently in Orange City, Iowa.

The congregation of the Second Christian Reformed Church extends an invitation to everyone to participate in the celebration of this milestone in the history of the church.

Charter Membership Roll of Our Church
Mr. & Mrs. W. A. Meyer     Mrs. Ben H. Hook
Mr. & Mrs. John Tjaden     Miss Regina Marie Hook
Mr. & Mrs. Martin deNeui     Miss Grace Hook
Mr. & Mrs. James deNeui     Mrs. Johannes deNeui
Mr. & Mrs. Dick J. Peters     Miss Mary deNeui
Mr. & Mrs. Albert Meyer     Miss Floy deNeui
Mr. & Mrs. Ray Nichols     Mrs. Sam Snittjer
Mr. & Mrs. John Snittjer     Mrs. Ben Neessen


The Men's Volunteer Club was organized January 30th, 1933 during the pastorate of Rev. Edward Boeve. Its meetings provided an hour of Bible Study and Christian fellowship.

The Willing Worker's Society was organized October 22, 1919 with an enrollment of thirty charter members. Today the Society numbers thirteen.

The Helping Hand Society was organized January 5, 1925 during the pastorate of Rev. C. Holtrop with nine charter members. Today the Society has 10 members.

The Consistory
Elders     Deacons
Lee Riebkes, Vice President(95)     Daryl Geiken, Treasurer(94)
Wendell Lindaman, Clerk (94)     Terry Deters, Assistant Treasurer(95)
John Hoodjer (95), Steve Hook (96)     Spencer Slifer (96), Allen L. Krull(96)


The Lord's Day
Divine Worship          9:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (7:30 pm. during daylight saving time)
Church School for all ages          10:40 a.m.
Coffee Fellowship     first Sunday of each month     8:00 p.m.
Holy Baptism     upon request     please contact the Pastor
Holy Communion          first Sunday morning of March, June, September, December and Good Friday


The Lord's Week
Deacons     Monday after the last Sunday of each month     7:00 p.m.
Elders     Monday after the last Sunday of each month     7:30 p.m.
Consistory     Monday after the last Sunday of each month     8:00 p.m.
Helping Hand Society     second Thursday     7:30 p.m.
Willing Workers Society     second Wednesday     1:30 p.m.
Morning Break Bible Study     third Monday     9:00-10:30 a.m.
Cadet Club     first and third Thursdays at 2nd CRC     7:00 p.m.
Calvinette Club     first and third Thursdays at 1st CRC     7:00 p.m.
Youth Fellowship     first and third Sundays     8:30 p.m.


--Bulletin insert of Second Christian Reformed Church (Wellsburg, Iowa), 16 October 1994


Church Celebrates Anniversary Oct. 16

Sunday, October 16, the Second Christian Reformed Church observed their 75th anniversary with special services during the day.

During the morning worship at 9:30 a.m. Rev. Paul Bakker gave the sermon with the theme, "Pressing On in Faith." Special music was provided by Connie Sanderson and Dick Claassen.

A potluck dinner was held at 11:30 a.m. in the church dining room.

In the afternoon service at 1:30 p.m. there was a time of reminiscing and greetings. Pastor and Mrs. John Elenbaas of Bozeman, Montana, and Pastor and Mrs. Charles Kooger and family of Lindsey, Ontario, Canada, former pastors, were present for the anniversary observance.

Greetings were read from other former pastors Rev. J. Olthoff, Rev. Carl Toeset and Rev. O. Duistermars. Pastor Doug Holmes, present pastor, also spoke during the afternoon.

Special music was given by the elementary Sunday School children. The anniversary observance was largely attended at both services.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 20 October 1994


List of Ministers

NameYears Served
*1919-1921
Rev. Corneal Holtrop1921-1926
Rev. Edward Boeve1927-1933
Dr. John C. DeKorne1934-1938
Rev. Raymond H. Haan1939-1943
Rev. John H. Rubingh1943-1949
Rev. John Olthoff1950-1956
Rev. C. J. Toeset1957-1964
Rev. John H. Elenbaas1966-1983
Rev. O. W. Duistermars1984-1987
Rev. Charles Kooger1988-1992
Rev. Douglas Holmes1994-1999
Pastor Harold Miller2001-2008
Pastor Matthew Nuiver2009-2016

*Professors and students of the Grundy College and Seminary ministered to the needs for the first two years