Compiled by Jan Westra, edited by Brittany Gritters
The history of the Hull Protestant Reformed Church goes back to the beginning of the Protestant Reformed denomination. On March 16, 1925, just a few weeks after a temporary organization called the Protesting Christian Reformed Churches had been organized in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Protesting Christian Reformed Church of Hull, Iowa, was organized under the leadership of Rev. H. Hoeksema with a membership of 32 families.
After only five months, a new parsonage was ready and occupied by Rev. B.J. Danhof. And after only three more months, the congregation met for the first time, on Thanksgiving Day, in the new church building. On December 3, 1925, a dedication service was held in the new church building. The church building, which seated about 350 people, was filled to capacity that evening when Rev. H. Hoeksema addressed the audience in Dutch concerning the events that had taken place in the last year, bringing about the organization of the Protesting churches.
By January 1926, the congregation was reported to have grown to 50 families, but later that year, this new and flourishing congregation was entangled in a controversy. At a congregational meeting held on December 8, 1926, in Hull, Rev. Danhof defended the “Three Points of Common Grace” (adopted by the CRC in 1924) and tried to persuade the congregation to return with him to the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). Rev. Danhof left with all but ten families and returned to the CRC. On February 28, 1927, the church was reorganized as the Hull Protestant Reformed Church with only ten families and five individuals.
The seminary in Grand Rapids was quick to respond to the needs of this struggling, little congregation. Since there were no ministers available, William Verhil, a seminary student at the time, was given a two-year leave of absence from the seminary to help out in Hull until the late summer of 1929, when Rev. C. Hanko graduated from the seminary and took the call extended to him by the Hull congregation. The group was still small, and according to Rev. C. Hanko, met in the basement during the winter months so that they would not have to heat the church auditorium. During the 30s and 40s, the Lord blessed the congregation in Hull with steady growth. Following Rev. Hanko, Rev. Leonard VerMeer and then Rev. Andrew Cammenga served as pastors in Hull.
Again, in the early 1950s, controversy arose in the church. The congregation in Hull suffered a great numerical loss at the time of the split in 1953. At that time, Rev. John DeJong was the pastor of the Hull congregation. During the controversy, Rev. DeJong sided with Rev. H. DeWolf who had been deposed from First Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He and a majority of the congregation claimed the church building. In September 1953, just 25 families remained in Hull as the Protestant Reformed Church. This small group met in the basement of the community building. Little did they know that this would be their meeting place for more than 10 years. During this time, Rev. J. Heys and Rev. J. Kortering served as her pastors. It was not until 1964 that they again regained possession of the original church building and property through court action.
During the 70s and 80s, the Lord continued to prosper the church in Hull. Rev. J. Kortering and then Rev. M. Hoeksema served as her pastors during the 1970s. In 1979, Rev. R. Cammenga accepted the call to Hull, and in 1985, Rev. R. Moore came to serve as her pastor. During these years, the pews were becoming more and more crowded. It became evident by the early 1990s that a new place of worship was needed. Land was purchased near the grade school, and in the spring of 1993, the congregation met for the first time in her new house of worship.
In 2000, the Lord sent Rev. S. Key to labor in Hull. He took up residence in a new parsonage that had been built next to the new church building. Under the pure preaching of His Word, the Lord continued to prosper the congregation with continued growth. In 2005, the new sanctuary was close to being filled to capacity with the 142 families (593 souls) who were now members. Two years later on October 11, 2007, the daughter congregation of Calvary Protestant Reformed Church was organized.
In July 2010, Hull welcomed Rev. James Laning as pastor, and he continues to lead the congregation in the green pastures of God’s Word from week to week. Since 2010, Hull has also been privileged to have emeritus Rev. R. Miersma serve in the congregation.
The Lord in His faithfulness to His people has blessed the congregation in Hull abundantly. May it continue to be our prayer that God will preserve His truth among us and strengthen us spiritually as we look towards the ever more quickly approaching day of the return of our Lord.