Redeemer's history extends as far back as the 1500s when the Protestant churches were born as a result of the Great Reformation. What follows is a simple history of Redeemer Church as a part of the Federation of Canadian Reformed Churches.
OUR DUTCH HERITAGE
The first Canadian Reformed Church was instituted on April 16, 1950, in Lethbridge, Alberta. Its members were people who emigrated from the Netherlands following the end of the Second World War. The War had left Europe in financial and political ruin, and with the scare of Russian Communism on the horizon, many people emigrated to other countries. The Dutch settled in Australia, Canada, South Africa and The United States. The people who formed the Canadian Reformed Churches belonged to a church in The Netherlands called the Gereformeerde Kerken in de Nederlanden - Vrijgemaakt (known in English as the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands - Liberated). This Dutch church had been formed in the 1944 due to a split from the Reformed Churches of The Netherlands.
RELATIONS WITH THE CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCHES
Due to this recent split in The Netherlands, the Dutch immigrants were very concerned with and involved in finding the same Reformed churches. When they arrived in Canada, many immigrants joined the Christian Reformed Church. This church had been formed in 1857 by Dutch immigrants to the United States and Canada. However, many post-War immigrants realized that the Christian Reformed Church was similar to the Reformed Churches of The Netherlands which they had left in 1944. Therefore they tried to initiate the same reform in the Christian Reformed Church as they had in The Netherlands.
BREAK WITH THE CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCHES
In 1946, the Christian Reformed Churches decided that they would discontinue ties with the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands - Liberated. Since this was the church which the immigrants had gone to in the Netherlands, the post-War immigrants looked at moving to a different church. They examined the Protestant Reformed Churches, but found them lacking. Therefore the immigrants set up their own churches, and joined them together into a federation called the Canadian Reformed Churches.
BEGINNINGS IN CARMAN
In Manitoba, there are currently four Canadian Reformed Churches. Two can be found in the rural town of Carman and two in the capital city of the province, Winnipeg. The first Manitoban congregation was instituted in Carman. In 1948, Dutch immigrants sponsored by Canadian farmers and other recent immigrants, arrived in Homewood, a hamlet near Carman. They intended to work there for a year and then move on to Lethbridge, Alberta. In Homewood, the immigrants worked the sugar beet farms, something they were used to in their native Holland. The congregation at Carman was instituted in August of 1951.
ON TO WINNIPEG
Eventually people began to move to Winnipeg for work since Homewood couldn't accommodate all the labourers. They began to worship in Winnipeg and instituted the church there on February 15th, 1953, with 41 members in total. Since then things have grown. A church building was erected at 211 Rougeau Avenue, a school society begun and Immanuel Christian School was built.
Over the years the Lord blessed the congregation and the church membership grew to such a size that in 1998 there were 518 members. It was in this year that the church divided into the Grace and Redeemer congregations. The following ministers have served the original Winnipeg congregation and later the Redeemer congregation.
- Rev. C. de Haan (March 1958 - July 1965)
- Rev. H. A. Stel (March 1967 - December 1973)
- Rev. S. de Bruin (September 1975 - July 1978)
- Rev. B. J. Berends (December 1979 - June 1984)
- Rev. W. den Hollander (October 1984 - June 1989)
- Rev. K. Jonker (June 1991 - January 2000)
- Rev. T. Van Raalte (January 2000 - June 2010)
- Rev. J. Poppe (September 2007 - present)
For more information about the history of the Canadian Reformed Churches, we recommend:
Inheritance Preserved: The Canadian Reformed churches and Free Reformed Churches of Australia in Historical Perspective
by W.W.J. VanOene, M.Th.
Published by Premier Publishing, One Beghin Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2J 3X5.